Small Business Success – Why Some Make It and Others Don’t

By Will Schneider

In a recent Business Insider article, Richard Branson, Virgin Records Founder and CEO, briefly described the challenges of forging a successful business start-up. Specifically, he mentioned that, “It’s far more difficult being a small-business owner starting a business than it is for me with thousands of people working for us and 400 companies. Building a business from scratch is 24 hours, 7 days a week, divorces, it’s difficult to hold your family life together, it’s bloody hard work and only one word really matters — and that’s surviving.” This perspective really puts into focus just how difficult it is to get a start up “off the ground.” Starting a business literally takes a monumental effort to succeed. But even knowing how much effort is required, still many talented people fail. At the core, here are three critical reasons why talented people can’t translate understanding into practice.

Even Talented People can be Afraid of Risks

In some ways, business is quite like religion in that it requires a healthy dose of faith – the kind of faith that forces action even when the destination can’t be seen. Take the small business, Toydle (, for example. Owner Robert Brownfield has seen his kids forts business transform from near death to unexpected growth in a short period of time – but only after he took a leap of faith and started implementing some strategies that exhausted the company of money. He started investing more in advertising and marketing, and the sales of his product that helps children and adults build a fort using a fort building kit starting growing. “I decided to give it one more try, as we’d done advertising a couple of times before without any luck. It took a lot of faith, but the risk paid off,” said Mr. Brownfield. And there are more famous stories – such as the owner of FedEx risking it all in Las Vegas only to win enough at a gambling table to keep the business going. Business success requires calculated risk, which is an especially difficult thing to implement when you can’t tangibly see the reward.

Even Talented People can Quit on the 5 Yard Line

One undeniable truth of business is that it takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and momentum to get a business off the ground. Oftentimes, we hear a great deal about success stories without the mention of how long it took the business to achieve success. And you’ve probably heard the old adage, “it’s always darkest before the light.” In this sense, many business owners get caught in a very difficult period of time and decide to quit rather than continue along with the business. Oftentimes, they quit shortly before a new break though, simply unable to withstand the pain and turmoil any longer. On the other hand, successful business people have proven time and again that they rose to the top because they found a way to keep going when they wanted to give up.

Even Talented People can Run Out of Funding

One of the biggest reasons for business failure is under-capitalization. When a business isn’t properly funded to execute a successful game plan, failure becomes more certain. But the strange thing is that many successful businesses have had to find extremely creative ways to finance their business, and oftentimes have had to sacrifice in ways that many people just can’t conceive. Regardless, an underfunded business is destined for failure, so finding creative ways to keep things going and using a budget process keeps successful business people on the right track.

There are many other factors that can lead to business success. But these three factors are so common that we thought they were worth mentioning again in the off chance that you find yourself at a difficult crossroads in your business. In the end, it’s kind of refreshing to know that there aren’t any real “secret” to success – just the successful implementation of some very difficult principles.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 29th, 2013 at 2:09 pm and is filed under Small Business Resources.