Why you shouldn’t GAS about how many businesses fail

Don’t believe everything you read, especially on the internet. If you were to Google “how many small businesses fail?” you’d get a whole range of answers:

Cartoon girl lying face down on the floor.

We all have days when we’re overwhelmed. That’s okay. Aim for awesome not perfection.

  • 80% die in the first 18 months (Bloomberg)
  • 96% fail within 10 years (Inc.com)
  • 66% will survive their first 2 years (Small Business Administration)
  • 50% fail in the first year of business (also the SBA)

There are, as they say, “lies, damned lies, and statistics”. I wouldn’t be surprised if people just make this shit up (and my buddy Mark, who’s an accountant, reckons most of these figures are nonsense).

Do you know what, though? I don’t care how many small businesses crash and burn. Who cares about the numbers?

I care about my business. About my clients’ and Superheroes’ businesses. About your business — and that’s all you should care about too. That’s why I’m writing these emails, yo.

This obsession with stats is ridiculous. Stop looking around at what everyone else is doing, and consider this instead: there are two main reasons why businesses of any kind fail.

  1. They don’t market and advertise. Most new business owners do everything but marketing and advertising, using the excuse, “I can’t afford it.” Well, it’s the only thing that’s going to bring in customers to that new business of yours.
  2. If they are marketing, they’re not doing it effectively. It’s really easy to spend loads of money on marketing and get nothing if you’re spending it on the wrong stuff.

There are other reasons businesses might fail, too, of course; but most of those are extreme circumstances. The main reasons are lack of marketing and advertising, or crappy marketing and advertising.

What I’m really saying, here, is most of the businesses that fail don’t have to. They had it in their power – as do you – to make their business a thundering success. You know what? If my business ever fails, it’ll be entirely my fault – which is why I’ve invested so much time and money into learning how to do it. How to write persuasively. How people’s brains work. What marketing strategies work, and which ones to avoid.

Otherwise, I may as well just join a Fakebook group hug circle jerk and post “motivational memes” and say stuff like, “Oh gosh, I wish I had more clients. Running a business is hard.” (Damn tootin’ it is, at first.) Or, “I wish I could take a holiday, but there’s no way I can take the time off”.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a business that works for me… isn’t that the whole point?

You don’t have to do anything massive. This isn’t about massive changes. It’s about doing small stuff consistently. Getting into the habit of doing stuff that works. All stuff I talk about in my Inner Circle and something I’m going into great detail about in February’s newsletter. To subscribe before it goes to the printer in 10 days or so go here:




Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.

PS By the way, I don’t think anyone ever gets it all sorted once and for all. We all have days when we’re overwhelmed. Like the past two weeks for me. But do you know what happens then? I learn from it, and change it up so the next mistakes I make are entirely new and exciting. Don’t aim for perfection, it doesn’t exist. Aim for awesome instead.


0 comments… add one

Leave a Comment