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17 Reasons why Businesses Fail
Read in 18 min.
Listen in 22 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Pooja Agnihotri

17 Reasons why Businesses Fail

The mistakes that lead to failure in business and how to avoid making them

Using examples of her experiences gathered during her career as an expert in marketing, and not without a touch of casual irony, Pooja Agnihotri shares the most common mistakes that she has seen many entrepreneurs make, whether they have been in business for years or they were just starting out. Every organisation, from the smallest to the largest, is in danger of making the same set of mistakes, and these can lead to the collapse of the business. One of the aspects she looks at more closely is the use and mis-use of marketing, and how that can determine whether a business will, or will not, be successful.

17 Reasons why Businesses Fail
Read in 18 min.
Listen in 22 min.

Making mistakes is normal, but what leads us to make them is our inability to recognise them for what they are

Everyone makes mistakes (even if nobody likes to admit it) and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem occurs when we do not realise that we are making them.

Bombarded by social media messages, and the unrealistic picture they paint of the world and people’s lives; it is easy for us to overestimate our abilities. Even though it is important to believe in yourself and your abilities, you need to get the right training before starting a business. For example, journalist Malcolm Gladwell states that it takes 10,000 hours of practice before you can say you are an expert in any field. 

Meanwhile, the most common reaction to failure is to blame it on external factors, making excuses to avoid having to admit that you were wrong. It is a rather common reaction that, unfortunately, can often lead to the loss of an important opportunity: the chance to learn from our mistakes. To truly learn from our mistakes, we need to become more open minded and learn to question our actions.

A good way to start this process is to ask questions. Rather than blindly accepting it when someone says that a certain initiative or action is impossible, it would be more constructive to ask that person why, and try to understand whether they are making an informed decision, or a misguided mistake.

Among other things, when someone becomes deeply engrossed in any entrepreneurial project, they can completely lose sight of its real chances of success and entry into the market. If you are able to stay open to constructive criticism, and recognise any mistakes you might have made, this will help you to maintain an objective perspective, and enable you to make changes to the project, as necessary.

Finally, it is important to keep an eye on your competitors, so that you can learn from both their successes and failures. Above all, however, when they achieve better results than you do, it is important that you recognise them as a potentially useful source of inspiration.


The key ideas of "17 Reasons why Businesses Fail"

Making mistakes is normal, but what leads us to make them is our inability to recognise them for what they are
Before launching any type of business, you need a long term strategy
Market research is the most important thing to do before starting any business
To be successful you need to develop a good idea, and if it doesn’t generate a profit, it is probably wiser to move on to something else
Having excellent knowledge of your target sector is essential for successful integration
Learning to manage people and developing the skills to become a good manager are key to the success of any company
The use of marketing is very important, but certain myths must be dispelled
Advertising plays an important role but for it to bring results, it must be adequate
Lack of financial planning and an inability to stick to a budget are the main causes of business failure
Providing adequate customer service and listening to customer feedback will help your business grow
Investing in yourself, on both your health and continuous learning, is the key to the successful management of your business
Take-home message
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