The Ugly Truth: Two Untold Reasons for Business Failures

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A lot has been said about failed businesses in Nigeria. The blame is mostly put on the tough and unfriendly environment that businesses operate in. Without trying to make slight of these challenges, they cannot and should not be held completely responsible for the failure of businesses. Also, considering the fact that many other business are succeeding in the operating environment, there is a need for more introspection in investigating the cause of business failures.

With this understanding, we can explore the possibility of an entrepreneur being the reason for the failure, after all he is the captain of the ship. There are certain things the entrepreneur might consciously or unconsciously be doing that result in the failure of the business. Here are two of them:

Ignorance is a crippling factor that affects a lot of entrepreneurs. Successful businesses are so because they are run on timeless and sound principles. Ignorance is sometimes fueled by a ‘know-it-all attitude’. Entrepreneurs need to understand that industries are constantly in a flux and even though there are timeless principles that guide business operations, the application of these principles are timed. Entrepreneurs must therefore be willing to accept change.

Pride also contributes to business fatality. Entrepreneurial success sometimes leads to a feeling of invincibility where entrepreneurs think they can never go wrong. However, this is quite misplaced and some of the biggest corporate failures, from Enron to Lehman Brothers can be traced to this feeling of ‘we are too big to do wrong”. Entrepreneurs need to understand that with businesses, every day comes with its peculiar challenges. The victories of the past can pale into irrelevance if today’s questions are left unanswered.

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