According to Bloomberg, who know a thing or two about private enterprise, eight out of ten new businesses fail within the first eighteen months. The US senator and physician Rand Paul goes one further and asserts that nine out of ten business operations do not succeed. However notwithstanding the authority which such observations would seem to command, there seems to be little statistical evidence to back them up. Furthermore, the definition of “failure” itself is not clear, and would appear to include those companies which either do not show significant growth, or which merge with others or are the subject of a takeover.
When it comes to outright collapse, a more realistic estimate offered by other similarly authoritative analysts seems to suggest that something in the region of half of all new business go down the proverbial tubes within the space of a few years. Which still implies some significant element of risk, so here are some basic suggestions for ensuring that your business becomes one of those which do not fail but actually grow:
- Map Out Your Goals
Whether you are embarking on a business or any other kind of venture it is a good idea to decide where you want to go before you set off. Will you be happy to work part-time just to pay the bills, or do you aspire to corner the market? Knowing how you want your project to develop enables you to map progress and set its future course.
- Research the Market
You may have a good idea, but has somebody else beaten you to it? Or is the demand for the product or service which you offer so widespread that there is room for you alongside all those who are already operating in your intended line of business? What is it about what you plan to offer that will set you apart from the competition?
- Don’t Sell Yourself Short
It is always tempting to sell your product more cheaply than your rivals, but low-price isn’t always the key to success. Some goods sell precisely because their shelf price suggests quality, and so it follows that in some instances cheapness suggests poor quality. Rolls Royce would never get into a bidding war with a manufacturer of cheap family cars. Similarly you should pitch your product or service according to what people are likely to be prepared to pay for it, in other words its real value.
- Concentrate, Focus, Avoid Distractions
Do you have the right environment around you to enable you to succeed? Generally speaking screaming children are not conducive to a creative environment, and a cluttered desk is unlikely to engender efficiency. Give yourself the space and the surroundings you need to enable yourself to work effectively.
Hadrian didn’t build his own wall, and Richard Branson doesn’t fly his own planes. Avoid the mindset which has it that you have to do everything yourself – you are the innovator, but sometimes you need also to be the one who delegates. Don’t be afraid to hire help.