Why Do So Many Businesses Fail?

Updated: Sep 20, 2020

With each passing day it is getting increasingly harder to get the attention of potential customers. In the age of the internet, one would think that a business could easily be seen.

No Plan to Succeed

Unbeknownst to some, there is a very definite contradiction the internet poses for businesses, especially new, smaller businesses. The internet has turned the world into the neighborhood and the neighborhood into the world. The reaches of your business are only limited by your imagination. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, everyone also has that same power unfortunately; meaning your competition is not only the guy down the street but expansively everyone in your field. The average attention of a human now is 8 seconds. That is compared to the 9 seconds of attention that a goldfish has. Eight seconds is basically nothing. So how do you get the attention of someone in basically no time? You do it with surgeon-like precision. You have to have a plan. You cannot think that your product or service is so life-changing in and of itself that it will gain followers effortlessly. There are some crucial aspects to your business or product that need to be distilled down to their most elemental forms in order to get real, enduring business

You don't scratch the itch

First, your product has to be seen as something that will help your customers either survive or thrive. Your product needs to help people be accepted, achieve an aspirational identity, bond with a tribe that will defend them either physically or socially, find love, etc. People think we must address the external stuff, strategy, tactics, quick tips...and if we do this enough, it will change people’s internal narrative. No, you must address the internal to affect the external. Your product must scratch a fundamental itch that others within your industry are failing to satisfy.

You are too Complicated

Second, your product needs to be tied to a psychological, physiological, or even a spiritual need the brain has which is inherent, i.e. do not make people think about why they need your product. They just know they need it. When you think, your brain burns calories. Your brain does not like to burn calories unless it needs to. Ever just wanted to watch Netflix instead of doing something meaningful because you didn’t want to think? You would rather just veg out; more and more I bet too. This survival mechanism within your customers’ brains is designed to tune out confusing information. Imagine talking to someone who is in a life or death situation about the history of door knobs. It may be interesting, but considering the situation, I doubt they will remember a word of what you said. If your company message isn’t extremely important to them and consistent, and they will be burning calories to process the information you are sharing…’re done.

You are too cliché

The hardest part about generating a notion around your business and coming up with something that is a fundamental need of an audience is staying away from clichés. You cannot build a brand with overused promises and every cliché in your industry. In a horror movie when a girl gets in a car, she either...can’t start the car or is greeted by the killer in the backseat. You know what is going to happen and it’s easily dismissed. Do not use the overused “promises” most businesses employ in their messages. The problem is, prospective customers end up hearing the same words we all use “to define how unique we are” when in fact we are each attempting to convey very different things. Can any one company use the same words, messages, and promises as other companies and convince the world how ‘unique’ they are? Of course you can’t. Clichés are marketing’s silent killers. Clichés are your brand’s enemies, no matter how passionately convincing they may sound. Weed out clichés and choose to adopt something that is truly distinct and differentiating. Make something so inspiring that it may change the world. It is easier said than done but clichés are average. Another word for average is mediocre. You can expect mediocre returns from average branding.

An art dealer walks up to Pablo Picasso and says, “I acquired these paintings. People say you painted them.” Picasso looks and says, “That's a fake, that's a fake, and that's a fake.” The dealer leaves and Picasso’s assistant turns to him and says, “Master, saw you paint that painting 3 months ago.” Picasso says, “Well I often paint fakes.”

Only about 40 of Picasso’s thousands of paintings have become famous. One of the challenges you have if you're under a lot of pressure to fit in is to do it the way it's always been done, the pressure to paint fakes. The real question is–Are you going to matter? I hope you will dig deep enough to confront that fear in the back of your mind and go way out on the edge of the cliff and do something that we would miss if you didn't do.

#businessstrategy #branding #failure