80% of new businesses fail within the first year and a half, reports this Forbes article. This statistic is terrifying to someone who is trying to get his or her own business off the ground. The truth is, however, that businesses do not fail because they do not have enough startup capital or there is not enough consumer interest in whatever product or service the business is selling. They fail because the owner doesn’t have the right business mindset. Here are five of the deadliest mantras in the business world:
I’m doing the best I can. Here’s the harsh reality: if you start a business based on something that you are very good at—something that you love to do, and you are not successful, you are probably not doing the best you can do. If you are doing as much as you can do and still are not seeing success, you are probably not doing the very best things for your business and you need to change directions. Telling yourself that you are doing the best you can do, when you haven’t evaluated whether or not what you’re doing is really “the best” means you’ll be one of those 80% that fail. If you really are doing the best you can, consider your weaknesses and then hire someone with strengths you don’t have to help you get better.
It’s the next big thing. There’s nothing wrong with believing your product or service is great. Not being grounded, however, about that product or service, and constantly hyping it, not just to other people, but to yourself, can make it easy to forget about its failings.
You’ve got to spend money to make money. It’s true. You do have to spend money to make money. But are you spending money on the right things? Are you giving away the right things for free? Are you actually making money when you spend money?
It’s all about the product (or service). It’s not. It’s all about the customer. Focusing too much attention on the product or service and not enough on customer development is sure to see your business in the gutter. There are many ways to determine what your customer really wants. Make sure you are taking advantage of these.
It’ll work itself out. There’s nothing wrong with putting your trust in a higher power, but when it comes to your business, hoping that problems just iron themselves out is the best way to dismantle your business from the inside out. Problems within your business, whether it’s that you don’t have a business model, you don’t know how to market, etc. aren’t wrinkles—they’re cracks. And they eventually spread until your business starts to crumble.
These are just some of the mantras you should avoid. Do you have any other recommendations?