The Road to Failure: Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

By Brady Whitesel on February 18, 2023

Small businesses face many of the same challenges as larger corporations and they often fail for the same reasons with the only difference being the scale and complexity of the failure.  The most common reasons why a small business fail include:

  1. Lack of capital / Lack of Liquidity: Many small businesses struggle to raise enough capital to cover their expenses and invest in their growth. This can lead to cash flow problems and make it difficult for the business to pay its bills and stay afloat.
  2. Poor cash flow management: Cash flow problems are common for small businesses, especially those that are just starting out. Improper management of cash flow can lead to missed payments, default on loans, and ultimately, business failure.  Learn more about 13-week cash flow forecasting.
  3. Lack of operational planning: Without a clear business plan and strategy, it can be difficult for small businesses to stay on track and achieve their goals.  Learn more about financial modeling.
  4. Debt / Leverage: Many businesses are often highly leveraged. With high levels of debt those businesses become exceptionally vulnerable to economic downturns and market fluctuations.
  5. Insufficient market research: Many startup business owners don’t take the time to fully understand their target market, competition, and industry trends, which can result in poor product positioning and inadequate marketing strategies.
  6. Ineffective marketing: Many entrepreneurs often have limited marketing budgets, which can make it difficult for them to reach and connect with their target audience. 
  7. Competition: Small businesses often face intense competition from larger, more established companies, which can make it difficult for them to compete on price and product offerings.
  8. Economic downturns: Changes in the economy, such as recessions or other economic disruptions, can have a significant impact on small businesses, making it difficult for them to survive.

To increase the probability of success, it is important for business owners to be well-prepared and have a solid understanding of the risks and challenges they will face.  A Fractional CFO is a fantastic resource to a business owner who can pragmatically listen to ideas and business strategies and contemplate how those ideas might help or hurt the long-term direction of a company.

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