Catching up on some posts here, a piece from an early January issue of the NY Times (“How Six Companies Failed to Survive 2010,” by Eileen Zimmerman, NY Times, Jan. 5, 2011) in which six business are profiled that failed in 2010 is notable for the to-the-point candor exhibited by the subject entrepreneurs. Hearing explanations for why their businesses failed directly from the people that ran them is akin to the clarity that comes from viewing a picture in place of the proverbial thousand words. The businesses range from a web-based personal finance portal to a gourmet baby food company and their problems range from inadequate financing to unexpectedly intense competition. Very useful reading on pitfalls to avoid.
A useful adjunct to the above piece is the related NY Times “You’re The Boss” blog post by Jay Goltz from the same date entitled “Top 10 Reasons Small Businesses Fail.” Goltz’s list applies equally to larger businesses and includes the “math not working”, owners who can’t get out of their way, and out of control growth. The reader comments are also good stuff.