Business Small Business Survival

Americans have the entrepreneurial spirit and it is contagious. A March 2005 Gallup poll showed that 57 percent of citizens would prefer to start their own businesses, and, in fact, each year more than half a million new businesses open their doors. These owners start out as optimists, betting some or all of their financial resources and committing many hours of their time to their fledgling companies with the belief that they will succeed. Today, there are an estimated 45 million small businesses and self-employed individuals nationwide.

Unfortunately, despite the highest hopes and the best of intentions, almost as many businesses fold each year as those that start up. Poor sales, natural disasters, and mounting debt are some of the key reasons why nearly 50,000 firms go out of business each month and why 18,000 each month go bankrupt.

So what makes some companies succeed while others fail? It’s a given that things will happen: Your key salesperson goes to your competitor; your bank changes its lending policies, leaving you out in the cold; or a flood damages your inventory. It’s how you deal with these and other events that makes the difference between staying afloat and going under

You need a lot of different things to make your business work. First and foremost, you need the right attitude to run your business effectively. As a business owner, you’re forced to wear many different hats. Not only do you have to handle the core of your business—consulting, medicine, construction, retailing, or whatever type of business you’re in—you also have to oversee the company’s finances, personnel, marketing, purchasing, and many other tasks. In effect, you must learn how to wear all your different hats well.

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