There is a headline in business which goes nine out of every ten businesses fail. It is usually the first chilling piece of information would be entrepreneur receive. For many it is meant to kill their dreams of starting for others it acts as the catapult. This article is written for both groups for the cowards and the valiant types.
Why do Businesses fail?
Frankly, if only 90 percent of the people who go into entrepreneurship fail, isn’t it supposed to be great news? It means that somewhere between five and nine times more people are succeeding in business.
Think about it: How many who set out to win a gold medal in any of the 302 events in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing will lose? All but one in each event. How many children, out of the 9,000,000-plus who entered this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee won?
How many golfers are there at the start of the PGA or The Masters? How many wins? How many ideas for a brand new consumer goods product fail and never make it to market?
Famous Failed Businesses
Most pundits are quick to point a lack of capital. There are those who fail to start because of a lack of startup capital. Many of these marvelous ideas have literally hundreds of millions of dollars behind them when they crash and burn.
Ever heard of Ford’s Edsel? How about Xerox or Exxon computers? Xerox “invented” the mouse, desktop, and icons. However, they still failed. Or, toy-giant Ideal, who back in 1958 had the confidence to introduce a Christ-child doll at Christmas
Premiere “smokeless” cigarettes from R.J. Reynolds invested five years. Hundreds of millions were invested in its R&D. General Motors’ Chevrolet Nova, which didn’t do so well, in Mexico where they planned to sell huge numbers.
They thought so simply because in Spanish the word “nova,” means “won’t go.” Everywhere you look; there are many failures. And lots of things that eventually succeeded were failures at first.
Bizet’s universally beloved opera, Carmen, was an opening night flop.
The Celestine Prophecy was a dust-covered paperback for a year before becoming a runaway, hardcover best-seller.
Failures who turned into Successes
As for products, there are many which initially failed but turned the tables. Michael Gersham tells the story of 49 initial product failures that are now some of marketing’s greatest success stories.
For example, Kleenex was marketed by Kimberly-Clark after World War I. They were a newsprint/wrapping paper company with warehouses full of a medical dressing replacement used during the war. Only when a young man in marketing got an idea. He discovered one could blow their nose and just throw it away. Today the product sits in every ladies handbag.
Pepsi went bankrupt. Walt Disney went bankrupt for five times. The predominant physical force on Earth is gravity, and it’s always pulling businesses down. 95 percent of most businesses everywhere aren’t really cutting it. They certainly are not “winning.”