What must you learn (and change) to make sure your business doesn’t fail?

We all know the depressing statistics which show that most small businesses fail within a few years of start up. No business has the right to survive and prosper. There is a good argument to suggest we need failures to weed out the inefficient, the sclerotic and the unneeded.

In my experience, failure is more often caused by internal factors over which management have control than external factors over which they don’t. There seems to be much ‘shooting oneself in the foot’.

Here are a few examples of the research into reasons why businesses fail:

and Jim Collins’ interesting book How the mighty fall where he looks at formerly successful companies which failed.

In bquest, we also often see businesses making the same sort of mistakes and, while they may not actually fail, they miss all the opportunities to be more successful; they just seem to bumble along the bottom, their owners seem to tolerate the status quo and accept survival and mediocrity.

In How the mighty fall Collins remembers the advice of his mentor, Stanford professor Bill Lazier: “Don’t try to come up with the right answers; focus on coming up with good questions.” This seems to me to be excellent advice!

So, with some of the problems of current bquest clients in mind, here are a few (perhaps commonsense but definitely not common practice) questions to get you thinking……

  • Which of your customers’ needs or wants are you really satisfying? What other of their needs or wants could you consider satisfying?
  • Are you getting the best price for your product or service? What can you change to get a better price?
  • Are you making a real profit on all your offerings? Are there some things you do that actually lose you money?
  • What are your competitors beginning to do that might capture your customers? What can you do to capture customers from your competitors?
  • Are you getting satisfaction (energy, motivation, pleasure, rewards, work-life balance, sense of purpose, security, reputation, ego, growth, family heritage, stress free, permanence, whatever) from your business? What could you change to really get the most out of your business?

In bquest, we help you ask the right questions.

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