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10 Reasons for Business Success or Failure

Updated on April 25, 2016

Since the housing bubble burst in 2008, many businesses have struggled to stay above water. The lack of discretionary income on consumers left many business operators scrabbling for strategies to keep their organizations alive and well. This hub explores 10 reasons why some business succeed while others fail.

Empowering Leadership

The first factor for business success is empowering leadership. This type of business management style has also been called transformational leadership. Transformational leadership is the type of motivational style that draws others in and inspires them to achieve something greater than themselves. However, the employees and staff members do not merely do the work; they also become better people in the process.

More and more enlightened employers are learning that employee satisfaction has a direct impact on the quality and sustainability of the enterprise. In fact, companies like Google have paved a new road of follower-centered leadership by offering services that help employees feel wanted and make their lives more efficient and effective. Such services can include company buses to pick up employees, in-house fry cleaning and in-house day care services. When employees are able to worry less about day to day issues outside of work, then they feel empowered to think creatively about their work.

Well-Defined Vision

The second factor to business success is a well-defined vision. A corporate vision is a scripted understanding of what a company wants to do and how they want to accomplish it. A well-defined vision allows members of an organization to unite for a common cause with singular aim and all energy focused in one direction.

No matter which leadership theory one espouses, all leadership theories identified with positive outcomes include vision as part of the make up of a successful company. Organizations that actively scan the horizon and tweak and sometimes redefine their visions will more likely maintain a sustainable competitive advantage.

Relevant Knowledge of the Business Market

A third factor for business success is relevant knowledge of the business market. In order to do anything well, a person or company must do their homework to gain a deep understanding about the factors that are essential for success. These days as the World Wide Web continues to expand, there is no excuse for a would-be entrepreneur to lack knowledge of whatever business they feel led to pursue. Sadly, many businesses are dead out of the gate because they do not take the time to gain a proper perspective on the industry. 

Detailed Business Plan

 Another factor for business success is the formulation of a comprehensive business plan. Knowing about an industry and sketching out a vision is only the beginning of a successful enterprise. The next step is to take what you know and what you want to accomplish and write a detailed strategy for how to make it happen. A business plan covers all the related factors that are essential for a winning enterprise including vision, description of the market, projected financials, employee relationships and customer relations management (CRM).

Assessment of the Direct and Indirect Competition

When getting ready to implement a new business, another important factor for success or failure is the nature of the direct and indirect competition for the same product or service. For instance, a person or group wishing to open an online outlet for used furniture should take adequate time to research how many other competitiors are trying to do the same thing. When doing the research the group should ask: who is the competition? What products and services do they offer? What is their pricing structure? What kind of shipping do they offer? and the like. Gaining a firm grasp of the competition can definitely make the difference between staying alive long-term or filing for bankruptcy.

Availability of Financing

 A sixth factor important to the success or failure of a business is available financing. The current economic crisis in America has made venture capital difficult to find. Of course, if a company can manage to avoid using credit altogether then this is not a problem. Still, most new businesses need some kind of seed money to get them up to speed and thus the ability to secure working capital is critical to keeping the doors open.

Solid Customer Relations Management

 A seventh reason for business success or failure is how a company realtes to their customers. This seems like a no brainer, but the better an organization handles their client base the more apt it will be to stay in business. Enterprises that take time to think out common and uncommon situations before they encounter them will be more likely to keep customers coming back. Those groups that merely define their customer relationships on the fly or in the heat of the moment are doomed to fail.

Well-Managed Supply Chain

Another reason for business success or failure is how a company manages its inventory. in order to keep the right mix of products on the shelves, an enterprise needs to think through its supply chain processes. Too much inventory can tie up working capital, but too little inventory can lead to shortages and lower customer satisfaction. JIT (or just-in-time) inventory management is one supply chain strategy that has benefited such large organizations like Wal-Mart, Dell Computers, and Toyota Motors.

Proper Timing

An eighth reason for business success or failure is timing. In 1998, when the latest housing boom began it was probably a good time to enter into the home mortgage industry; in 2006, when the housing bubble began to burst it was probably a poor time to set up a new mortgage outfit. Part of learning about an industry is getting a good feel for its business cycle; although trying to time the market can lead to indecision.

Well-Devised Decision Making System

Decision-making is at the heart of any business and the best organizations have outlined a step of procedures involved in the decision-making process. Those entities that tend to practice participative leadership allow representatives from all departments to be involved in the process and seem to gain stronger employee buy in. Most poorly led organizations do not encourage participation and often lack a well-defined procedure for making decisions. One solid decision-making scheme is the nine-step problem-solving model. The steps in the model are:

1. Describe the situation in detail

2. Frame the "right" problem

3. Describe the end-state goals from a broad perspective of values

4. Identify the alternatives

5. Evaluate the alternatives

6. Identify and assess the risks

7. Make the decision

8. Develop and implement the solution

9. Evaluate the results

Government Regulatory Measures

 A tenth reason for business success or failure is how much the owners of an enterprise have a good grasp on the rules and regulations governing their sector of the economy; this includes having a clear understanding of the tax structure. Many would-be entrepreneurs charge into a good idea not knowing what restrictions apply to the execution of the idea. For instance, a businessperson may take a vacation in Southeast Asia, go shopping in a local bizaar, and think that he can make a huge profit importing garments and handicrafts. Accordingly, he may purchase 1000 shoulder bags for $3000 thinking he can surely sell them for $10 a bag back home. However, before throwing down his cash, he did not realize he would have to pay a duty of $3 a bag to export them from the foreign country; another tariff to import them into his home country; not to mention taxes on the income.  Not knowing the extent to government interference in an industry can mean the difference between success and failure of a business. 


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    • jbullet profile image

      jbullet 7 years ago

      I'm a bit fan of empowering leadership. I love seeing other people grow and develop themselves and try to give people the room to do that as much as I can.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 7 years ago from Corona, California

      jbullet, thank you for your comment. Yeah...a leader who recognizes and acknowledges the contribution of their employees energizes and motivates them to achieve even greater things.

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      This article proves to me that there are many ways to develop leaders. Thanks for sharing.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      There is some very helpful information in this hub!

      I am all for empowering people. Transformation leadership is the way to go!

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 7 years ago from Corona, California

      DeBorrah, Thank you again for your gracious comments.

    • bryana 7 years ago

      this is not what i was looking for but thanks for the info

    • sabbatha1 profile image

      sabbatha1 7 years ago from

      I am just starting up a business your hub was fantastic. Thanks for the great information. I am just putting my business plan together with help from the small business administration.

    • Frank Crandell 7 years ago

      Business start up can be overwhelming for sure. Nice list of reasons to keep in mind. Wishing you great success.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 7 years ago from Corona, California

      Frank, thank you for your kind comments I appreciate them very much.

    • kavita pandey 6 years ago

      great article, was realy helpful for my business management studies

    • deliver-project 6 years ago

      You have outlined it very well ecoggins. I am managing my own business and yes, i've experienced lots of failures and success. From you hub i learned a lot from it..thanks for sharing..

    • workingbase 6 years ago

      Nowadays behind a good business, internet strategy can play an important role.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 6 years ago from Corona, California

      workingbase, thank you for that suggestion. Internet strategy can play an important role in business today.

    • jibi1234 profile image

      jibi1234 6 years ago from New York

      Good Article..But one of the key to success in today's world is INNOVATION :-)

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 6 years ago from Corona, California


      Thank you for your emcouraging comment. You are right innovation is a very important key to business success and failure. Thank you for sharing that insight.

    • ‎Roni2010 profile image

      ‎Roni2010 6 years ago from Santa Barbara

      Thank you , I Hope to succeed

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 6 years ago from Corona, California

      Roni2010 I hope you do too. Thank you for the kind comment.

    • sharon e dix profile image

      sharon e dix 6 years ago

      Once again , you truly shine as a leader in a world of no directions. Thank you , for all the time you spend directing lives.May all your dreams come. Sharon e Dix

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 6 years ago from Corona, California

      dear sharon, thank you for your encouragement. I am delighted you find my hubs helpful.

    • Bridget Davidson 6 years ago

      You also need partners you can trust and employees you can depend on. Here at GlobalTranz we have the best of both worlds, including all of our successful freight agents. You were right on with this hub!

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 6 years ago from Corona, California

      thanks Bridget for your insights. good solid partners and dependable employees are an important part of whether a business is a successful or failure. Sounds like you have a great business going. I appreciate your enocuragement.

    • KenWu profile image

      KenWu 6 years ago from Malaysia

      Precisely written and it all rooted back to entrepreneurship and leadership skills.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 6 years ago from Corona, California

      KenWu, thanks again.

    • Mr. Fisherman 6 years ago

      Informative. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 6 years ago from Corona, California

      Mr. Fisherman, I'm happy you found it helpful. All the best to you.

    • Mr G Bvekerwa 6 years ago

      i have learnt a lot from your hub/article. keep on e good work.u are ment to be e leader of our companies through the net.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 6 years ago from Corona, California

      Mr G Bverkerwa, I appreciate your enocuragement and am very glad that you found this hub useful. All the best to you in everything.

    • ebrahim3enab profile image

      ebrahim3enab 6 years ago

      very good article , thank you very much

      you can check this link also : )

      whit my best wishes

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 6 years ago from Corona, California

      ebrahim, thank you for your encouraging comments. I will check out your link.

    • Zain 5 years ago

      Good work done but nevertheless still a lot of things missing like examples citation to justify each steps given above.

    • ahostagesituation profile image

      SJR 5 years ago

      I like this hub. When I pointed out my ineptitude at certain aspects of my business, my quasi-spouse-advisor-man pointed out that I don't have to shoot a gun to lead an army. Your points on empowering leadership and well-defined vision stand out to me. If at least the concept of leadership can be inspired in those who don't naturally have it then it's less work for the person making decisions for the company. I want to empower leadership.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 5 years ago from Corona, California

      ahostagesituation, that you for sharing with me. I am glad that you found this hub was helpful to you. I wish all the best to you in everything.

    • akiiki hak 5 years ago

      im atually going to get afirst class degree because of this lovely work

    • Modelnkcheery 5 years ago

      The powerful key to bussiness decision is innovation.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 5 years ago from Corona, California

      Modeinkcheery, Thank you for sharing your comment. innovation is another key to business success or failure, isn't it? The ability to devise new products and services that meet the demnads of consumers will allow an enterprise to maintain a strategic competitive advantage.

    • Amit 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot, Nice Hub

    • KBEvolve profile image

      Kenneth Brown 5 years ago from United States

      I learned a lot from this article. It was a clear and concise list of strong concepts for achieving success.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 5 years ago from Corona, California

      KBEvolve, Thank you for your enocuraging comments. I appreciate them and hope all the best to you.

    • dannyjames 5 years ago

      Mayor Bloomberg has been nominated as Legend of the Month on Legendary Moves:

    • charlane 4 years ago

      thank you so much hub!.... I got alot of info for I was doing an assignment for school purposses!.... Im realy greatful:-)

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 4 years ago from Corona, California

      Charlane, thank you for the encouraging feedback. I am very happy this hub was a help to you.

    • Omeone in Thailand 4 years ago

      I think the key factor is "Intellectual capital management".

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Well written and useful Hub, thank you for sharing the information. Voted up.

    • Martin Peterson 4 years ago

      Attention to detail is also very important, which is why I'm surprised you have 11 reasons and your title is '10 reasons for business success or failure'.

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      All good..I would add action and constantly creating momentum..the ten are good when effectively applied..Practice does not make perfect but well planned practice makes have the planning part down. Thanks

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 4 years ago from Corona, California

      Martin and FSlovenec, Thank you for your positive input. I appreciate it very much.

      Martin, attention to detail is indeed important, thank you for that insight. You can count the 11th point as an add bonus for no extra charge.

      FSlovenec, you are right when you say well-planned practice makes perfect. It is important to do the things that relate specifically to the task or objectives of the organization and say no to good but unnecessary practices. This relates to Jim Collins' hedge hog concept which he highlighted in the best seller Good to Great.

      Thank you both for your helpful insights and encouraging words.

    • jeetendra shrestha(nepal) 2 years ago

      i found impressive definitions about the topic success and failure of business.the points that you have defined are practical definitions and applicable in the current situation of world.i feel something would be better to mention suitable and real examples in it.thank you for providing such impressive article.i am eger to know more about this topic.if it is possible then i will be waiting for other articles in my email.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 2 years ago from Corona, California

      Thank you jeetendra for your wonderful feedback. You are right to point out that the article would be stronger with good examples. I appreciate your comments very much.

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