65% of Businesses Fail Within 5 years. Here Are Your Adjustments to Fail-Proof Your Business, Without Losing Control, Your Sleep or Your Sanity in The Process.

You may have seen these stats before and confidently ignored them because you’re not the 65% that fail, you’re better than that and like car crashes, this sort of thing only happens to others. Guess what, the 65% of businesses that failed within 5 years probably had the very same thoughts or versions thereof.

So what gives? Why do we turn a blind eye to stats and history and double down on hard work, grit and just “getting it done”? The reason you’re doing well and are into year 3,4,5 perhaps 6 most likely has a lot to do with the fact that you started out with an idea and were willing to do whatever it took to launch that idea into a commercially viable entity, i.e. a business. Doing whatever it takes is another way of saying being resourceful, hustle, and most importantly learning.

Whoever learns the fastest sticks around the longest, especially in business. When did you stop learning because you got comfy and had it all figured out?

My guess is it probably happened somewhere between succeeding and taking home more money to the family and hitting a ceiling in your growth. Then, during one of your 2am “brain storming sessions” with yourself (aka insomnia), reality hit you: You don’t know it all so you can’t have it all….of course “it” being the reason you started this business to begin with.

Let’s review some of those reasons you started your business: freedom, independence, more income, flexibility, be your own boss, lead others, helping your customers, providing for your spouse and kids, securing your family’s future, financial freedom, work from anywhere, not answer to anyone but yourself……and the list goes on.

Now you’re faced with a reality that looks something like this: the very reason you started this company no longer holds true, in other words you wanted to be free, sovereign and call your own shots and now this beast called your business has you trapped. As your income went up so did the dependency of your family on your income. Expenses went up and standard of living went up. You can’t slow down, can’t scale back and find yourself working longer hours and spending less time with the ones you love and for whom you provide. You’re feeling stuck and far away from the ideals and initial experience of charting your own destiny. The good news is there’s a way out and the less feel-good news is that they way out of it is through it.

One of my private coaching clients is the CEO of a $68,000,000 company that he co-founded 27 years ago, and he taught me something very brilliant and simple. When I inquired how a certain meeting went with his leadership team, he said that he asked them to explore a possibility that is within their core competence but out of their comfort zone.

When did you stop learning and exploring things outside your comfort zone but well within your core competency? It sounds great and borderline poetic, well at least worthy of social media meme that gets some love along the way. What does it mean to go out of your comfort zone yet within your core competency?

My $0.02 on this has to do with why most companies fail within 5 years. I certainly experienced it myself with one of my companies when we were 4.5 years into it and I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel and look for greener pastures.

Core competency means the thing you’re great at, the zone of genius and that gift that others recognize in you and value. It is also the cornerstone upon which you built your business. I am reminded of the E-Myth by Michael Gerber that talks about the three business owner types.

The entrepreneur holds the big vision, raises awareness, pitches the idea, sells the concept, keeps the train going. Think Steve Jobs of Apple.

The technician is the inventor that builds the product or service and is great at making improvements and thinking about future specs and features. Think Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.

The manager makes the best use of time, resources and talent to bring the product to market in a way that aligns with the vision and delivers on product promises. Think Tim Cook, current CEO of Apple and used to be COO, in charge of operations.

Relying on your competency when starting a business makes good sense and it is the fastest launch to market. Growing a business that way can become tricky and troublesome if your core competency is not what is needed in your growth spurt. That moment you realize you no longer have all the answers and need people that are smarter than you in many areas is humbling to say the least. It is the moment you need to let go and grow yet fear of change and fear of losing control prevents most business owners from letting go. What should you do then?

Wayne Dyer said it beautifully “change the way you look at things and the things you look at change”. Start by changing the way you see yourself. You are the steward if your company vision, mission, core values and goals. You are in charge of Purpose. Period. At this point in the game, you’ve gotten enough traction to prove the concept to the tune of say $500,000 — $800,000 in annual revenues and you’re looking to break that 7-figure ceiling and rocket launch your company into $1,000,000+ without feeling it is a moon-shot. It is time for you to re-iterate why you got into this business from day one and have an obsessive focus on your clients and their needs. Help your customers and dominate your market or someone else will. This is not about you any longer….you’re not that interesting 😉

This is about the good you set out to do by solving a problem in the market place for an audience you connect with for whatever reason. This is about firing up your inner furnace where golden opportunities are forged along the road to helping more customers.

Lastly, let me leave you on this note: What if you could let go and grow? What good could come out of that for you, your family, your team?

What grander purpose and vision awaits beyond the threshold upon which you balance what is and what could be?

Connect with that, plot course for that noble destination and watch how things change because you change the way you look them.

The all too familiar moment most business owners face by year 5

Originally published at https://blog.oshergroup.com.

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