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?