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Whether it’s the death of the high street or the fact that suddenly those people you used to see at Business Networking Meetings have disappeared and got a “real job” or an “offer they can’t refuse” – it’s safe to say some businesses are not going to last

In fact the shocking stats are more than half of new UK businesses don’t survive beyond five years

These are often business owners with partners and families to support

So is every high street business failing because of rents and rates? Rents and rates are a massive massive undeniable problem, but there are often multiple reasons for a high street business failing

So is every B2B business failing because of government support schemes offering business services for free? Again a massive problem for small businesses launching in the service sector, but you can offer greater value than a free entry level service

What are the 7 Common Reasons Startup Businesses Fail

No-One Knows You Exist

Whatever your overheads (rents & rates / office space / admin expenses) a business will not succeed unless potential customers know you exist … and then spend with you

So many businesses open up doors for business and don’t have a marketing plan in place to attract their very 1st customer

How many times have you seen on Facebook that a local business has closed? And yet you didn’t even realise it had been open for the past 6-12 months and none of your 2-300 friends on Facebook ever mentioned it

How many businesses have you met at networking meetings who talk about their struggle to win new customers? And yet it’s 12 months after launching their business and this is actually their very 1st networking meeting

One of the biggest mistakes start-up businesses make is that they think it’s the customer’s job to find them, rather than the businesses job to market and attract new customers

Whatever your business – attracting and keeping customers should be your number 1 priority for survival and ploughing all your resources of time and money into it

QUESTION: What have you done today to make sure potential customers know you exist?

Inconsistent Service

People like familiarity and a consistent level of service every time they have an exchange with your business

Large businesses and the franchise models are based on systems of expected levels of services and whilst I don’t visit them myself – people visit a Starbucks, McDonalds and so on, not because they’re the best at what they do – but because people know what to expect in whatever branch they walk into in the world

Before you launched your business did you set out and write down your systems and expected level of service and did you communicate this with all members of staff

What will bring customers back time and time again after you’ve got past the “no-one knows you exist” stage, is a consistent level of service and quality

And when customers are happy they’ll tell the world about you

One of the many industries we work with is the restaurant / hospitality sector where service is key and through setting standards the businesses have been able to attract 800+ TripAdvisor Reviews and so many word of mouth / social media recommendations

QUESTION: Do your customers have the same high level of service every time they walk through the door / communicate with you?

Inconsistent Opening Hours

In a world where many products and services can be bought online, small businesses need to make it as easy as possible for customers to spend money with you

People like to shop local wherever possible and only shop online due to the convenience and restrictions placed on them due to work hours

What happens when a person goes out of their way to shop local and then find the business isn’t open as advertised / expected is that often that customer is lost forever. They won’t spend another lunch hour or finish early at work again to spend with your business. And yes they will spend with one of your competitors

How many local businesses do you know that have inconsistent opening hours? How often have you spent elsewhere because of this?

QUESTION: If you’re a small business what emergency plans do you have if you / your staff can’t be present that day?

Impossible To Contact

Its 2015 so I’m presuming most businesses reading this have a website – although I know a few won’t so if you need the numbers of any local web designers just email me on


The moment I go on a website contact page – and you only have a contact form and no phone number / email address I know I will never hear from that business again

The moment I go onto a website contact page – and you’re asking me to write to you (rather than email) I know I will never hear from that business again

If you want to succeed in business make it as easy as possible for people to contact you and include telephone numbers and email addresses where possible

You’ll notice at the bottom of each blog on this website I mention our contact details or link through to our contact page to make it easy for businesses to contact us

I talked about businesses using email as a barrier in this blog here in 2011 – – it still applies in 2015

QUESTION: How easy is it for somebody to contact you? Where are your phone numbers, emails, social media profiles on your website?

No Market For It

The reality may be that there is no market for your business

Our industry of Social Media Marketing only exists because of the success of the smart phone – there was still a market for building a business online before social media using websites, message boards and forums, but smart phones made the rise of social media so much easier

Similarly many traditional businesses are struggling to survive as people move on

And then there is local competition and saturation point

Many businesses open because they’re passionate about what they do – but they do so without looking if there actually is a market for their business

QUESTION: Are there enough potential customers out there for your business idea? And how much competition is there?


What makes your business unique?
What makes your business exceptional?
What makes your business better?

You need to be able to answer these questions if you are to survive and your marketing needs to reflect that

You need to tell stories that make your stand out from the competition, you need to have testimonials and brand advocates that love your business

And you need to add more value than the competition

QUESTION: Ask your customers why they choose your business over others

Poor Cash Flow

Tony Robinson OBE always tweets “About to start your biz? Ask for help from a biz owner. Test trade first (pref whilst in a job). Bootstrap don’t borrow: Enjoy a passion”

Running a business is hard – if it was easy everybody would run one

Your 1st customer will take longer to find than you first thought
You will have less customers initially than you projected
Your initial expenses will be higher than expected
Customers will pay later than expected

And your financial plan should reflect all of this

Importantly market from the moment you launch your business to attract those very early customers. 6 months later when you have 6 month’s worth of wages, rent and rates bills, more expenses and few customers you’ll wonder why you didn’t market your business on “launch”

QUESTION: What local businesses are there that could support me and help grow my business? Do you have a local business support network?

At Altrincham HQ we specialise in growing businesses via effective Social Media Marketing

100s of successful businesses have chosen Altrincham to help build their brand

We also have a strong network of businesses to help grow all areas of your business from HR to financials to IT and Design

If you want a chat call Alex on 07806774279 or email

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Alex McCann

Author Alex McCann

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