As I’ve already pointed out in previous articles, 80 percent of all small businesses fail within the first 18 months. Many things impact the success or failure of a small business, but one of the things often blamed when a business goes under probably had little to do with that failure: the economy. The fact is that many small businesses do very well in a bad economy, and many small businesses fail during a healthy economy. A good economy might cover up underlying problems in a business while a bad economy brings those problems to the surface, but the economy itself is seldom the blame.
The decisions made by the small business owner or manager has a far greater impact on the success or failure of a small business. Those decisions determine the culture of that business, how it’s structured, the quality of its products and/or services, and the value the business places on customer service. When the economy is strong there may be enough cash flow to hide the problems created by poor decisions, but when the economy weakens those problems will come roaring to the surface.
Many people asked why I wrote my book Mistakes: Avoiding the Wrong Decisions that Will Close Your Small Business. Why would I admit the many mistakes I made as the owner of a small business that eventually had to close, they wondered. The answer is very simple. I don’t want people to go through what I went through as I watched this once great business begin to fail.
For 35 years I have been in the ministry. My calling is to help people live fruitful, faith-filled lives. I like to see people succeed and their families prosper. I know the pain I felt as our business slowly began to shut down, and I don’t want others to go through that. One reader told me I was too hard on myself, but the fact is that various decisions I made were directly responsible for the business having to close. If I can help other small businesses avoid that experience the work I put into writing the book will be well worth it.
We often hear that experience is the best teacher. Someone has stated that is not correct. He said evaluated experience is the best teacher, and I would agree with that. How many people do you know who have experienced a failure in their lives, started over and went through the same scenario again? Because they failed to learn their lessons the first time they got the opportunity to go through that class again.
I don’t ever want to go through the experience of seeing another small business fail. One of the reasons I wrote the book was to enable me to evaluate the experience, study the decisions I made that led to the failure, and learn from them. Now that I have started an auction business I am trying to incorporate those learnings into the new business so it has a much better chance of succeeding.
I also wrote the book for you, the small business owner, and for those who may be considering starting their own business. I invite you to learn from my mistakes. You’ll find it will be a lot cheaper! The book is available for both Kindle and NOOK devices.