Time & Money

Why Small Businesses Fail (and how yours can succeed)

TThey say 90% of small businesses fail in the first year. What they don’t take into account is that most “businesses” aren’t business, they are delusions of business.

How many times have you heard someone talk about a “ceramics” business, a “fashion” business, some MLM scheme or some internet get rich quick business?These types of delusions aren’t businesses, never could be businesses, and they are typically abandoned when the “business owner” comes to reality.

A perfect example….

There is a very clever television show called Arrested Development. The show is about a dysfunctional family and in that family only one man is responsible and the rest are deadbeats.In one episode, the man who is responsible tries to talk his sister out of starting a “bead business” because all of her other businesses have failed.

The man’s brother overhears this conversation and wants to prove that he can start a better business than his sister, but he has misheard her and thinks she is starting a “bee business”, never mind the fact that bees aren’t business.The sister forgets about her “bead business” after a day, realizing it was a dumb idea. But the brother hangs on to his bee business idea and carries around a jar of bees for the rest of the episode.

At one point the man’s father asks him how he’s going to make money and he dumbly replies “I don’t know…honey…or maybe just as gifts“. His mom replies, “Who’d want a bee as a gift?“. Nobody, of course.

The “bee business” is over the top satire, but a perfect example of the type of dumb nonsense people start and call it a business.

SO! To make sure the Gentleman Wolves in the B & Do’sphere don’t start dumb “bee businesses” hoping to get rich, here are 3 helpful tips to remember when starting a business….

1) A business isn’t no business unless it sells something

A business is a two-part transaction. People have to buy what you are selling. You have to have something people want. They give you something you want ($$$) in return for the item they want.

A perfect example of a fake business is the notorious Internet business. Most Internet businesses aren’t businesses, they “want to be” businesses but they aren’t there yet. Most of them haven’t figured out the missing piece.

A blog isn’t a business unless it sells something or makes money via advertising or affiliate marketing. Until it makes money, it’s just a blog. If it doesn’t make money it isn’t a business, it’s a hobby.

You have to sell something to be a business and what you sell has to be something people want or need.

If all you have is a pocket full of bees then your “business” is a stinker and it’s time to throw it in the trash.


2) It takes time to build something valuable

Somebody recently emailed me asking if working 10-15 hours per week online is sufficient to make 3 grand per month within 6 months. Don’t make me laugh.

It takes ALL OF YOUR TIME to start something that makes money. It can be maintained on 10-15 hours per week (maybe!), but giving yourself 10-15 hours per week will build you one thing: one of those 90% businesses that fail in the first year.

You’ve heard these guys talking about “How I made $XX, 000 in 12 minutes and you can do it too!” but did you ever notice they are selling you something?

Those guys are in the business of “biz-op”, that means they are selling you business opportunities. Their job is to sell to you, the easier they make it sound the more money goes into their bank account.

You’ll make more money by being one of those guys (the market is huge) than you will by following their products but you can bet those guys work a whole lot more than 10-15 hours per week.

3) Don’t put the cart before the horse (content vs. SEO & social media)

SEO (search engine optimization) is the act of manipulating Google’s algorithms to get a website to the top of the search results for any given keyword. But, woops, Google isn’t stupid and they know what’s going on. Every so often Google releases an “update” that wipes out worthless websites that got to the top of the rankings not by being the best, but by using SEO voodoo.

The problem with these websites is not that they use SEO, it’s that they don’t provide good content. When the Google updates hit these guys scramble to find new ways to get back into the top spot in a never-ending battle. One thing they never seem think about doing is making good websites in the first place. But you’ll hear these guys going on and on about SEO and the word spreads…

People email me all the time, before they even have a website or a product, to ask me about their SEO and social media strategy. All the SEO and all the social media in the world means Useless if you don’t already have a product or an audience. Bold and Determined has an audience, so when I say you can check us out on Facebook and Twitter people will go there and want to follow. If you don’t have an audience nobody cares about your social networking sites.

You don’t build an audience with SEO or social media, you build an audience by having a good product. You keep in contact with your already formed audience with social media and maybe you reach more people with some SEO manipulation but you don’t! Build a business with SEO or social media. You’ve got to build from the ground up. SEO cannot be the foundation of a successful web business (unless you’re selling SEO services to people who don’t know better).

Years and years ago I met a guy who I didn’t think much of. He was part of the group I was with so I humored him and got his story. Here was his story: Fat, mid 30’s, unemployed, living in his mom’s attic. But things were really looking up for him because he was able to get his harmonica website into the top 5 search results on Google for some random harmonica keyword.

He left the realm of sanity and reality to tell me he was going to make a killing because his brand new harmonica website, which sold nothing and provided no value and was just some point and click template website, was in the top 5 on Google. I laughed in his face. I didn’t know anything about Internet business at the time but I knew his “business” was a stinker. And it was, it’s long gone now.

All the SEO baloney websites go bye bye when their time is up. Friendster, MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter will all go the way of the dodo-bird. If you’ve based your “business” around them you might want to re-assess ’cause that colony is going to collapse.

You really want to make money online?

Here’s the really simple, real truth…


You CAN make money online. You do it by providing something of value or solving a problem. You put in the time and the effort and fill a need or solve a problem and you directly control your own product.

You CAN’T do it by half-assing it and it won’t happen overnight. You don’t do it by doing some SEO voodoo; by doing some “internet hustle” and you don’t do it by setting up a facebook page.

Some people do manage to make money doing this type of internet hustle trickery, but a) they’ll try 30 different things before one of them makes money and b) the money runs out after a week or a month and they have to start all over.

For these guys it’s a never-ending journey to find the next hustle where they can make a fast buck. By the time they finally make a buck the bee business collapses. Round n’ round they go.

Big mystery why these businesses fail.

But now you know the truth. When these guys try to sell you on SEO and social media strategy just laugh in their faces and then build something real. Soon they’ll be asking you dumb questions like “How do you do it? I don’t understand? You don’t use any SEO and you don’t use social media?? I just don’t get it?

Victor Pride


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