Why Success? Why Failure?
Jan 16, 2017 01:07PM
By Melanie Heisinger
By Warren Williams
History teaches us plenty of lessons, if we choose to learn from them. The history of business is no different. With failures significantly outnumbering successes, we have more than enough examples of mistakes not to repeat. Conversely, successes give us examples to emulate.
In spite of this ongoing set of lessons-learned, failures continue. Since most of us are seeking success, let’s examine some of the reasons why businesses both fail and succeed.
- The owners and top managers in the business have managerial experience and skill. Many business failures are directly related to managerial incompetence. Successful business owners learn what they need to, and surround themselves with key people who bring necessary skills to the table. These leaders also know how to get out of their own way. They know it isn’t necessary to be liked by everyone, and they don’t allow their tendencies to get in the way of good decisions.
- Failing businesses often
suffer from a lack of vision. They don’t plan effectively, or not at all.
There are limited standards for performance. The result is very poor
- Success takes drive to
make the business succeed. Energy, passion, persistence and
resourcefulness are requirements of top managers.
- A business with a product or service that is not compelling and not surrounded by great service is going to have a hard time surviving, much less finding the success they are seeking.
- Aggressive and creative marketing efforts are a necessity. Successful businesses know their market and know how to creatively and efficiently reach them. Good marketers know that it may take a number of ‘touches’ before a potential customer is ready to buy.
- Successful businesses get the math right. They are realistic in their estimates for success and what it will take. They know there is demand for their product or service, and that their effort will produce sufficient profit.
- As someone once said, “laurels sat upon wilt”. Good business leaders recognize a need to keep developing new products in order to build and retain a customer base.
- Sometimes success can be an enemy, if growth is not controlled. Getting caught up in the rush of initial marketplace success often entices business owners to reach beyond their inherent capabilities. The business may expand into markets that are not as profitable, or deal poorly with the inevitable growing pains. The business may be lured into the trap that a high growth rate is the norm, with anything less deemed failure.
- Smart businesses control their finances. They know their metrics, and they watch them carefully. They do not allow themselves to fly blind, or be guided by incorrect numbers. They also know what it really costs to run the business, and they don’t make the mistake of underestimating the needs for cash to keep things going.
- Successful businesses have a plan for how new leadership will be brought on board. This means a well thought-out succession plan that takes in to account what is best for the business, customers and employees. This is particularly critical in family businesses.
- Fairness and respect in the workplace is another commonality with successful businesses. The benefits in productivity and creative ideas that a healthy work environment generates cannot be overlooked. You can’t build a business while driving your employees into the ground and disregarding their input.
These are just a few of potentially thousands of lessons we can take from past failures and successes alike. Why not learn from them, repeat the winners and avoid the losers? In the business world, the odds aren’t exactly stacked in you favor, so let’s even the odds!
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