Business Failure? 2 Surprising Reasons For It

Business failure is never definitive. There is always a way to turn things around.

business failure

Believe me, I understand. Business failure is emotionally painful.

When it occurs, it creates self-doubt and despair, perhaps even a sense of humiliation and chagrin.

You usually take it personally; it’s not the business that has failed, it’s YOU who has failed.

Your sense of identity is bruised, temporarily crushed.

Yet any business failure you experience is not permanent. You can either turn things around or start over in a new business. It’s still possible to  succeed in a big way.

The two primary causes of business failure are twofold:

  1. You are failing or have failed because you are doing the right things in the wrong business.
  2. You are failing or have failed because you are doing the wrong things in the right business.

Let’s take a closer look at these two experiences of business failure and see if there is a simple way to straighten out the mess,

Even science believes that there is always a way to turn chaos into order or make a quantum leap to a new level of order.

Reason #1 for Business Failure: Doing the Right Things In the Wrong Business

The wrong business is one that does not suit your temperament or talents. It rubs you in the wrong way. It doesn’t suit your emotional make-up.

If you love to create art, accounting is the wrong business. Conversely, if you love to crunch numbers, then art is the wrong business.

While you can train oneself to do either one, but you won’t be happy. Yes, it’s true — if it doesn’t suit your real interests, you’ll be miserable.

When you don’t like what you’re doing, you’ll create a situation to shut things down.

Since this resentment is almost unconscious, you’ll create chaos in a subtle way.

Here are some things you might do:

You’ll hire the wrong people for the job.

  • You’ll make foolish business decisions.
  • You’ll spend too much on the least productive things.
  • You’ll work with the worst clients.
  • You’ll bid for the work that is most likely to fall apart at the seams.

When you’re miserable, you’ll fail at what you do — because your heart won’t be in it and your mind will drift away from what needs to be done.

You’ll find any number of ways to disengage, to distract yourself. You’ll find ways to avoid the work that you dislike. You’ll push it away as far away from you as can.

You’ll quit too early when things aren’t going your way and when they don’t line up they way you think they should.

You might even quit just before your success breakout.

When you’re in the wrong business, you won’t be able to stomach the downturns and you won’t have enough heart to soar to new heights.

Reason #2 for Business Failure: Doing the Wrong Things In The Right Business

This is just the opposite situation.

You’ve probably heard that if things aren’t working for you, just find work that you love to do. Not only will you enjoy what you’re doing, but the money will follow, too.

This is only partially true.

You can be in the right business but go about running it the wrong way.

You could be in a lucrative field like software development because you love coding, but still fail. This happens because you don’t do a few things necessary to be successful:

  • Perhaps, you create apps too complicated for most people.
  • Perhaps, you don’t survey your audience to find out what they want to buy.
  • Perhaps, you hate marketing and think sales is sleazy.

You’re in the right game, but you’re playing it all wrong.

How to Turn Things Around  

Now that we understand the two pre-eminent strategies of business failure, success can be as simple as flipping things around for the better.

If you’re in the wrong business, get out. It’s draining your aliveness. Get into the right business.

Once you’re in the right business, learn the skills you need to do it well. These include marketing, selling, and money management.

If you can’t do all these things because of talent or time, find someone who can do the essential things that need to get done.

If you’re in the right business, doing what you love, but still not getting where you want to go, then find out what’s holding you back.

It may be as simple as pursuing the wrong business strategy, or it may also be as subtle as changing a belief that’s been holding you back. Find your hidden nemesis, remove the blocks.

If things are still not working for you, then there is something you don’t know that you don’t know. You may need to find a mentor to show you what you can’t see.

Success vs. Failure

We tend to think of success and failure as two extremes. You’re either winning or losing.

While this may be true in a limited sense in a sport, where inches or seconds or degrees make the difference between winning and losing, most circumstances are more forgiving.  

In truth, you’re always winning and losing at the same time.

You’re winning a little — doing some things right — and losing a little — doing some things wrong.

The trick is to be able to step back, assess the situation, and make corrections.

Sometimes tiny tweaks can lead to big changes in business or life.

Sometimes corrections require charting a new direction and preparing for a gradual  process of change.  

If life is a game and winning makes it more fun to play, then find out what you need to know to tip things in the right direction.

Wrapping it Up

Let’s tie it altogether now:

  1. If you’re failing or have failed, it’s because (a) you are doing the right things in the wrong business or (b) you are doing the wrong things in the right business.
  2. Correction is possible once you recognize that you are heading in the wrong direction.
  3. If you’re in the wrong business, get into the right business. And if you’re in the right business, figure out what you’re doing to mess things up.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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