Why Your Business Is Not A Success

October 2, 2007

Why is it that your business is not successful, whilst other business owners seem to have it easy? Do you feel as though you’re working every spare hour that you have for chickenfeed, whilst Ms Successful down the road seems to be getting all the lucky breaks? Maybe you’re making one of these terrible mistakes.

You Don’t Need to Succeed: You’re working at your business part-time and you still have income from your job.

Ms Successful has no other source of income. She has two kids and needs to put food on the table and pay the mortgage too.

Possible Solutions: Take your business seriously if you want to be successful. Set yourself goals, and aim towards giving up your day job. Can you save the money up from your part-time profits, or by budgeting? Can you release some equity from your home? Can you get a bank loan, or a grant. If you’re from the USA, you can get a free government grant kit which will help you to get a grant, by clicking here. And if you’re from the UK, there are thousands of grants listed here.

You Want to Make A Lot Of Money As Fast As Possible: And no matter how hard you try, it’s just not working, you’re hardly making a bean.

Ms Successful wants to make a lot of money eventually but her main objective is building a successful business. When she starts to earn a lot, it’s not the money she’s made that gives her the most satisfaction, but the efforts she put in to get it.

Possible Solutions: Don’t make getting rich your main aim. Concentrate on building a successful business that people have a need for. If your current business doesn’t fall into this category, ditch it, and try something you really enjoy doing.

You’re Not Reinvesting Your Profits: Even though you have a job to pay the bills, you spend the small amounts you earn from your part-time venture.

Ms Successful saved hard to start her business, and made sure she had enough cash to live on for a year. She reinvests all her profits in her business, so that she can grow it quicker.

Possible Solution: Any profits you make from your part-time venture, no matter how small should go back into growing and marketing your business. Don’t spend a penny of them on anything else.

You’ve Chosen the Wrong Type of Business: You’ve jumped on the make money online bandwagon, or some other oversaturated niche. You saw lots of other people doing it - thousands in fact, so you figured there must be a demand. And you promote every new product going.

Ms Successful did her research and took her time to figure out what people wanted, then she chose what type of business to start. Her market is not oversaturated, although she does have some competitors as there is a demand for what she is offering.

Possible Solution: Start again. Make a list of the things you enjoy, take your time to discover what people want (hanging out on forums is a great way to do this), then work out a way that you can give people what they’re looking for.

Your Competitors Are Undercutting You and You Can’t Make A Profit: You jumped on the “me too” bandwagon. You saw businesses that seemed to be doing well, and they were in great demand, so they you decided to do the same. It looked easy and because you were new, all you had to do was charge less than your competitors. The trouble was, as soon as you did that, they reduced their prices too.

Ms Successful doesn’t compete on price. In fact her prices are much higher than many of her competitors. But, she noticed that many were selling a poor quality product, and on average, delivery time took a week. She can charge more because her product is of superior quality and she can deliver overnight.

Possible Solution: Don’t compete on price - even when you’re just starting out. Find a way that you can improve your service and make it more attractive to your customers. Can you be faster, more efficient, offer better quality? What do your customers want? Ask them - send questionnaires, or call them. If you’re offering something better than your competitors offer, then you don’t need to compete on price.

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16 Responses to “Why Your Business Is Not A Success”

  1. Barbara on October 2nd, 2007 6:41 pm


    Such great advice.

    I see a lot of people get into business, thinking they have to buy all new stuff…i.e. new vehicle, new equipment. Although it may “look nice”, a new vehicle normally doesn’t increase your income, and with used equipment, you can get the same hourly rate, or end result, whether it’s new or used. With new, your monthly payments are higher, thus you have to find more work, just to break even.

    And yes, to make good money, in any business, you must be in it for the long haul. Unless you win the lottery, a person won’t make millions overnight. It takes lots of hard work, many sacrifices, determination, and a love for what you are doing.

    That’s also great advice about putting your money back into the business. It’s very essential.

  2. Ian on October 2nd, 2007 9:27 pm


    Your wisdom knows no bounds.

    In fact, anyone I know either in busines or considering starting, will be recommended not just to your site, but this post in particular.

    I don;t know how you have managed it, but you seem to have distilled all the thought processes the budding entrepreneur has, and the mistakes even the greatest make.

    When is your book out again?

    Don’t forget, that pressing the control button and “C”, and then in Word the control button and “V” will get all these blog posts into the book.

    You just need a title for it.

    Perhaps (and please paraphrase this because it aint PC):

    “Ignore The S*it On The Net - Here’s How You Do It For Real”

    All of the stuff you talk about is stuff thousands of people go through. And they repeat mistakes. Repeatedly. And before I forget, people, do continually do the same stupid stuff without realising.

    And because they’re forgetful, they repeat mistakes. Repeatedly.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the people who comment were equally forgetful.

    Sometimes I forget important stuff too.

    For example, I forgot that repeating mistakes was a bad thing, And I forgot that very recently.

    But at the end of the day, as long as you can learn from bitter experience (and don’t repeat your mistakes - at least not too often), then you can progress.

    And before I sign off, remember to avoid repetition.

    There’s nothing more annoying.

    And lastly, but not leastly, learn from your mistakes.

  3. JoLynn Braley on October 3rd, 2007 2:47 am

    So many great things were already said by the previous 2 commenters, I don’t know what else to add! :) Ok, here’s one thing - “making a lot of $$ as fast as possible”…..if you’re a genuine, honest business, isn’t there a stat that businesses in general have a loss during their first 3 years? I know that I want to make $$ before 3 years is up (I’m sure we all do), but it does go back to your point that it requires a concerted effort….and it won’t happen overnight. ;)

  4. cathlawson on October 3rd, 2007 10:55 am
    Barbara - good point re equipment - especially vehicles. That money would be better put towards things that bring in more cash.

    Cheers Ian - I have visions of being arrested one day for using some of your titles!

    Too right re: forgetting your mistakes and making the same ones again. That is v easy to do once all the problems surrounding the original mistakes have gone.

    Re: The book - hopefully by the end of the year. I am going to aim to get it traditionally published but will probably bring it out electronically, or even self publish a few copies first, as the publishing process can take an age.

    I don’t think I could just copy all the blog posts because I’m too self critical, so I’d probably read through them and toss most of them out!

    JoLynn - I’ve always wondered about these stats because they include average businesses. And I would encourage readers not to be average. But it is certainly difficult to break even quickly.

    I had a discussion about breaking even with a man on a forum. And most of the forum readers wouldn’t have this, but to break even - you also need to have made your initial investment back.

    Now, I put quite a large initial investment into my plumbing business and I planned to break even in six months. But with mistakes and setbacks it will probably be closer to a year.

    And I have had previous experience, so it may be even harder for someone with no experience.

    It is probably wise to plan to not even draw a wage for at least a year.

  5. Opal Tribble on October 3rd, 2007 8:11 pm

    That’s sound advice…
    When I started out almost six years ago my main focus wasn’t to make money right away I focused on building a creating a business that would attract customers. As my mentor told me Opal there’s a lot of people that are making natural skin care products. What makes you stand out from the rest? I worked on that approach.

  6. Asako on October 4th, 2007 6:20 am

    Catherine, you are publishing a book!? Will I be able to find it in the US or on Amazon? In fact, I started writing my book up to chapter 5, but then, like your post suggests, I stopped by prioritizing it lower than my startup endeavor, I realized I can not run more than 3 projects at one time (startup, part-time consulting, blogging). How can you achieve so much?

    I agree on the re-investment of the profit. It is really all about the calculated risk, and being wise about your financial. No need to starve yourself, you just need to know how much you need to last long enough, then, invest the rest.

  7. cathlawson on October 5th, 2007 8:24 am
    Hi Asako - 5 chapters is pretty good. I suppose you have to commit to writing so many words a day, or writing for a specific amount of time even if it’s just 30 minutes. It is tough fitting everything in, but I love writing - it is more like a hobby.

    I haven’t submitted the book to a publisher yet, as I was just going to release it as an ebook. But I will be soon. And I may release it as an ebook, or self publish first as the publication process takes an age. Whichever way I go, I’ll make sure it is definitely available on Amazon.

    Asako - for your book, send a query to as many suitable publishers as you can find first. Then, if they agree to look at it send a synopsis and 3 sample chapters. This will spur you on to write the remainder.

  8. Asako on October 8th, 2007 6:14 am

    Thank you, Catherine. That is a good idea, and then, if my concept is interesting, the publisher will make sure that I finish it.

    I did not realize how much work it is to write a book. I write a chapter, let it sit for a while, then have to edit 10 times. And then, add a new chapter, then, start editing two chapters again to be coherent, then…. I truly respect writers now.

    Please keep us posted on your book. I am looking forward to it!

  9. cathlawson on October 8th, 2007 9:22 am
    Asako - if a publisher gives you the go ahead to complete the book, it would definitely give you the motivation to complete it. But the trouble is, so many first time book writers are rejected several times, so they’ve often completed the book by the time they are accepted!

    You will be able to find a US publisher here: http://www.writersmarket.com by either joining their website or buying their book.

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  13. Alice on July 24th, 2008 3:42 pm

    Hi, I just discovered your site. You have a lot of wisdom here! As an online business owner who works with clients getting started or trying to improve their internet businesses, I get very frustrated with the belief that just setting up online is like turning on the money tap. An internet business is just like any other: you have to work just as hard as a brick & mortar business, success will not happen overnight, and you’ll need to keep working hard because your competitors aren’t sitting around waiting for money to fall into their laps.

    Thanks for providing great tips and sanity-inducing perspectives! I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    Alice’s last blog post..Hiring a Professional Writer for SEO Content

  14. cathlawson on July 24th, 2008 9:13 pm

    Hi Alice - I guess we have those make a million overnight sites to thank for that misconception. And it’s amazing how many people they suck in. Thanks for dropping by.

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