Let’s Start a Business…Maybe We’ll Make Money

Has anyone ever considered how the product life cycle would apply to a business?  I am not referring to the product of a business but simply the business; the “business life cycle.”  The business life cycle follows the same path as a product life cycle starting with its introduction, followed by its growth and maturity, and finally the decline.  How would it feel to start a business and never make it past the introduction phase?

In the last month, a group of successful entrepreneurs got together to talk about the issues that came up while starting their businesses.  There were a few conclusive points that don’t really get mentioned too often in the news.  The common themes were the constant shadow of failure, and how failure can effect founders later.  The start up of a business is very pricey and can take quite the toll on your financial position at first.  The obvious goal is that the money you invest into your start up will at some point return back to you at a profit.  How would you feel to have the constant thought that your business may not make it?  After all the time, money, and energy that you put into trying to make a company successful only to find out a few years later that the only thing that came out of it was a pile of expenses and a bad reputation for yourself as a leader.

This was never something I thought about too deeply but these are the problems that founders deal with all the time.  Many people have dreams to start their own businesses, but how many have thought about the emotional side that comes along with the start up   You are constantly haunted of failure inside but need to keep a hard shell and show your confidence on the outside.  It’s particular hard for the founder as they have no escape route.  Employees can always quit and find a new job, but a founder quitting before seeing the company mature means failure; failure that will follow you forever.

Who do you go to for help when everything starts heading down hill?  “When people at your company go to lunch, they have a common theme — they can complain about management. But you are management. You can’t go to lunch and complain to anyone” (Forbes).   At this point it seems that pending failure is unavoidable.  As a founder, what do you do?  It seems that you have three main options: throw in the towel and accept defeat, change your business strategy and hope your new one is better, or wish for the best.

Has anyone ever wanted to start a business? If so, how much thought did you put in to the possibility of failure or was it simply never a possibility?

If you never had the desire to start your own business, what do you do when failure is inevitable?





3 thoughts on “Let’s Start a Business…Maybe We’ll Make Money

  1. Great article, since we just discussed the business cycle in class. I have never started a business, but after putting in so much blood, sweat, and tears it would be hard to give up on your own business. I do think that you must separate your emotions and personal attachments from educated and sound decisions. At the end of the day there comes a time when you must know when to cut your losses and walk away. On the other hand in order to achieve success you may need to persevere through tough times.

  2. I think this is a great topic to discuss, because in class we only have talked about product life cycles and how the product that a company produces goes through certain stages. It’s interesting to apply this to the business life cycle because it is very similar, except for the fact that if a product fails there are ways to recuperate from that, but if a company fails, there is not a high rebound rate.

    I do not have my own personal business, but I work alongside two fellow entrepreneurs who have startups and are looking to develop other new businesses. I work with them to bounce ideas off each other and am more of a consultant for them. Obviously their stake in the game is much more than mine, because I haven’t put any money in to it — yet. Regardless, the idea of failure is important to think about, but not for the reasons to be afraid to fail. I think failure teaches many lessons. Moreover, I think it is important to think about failure in a company for the reasons that you will target aspects of your business that could lead you to fail and then fix them. By doing this, the rate of failure may decrease because you have addressed areas that could lead your company to decline rapidly, and instead of ignoring or being afraid of that, you address it and use it to further your company. That is the mindset I have as a consultant with these startups – to address possibilities of weakness to further develop the idea we are looking to implement.

    To say failure is never a possibility is naive. Every company needs the perfect about of skill, money, enforcement, and luck. There can be a really good idea out there, but if it isn’t implemented at the right time, it may fail rather than succeed if the product/business was implemented at another time/place.

    As the post above me mentions, it would be hard to give up on your own business. Having the emotional attachment can be both a pro and con. Pro for the reason that you will work that much harder to make your company succeed, but a con for the reason that the personal attachment might block some objective decision making that is necessary to have.

    To succeed, you have to follow your dreams and along that road there will be obstacles, but that is what develops a good idea into a great company – Steve Jobs and his early career story is a prime example of that.

  3. One of the biggest issues with companies is that some do not know the difference between a company and a product. Just because someone can create and patent and new product does not mean that they are a company unless they are capable of producing more products down the line. I believe starting a business is very complex, however many people are successful with their first start up. I think resiliency is a huge characteristic of any person trying to start a business. They have to understand that they can fail at any moment and that their entire investment can backfire. It is a huge risk, however that risk can turn golden if successful.

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