Roy's Blog

September 12, 2018

Why most startups fail — guest post

Starting a business is daunting, shadowed by the truth that the majority of startup business fail. While the difficulties and challenges of starting a business are well publicized, many entrepreneurs continue to make the same crucial mistakes.

So.  Think your new business idea is brilliant? Below are some of the most common and surprising reasons why startups fail.
If you can avoid these mistakes, your chances of success will rise.


No market need

The most fatal thing a startup business can do is to try and push a product that has zero market need. If people have no interest in what you’re selling in the first place, your business is doomed to fail. A good product or service actually solves a real market problem.
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs skip over this first thing to check.

Poor business planning

New business owners are often overly optimistic and unrealistic about how easy it will be to gain customers. They think that just because they have an interesting idea and a great website to showcase it, customers will suddenly pop out like daffodils in a snowy field.
But without a strategic and systematic business model, your business won’t get very far. A solid business model should include every detail of how you will run your business, potential problems, and how you plan to overcome these challenges to reach success.

Inadequate funds

Many new business owners don’t have a clear understanding of their cash flow. They underestimate how much capital they will need, waste money on the wrong things, and have unrealistic profit expectations.
Eventually, their businesses run out of money and they are forced to shut down. To avoid this, determine a realistic figure of how much money you will need for the long haul, not just startup costs.

Wrong team

The wrong team

Finding a winning team of people can be a challenge – another big reason why so many startups fail. Teams in the startup environment should have a diverse set of adaptable skills – and even more importantly, the right mindset for surviving the tumultuous first few years of a startup.

Teams that recover and learn from their mistakes, work harmoniously, respect each other, and survive tough times together without losing their enthusiasm are the ones who will go far.
Running a startup business comes with many challenges, and it’s important to have a team that you know will stick by you.

Lack of environmental awareness

Startups fail when their only priority is to make money. A good startup business doesn’t just care about financial gains, but about more important issues affecting the planet as well, such as the environment. For example, if you’re running a restaurant, collaborating with a company that recycles food waste can help reduce landfill waste and make a positive impact on the earth.

Customers are now more conscious about how their purchases and pollution from business systems such as farming practices and plastic factories are affecting the natural world – including water systems, oceans, local wildlife. These customers are looking for eco-friendly products and services — and businesses that care enough to implement ethical practices that protect the environment, communities and the economy are the answer.

Pricing errors

The price of a product or service can make or break a business. Many startup businesses make the mistake of setting their prices either too high or too low. The more research and expert advice you get about your pricing strategy, the greater chance of success.
The key is to price the product high enough to cover costs, but low enough to attract your target customer base.

Pricing errors

Poor marketing

Having a great product or service idea is useless if your marketing is poor. Many startups suffer enormously from not doing enough market research and targeting the wrong people.
Knowing the needs and shopping habits of your target audience and how to get their attention is crucial.

Ignoring customers

Not responding to customer feedback is a sure way for a startup to fail. As a small business, customers will often expect you to be more open to communication — and your relationship with them is key to your success.
Make every effort to connect with them on a regular basis, whether through friendly face-to-face conversation, interactive social media posts, or fun competitions.

Don’t underestimate the power of prompt, honest, helpful replies, even for the simplest questions. If you ignore your customers’ needs, wants, suggestions, or praise — even unintentionally — your business will lose out on many chances to grow and improve.

Lack of self-awareness

Startups can be brought to their knees, not because of faults within the business itself, but from a lack of self-awareness in its founders. Some founders get stuck in their egos and believe they have everything all figured out.

A founder with a wrong, arrogant attitude wants to be seen as the smartest, most important person in the company, and can’t admit they’re wrong. However, relationships are a huge part of any business.
A good leader remains humble and realistic, respects their team, and retains their sense of humour. Leaders should take time to celebrate small successes and regularly thank their loyal team, while not taking themselves too seriously.

No passion

Lack of passion

People start businesses for many reasons, whether to make more money or for a chance to lead the company of their dreams exactly how they want. But many entrepreneurs lack real passion about what they do, which is often their downfall.
Passion gives you drive, patience, determination and motivation – which are all important characteristics for business leaders.

Cloe Matheson is a freelance writer from Dunedin, New Zealand who grew up in a very tight-knit family. She is extremely close with her Mum – her greatest role model. You can discover more of Cloe’s work on Tumblr.


  • Posted 9.12.18 at 10:42 am by Roy Osing
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