Almost half of small business startups fail in the first year – find out why

For many parents, the idea of running a business that fits in with family life and makes enough for a decent life is a distant dream. For some it’s a raw subject of failure, and for others, they are living the dream.

If you’re thinking about starting a business, or have started but don’t want to fall into the trap that those who fail do, take note of the following:

Poor management
The main reasons why so many business fail is
because they lack the right level of management, planning, finance and marketing. Having a product and/or service to sell to people is great, but without a decent plan, a decent operational plan, enough money to get the business off the ground, and enough money to tell buying customers about it, there really isn’t much hope of success.

How to make sure you don’t fail
If you fail,to plan, then you plan to fail. It’s a very we’ll-known saying, but someone somewhere must have bore the brunt of failure and overcome it to coin that term! We can learn from it.

In the modern world, we can plan by writing a business plan. Business plans help with lack of management with financial analysis, guide your decision-making process, and help you to outline specific goals for your business.

When you write down your plan, it brings a different dynamic to your thought processes. It doesn’t have to be a long-winded document – unless you plan to borrow enough money to run a small country from the bank. A simple two-sided document with the key activities of your business etc is enough.

Business plans help with lack of planning by outlining the means to meet
specific goals. They are great for focusing your mind, something that becomes increasingly difficult the busier you get in business. If you have so many balls to juggle in your life, it’s easy to forget to do those things you initially set out to do. Your business plan becomes a go-to document you can refer back to time and time again to make sure you’re on the right track and don’t forget to hit the milestones you identified as essential for your business’s success right at the beginning.

Your promotion plan
Many businesses spend thousands on everything but promotion and marketing and then wonder why no one buys. The issue is that without a captive audience – and one that is happy to buy, you can forget about making money. You are effectively running a hobby. A complete business plans include a marketing plan addressing lack of marketing.

Monitor your progress, or lack of
Business plans also help you monitor your progress. If you had a set of objectives and targets at the start of your business, having something written down that you can refer back to will help you achieve your initial goals when you go back to refer to it.

Business plans give you something to compare your end of period results with.

Identify your weaknesses and fix them
Business plans help identify weak areas where you can improve. If you keep everything you do in business in your mind, you’ll only achieve so much. Writing it down in an official document forces you to properly evaluate your business, it’s strengths and weaknesses (the SWOT Analysis).

Business plans help you avoid making the same mistake over and over again. If you’ve been burnt by a type of client before, or know that you have list money performing in a certain way or business then write it down in your business plan.

Be honest – is it feasible?
A good business plan includes a feasibility study, so you should know before you start whether your business can succeed. This can save you a lot of money in the long run – sometimes we fall in love with the idea of our business rather than stay objective.

If you have a feasibility study, you will get a good idea about whether the business is worth doing, if and how much money it will make you and help you decide whether to change something about your business or ditch it altogether.

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Written by Joycellyn Akuffo

Founder and editor of www.motherswhowork.co.uk, a mother of two wonderful children, wife, entrepreneur (check out www.geekschool.co.uk) and journalist.

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