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The #1 Reason Businesses Fail

The #1 Reason Businesses Fail

by Brad MerrillDecember 10, 2014

The scary thing about starting a business is that the odds are stacked against you. Most businesses fail, and this happens for a variety of reasons. But in my experience, most of those reasons boil down to a single, more important factor:

Most people don’t want it bad enough.

Most wannabe entrepreneurs think they want to start a business, but in reality they only want to have started a business. They want to wake up and find themselves at the end of the journey where everything is finally paying off, but they don’t want any part of the journey itself.

On a related note, 81 percent of Americans think they have a book in them. Do 81 percent of Americans actually write books? Of course not. That’s because most of them don’t really want to write a book—they just want to have written a book. Having the title of “author” attached to your name is a lot sexier than locking yourself in a room for hours on end, writing and rewriting tirelessly until you have something that doesn’t suck. But that’s what you have to do to earn that title.

The same applies to starting a business. If you’re not willing to put in the work, you will fail.

Everyone likes to look at the finished product—the Facebooks and Zuckerbergs of the world—but there’s a long road of hard work and uncertainty before any entrepreneur reaches that point.

SEE ALSO: Entrepreneurship Uncensored: What It’s Really Like To Be An Entrepreneur

When people tell me they’re not seeing the results they’d like, a few questions come to mind.

How Much TV Did You Watch Last Night?

I don’t have a problem with TV or video games. I love that stuff as a way to relax and escape. But in the early days of building a business, it has no place in an entrepreneur’s life.

Do you want to be successful, or do you want to watch TV?

Have You Been Working Weekends?

If you tell me you’re dissatisfied with your life and then spend your weekends doing nothing about it, I’ll have no sympathy when you fail. The weekend is a 48-hour chunk of time that can help you build your dream. Why wouldn’t you use it?

Don’t get me wrong here—I think it’s extremely important to have time for yourself and your family. But if you want to accomplish something substantial, you need to use your hours accordingly and earn your free time.

How Focused Are You?

The most successful people in the world are laser-focused on their goals, doing everything in their power to reach them. Don’t waste energy on things that don’t matter. Find a strategy to move the ball down the field, and execute that strategy.

Is Success Your #1 Priority?

Failure should not be an option. Do you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe?

The Bottom Line: You Have To Want It

Look, I understand that bad ideas happen, funding can be an issue, etc. But the greatest dangers to a startup’s success lie in the founder’s hustle and grit—their willingness to work their ass off and squeeze every last drop of their energy into the business. If you don’t want it bad enough—if you’re not hungry enough—you’re only setting yourself up to fail.

About The Author
Brad Merrill
Brad Merrill is the founder and former editor of VentureBreak.