Why Do So Many Small Businesses Fail? And It’s Not Why You Think!

Guest blog by Claire Thomas, Owner of Reaching My Best 

I could start this blog post with a load of stats about how many small businesses fail but I’m sure you don’t need the stats any more than I do to know that is the case.

It’s tough starting a business. There are so many different things to consider. Generally, the business that we are setting up is based on a skillset, interest or passion that we have.

We start our business with an abundance of enthusiasm and then at some point, not too much later, the reality hits.

I’m speaking from experience here. I am running my second business. My first was an interior design practice that I started with a friend. We kept it going for 7 years. We had fun. We had tears. We made money. We lost money. The stress was always there. My work-life boundaries were appalling. It took me at least half of those years to have the courage to say that I couldn’t do it any more…

So this time around I thought that it would be easier. I assumed that all the knowledge that I had picked up last time would have me up and running much quicker.  I knew how to do all the admin. I knew how to go about getting a website built. But then I started hearing about social media, SEO, keywords, hashtags… I knew they were all important. I have a love for learning new things, so I looked into all of them. Days passed setting up accounts, researching keywords and buying books to learn more. I disappeared down so many rabbit holes and the weeks passed. I printed business cards and flyers. I set up my website.

And then I noticed something. I was AVOIDING. I was PROCRASTINATING. I was ignoring the real issue.  My site was live, but how was anyone going to find me? How were people going to know what I had to offer? Why would they choose me over others?

I was avoiding what I feared the most. SELLING.

I have a strong aversion to pushy sales. I like to make my own choices. The reality was, that to have a business I had to SELL. And it terrified me. It wasn’t just that I didn’t know how to do it. It was more than that. It was manifesting itself daily, as the avoidance, the procrastination, the “fake” busy-ness. I was pretty sure that I would do anything to avoid selling.

It was only when I received some coaching myself that I realised there was more to it than that.

On the surface, I was avoiding. But that was driven by fear; a fear of failing, a fear of how I would be perceived by others, a fear of getting it wrong. And when I looked at what was driving that fear, I saw that it was a belief that I had about myself. A belief that I WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH. And it was this limiting belief that was “protecting” me. Making sure that I didn’t do anything that would “prove to myself” that I wasn’t good enough.

We all have beliefs about ourselves that limit us. Beliefs that we have developed over our lifetime to protect us, to keep us safe; a primitive survival instinct. It’s completely normal to have these beliefs. And you don’t have to have had a difficult or traumatic childhood to have them either.

The secret to success is that until you uncover what your limiting beliefs are, they will keep holding you back. They are ingrained into your neural pathways. Your behaviours are unconsciously programmed to protect you. The key is to identify your limiting beliefs and then rewire your brain, thanks to its amazing neuroplasticity, to respond in a different way. It takes time. 21 days is the regularly quoted number of days to embed, or kick, a habit. Leading neuroscientists now say that in 21 days your awareness of a behaviour grows but it takes more like 63 days to rewire your brain to a new behaviour.

So every day I remind myself what I am; I AM good enough. I AM successful. I AM amazing.

What are you?

I help my clients uncover their limiting beliefs. I give them the tools to rewire their thinking and provide them with non-judgemental accountability to make sure that changes are made. And this is the key to a successful business!

Fancy a chat about this article then book a no-strings call (remember I don’t like pushy sales!) here.

Claire Thomas

Claire’s Bio

After years of being all things to all people, saying Yes, feeling disempowered and unfulfilled, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and started my company, Reaching My Best. Drawing on my experience it’s my mission to help reawaken women to their power so they can reach the best version of themselves, feel fulfilled and keep everyone, including themselves happy. I draw on coaching, mentoring and mindfulness techniques to help my clients reawaken their power.

Claire and her husband Hamish have two daughters, Ruby and Isla. When she’s not working she enjoys re-upholstering chairs, learning new creative skills and listening to books and podcasts while she walks her dog Watson.

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