Want to succeed in your first new business venture? Then stay on board the ship you’re on until it’s ready to sail!
Anyone who leaves the security of their job/studies to venture forth into the business world does so believing they will succeed. Why would they leave the security of their jobs/studies otherwise? The sad reality is that many of these courageous adventurers will meet an untimely end. In this current economic climate 160 businesses per day are closing their doors. However, even in the good times, during the top of the economic success curve, some 95 per cent of businesses closed their doors within a five-year period, of which some 60 per cent succumbed in the first year. These are alarming figures that affect real lives. Many of these businesses are funded with student/family/personal loans and when the business goes under, so does the security and well-being of the people involved, who are usually dependent on its success. So what can be done to stop this happening and help ensure more start-ups succeed?
Why the failure rate is so high
Many of these ventures fail because the majority of people that go into business know very little about business — they are not business people. They may be very good students or managers, or very good professionals or very good technicians, but they are not business people with business experience. As Michael E. Gerber once put it: ‘They think that because they know the technical or professional work of a
business, they know the business that enables that technical work’. This, says Gerber, is the fatal assumption of the majority of small business owners that go out of business, or who struggle for years with little or no reward for their slog.
Most people who fail in business enter this world with very little business acumen or skill . Because of this they underestimate and overlook a lot of the fundamentals, and conduct very little preparation for their new venture. Having spent some 20 years studying small business and their owners, I have noticed that instead of taking the time years in advance of a business venture to build a seaworthy business vessel that is fit for purpose, most of them don’t bother. Instead, in a frenzied hurry consumed with passion for their new idea or the new life in business, they hastily build a raft and set out in the shipping lanes in the mistaken belief they will build their basic business structure as they go along. The question is how many ships have been built out at sea? The answer is obvious isn’t it?
So what’s the solution?
If you want to succeed in business you must stay on board the ship you’re on — your current job or
studies — until you have built your vessel, studied the shipping lanes, thoroughly explored all the destinations, and built the right partnerships in the right areas with the right people to enable your ship to stay afloat. Where should this be done? On dry land, in a dry dock! Don’t try to produce an income when your business vessel is still half built because it will sink. In short, do every possible thing that can be done to ensure the success of your venture before you leave the security of your job or place of study.
SME development report to government
FranklinWaugh, in association with the Entrepreneurial Club in London has been compiling a report for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills for the last eight months. The purpose of the report is to provide an in-depth review of the poor state of small business in this country. The purpose of the report is to offer a solution to the rate of small business failure.
What FranklinWaugh is recommending in this report
FranklinWaugh’s top recommendation to government is to put their time, money and effort into an adequate and comprehensive start-up process for emerging small and medium enterprises. We at FranklinWaugh and Eclub call this provision the Pre Start-Up (PSU) process. It is becoming increasingly clear from our findings that we need to help people who want to create a new a business to get the best possible start. They need access to the right help and the right support (i.e. funding, knowledge, relationships). By doing this they can conduct the necessary due diligence in order to ensure the success of their business many years in advance of their first voyage.
How you can help us with this report and in so doing position yourself to become a PSU and potentially get funding from a variety of sources?
We are presently conducting surveys with people who are interested in starting a business within the next five years. By becoming a respondent to the survey, you could position yourself to benefit from one of our PSU programmes. You will also be placed on the PSU funding register. Shortly, we will be doing a series of talks on the PSU point of view (please see our next event here), as well as the opportunities that go along with it. If you have completed our survey and you are on the funding register you will be invited to these events and we would love to meet you.
Don’t jump ship until your ship is ready — completely ready! If there is a part of you (and there should be) that is daunted, even terrified, of going out on your own then you probably have reason to be, so don’t ignore these feelings. The question is, what is it that you don’t know you don’t know? We have met thousands of small business owners and have found, once launched, it is almost impossible to turn their ventures back to the shore in order to start again. This happens for many reasons including running out of energy, passion, money, belief, and love for what they do. When we use the illustration of the ship and the raft for existing, embattled small businesses with them, we see the expression on their faces as they realise that they are sitting on the raft, they have never been in the business shipbuilding yard and don’t have a clue where they are heading. You can ensure you are not in that position a few years down the line from now by making sure you pay the price — in time, money and effort up front — in order to ensure your success. A little wisdom goes a long way so ensure your future by putting your details on the Funding and Resource Register.