If I hear one more sour, disillusioned business loser bitterly blame City Hall, City Council, the stupid people of Revelstoke, the economy, high Revelstoke prices, stratospheric taxes, a sparse labour pool or the damn Internet, etc. for a small business failure, I’ll give them a one-way ticket to purgatory. Sounds like their kind of place, if they’re not already in business purgatory.
Take a boo at some of our local winners, Le Baguette (case in point; their new gourmet deli, Le Marche. This makes four business outlets in Rev under their umbrella), Pharmasave (local franchise), The Modern Café, Ascend Massage Therapy, River City Pub, Work and Play, Free Spirit Sports, Home Hardware (local franchise), Universal Footwear, The Village Idiot, Hill’s Carpentry, The Fix. Now, don’t get all huffy if I missed you. My fevered brain can’t remember all our Small Business Barons. The test of time shows they’re all doing something right; could be they might share if you’d ask?
Eric T. Wagner is a contributor to Forbes magazine and he slaps you in the face with, “8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start a small business fail in 18 months.” (In Canada a small business is 100 employees or less) In his 2013 article Wagner dumped it on you hard with The Five Top Reasons Businesses Fail. You’ve heard them before but not quite in this manner. Did the message get through the thick bone?
- Not really in touch with customers. Translation: Get out there and talk to as many customers as possible. Wagner suggests 100 and LISTEN! Don’t go beaking off endlessly about your clever idea for one more café/restaurant. Listen to the potential users of your outlet. Oh, and forget friends’ opinions, they’ll never tell you the truth.
- No real differentiation in the market. Meaning, are you doing anything different than 20 other drowning owners trying to suck a living out of the same pot?
- Learn to communicate better than the next bonehead. Study effective communications. It’s a huge topic.
- Leadership breakdown at the top. Otherwise, this a big self-sabotage reason for blowing it. You started something good and successful, for the moment, then sat back on your big fat laurels. Study leadership skills.
- Inability to nail down a profitable business model. Put simply, does your product or service fit the market where the money is. This one needs a lot of study. Don’t have time, you say? Really? You just won the Bonehead of the Year Award.
So, my main mogul… extrapolating from the above, if you own a small business and are not studying your craft on a regular basis, I mean attending at least one professional seminar a year (Internet or otherwise), being constantly in touch with your customers and LISTENING (this includes input from your staff, (“but how could they know more than me? I’m the boss?”) you’re a Business Bonehead.
If you’ve just graduated from staff to management or owner and you think you’ve arrived, you may be the victim of the Peter Principle. You have risen to the level of your own incompetence. You may have been a great sales person but now you’ve taken your yourself out of your sweet spot, probably thinking I know what I’m doing in my new roll… Guess again. Now the hard and SMART work is just beginning. Don’t have time for all that personal upgrading? Then you’re in too far. Get out, now.
Yours in social sarcasm,
Ms. Anne Throap
P.S. For more on the above concepts contact the Revelstoke Business Information Centre. They’re very good at concepts.