“OK, Google…Why Do Most Startups Fail?”

Actually, never mind. Let’s Ask My 5-YEAR-OLD Niece for Help Instead…

Ask Google “why do startups fail” and you’ll see Eleventy-Sleven Bazillion similar results…

Never Finding Product-Market Fit? Not Having the Right Team? Running Out of Money? Those are a few big ones often cited via entrepreneur blogs, podcasts, and those click-bait listicles (“Top “X” Reasons Why Startups Fail?”)…

And, in most cases, they’re NOT WRONG. But part of what I’ve become fascinated by in recent years is “what are the reasons FOR the reasons…? and what are the reasons behind THOSE reasons…?”


For starters, I think most people have a very skewed perception of just HOW MANY startups/entrepreneurs are failing…

And that makes complete sense if you think about it… because Startups tend to succeed loudly/publicly and tend to fail silently/privately — particularly Early Stage / Idea Stage.

[QUESTION: Can you really name 99 failed entrepreneurs for every 1 successful entrepreneur? Of course not. Afterall, which makes for a better feature story in Forbes? (Spoiler Alert: More people are interested in hearing about what happens on Richard Branson’s private island than are interested in hearing about what happens in Anthony P. Grimpleman’s childhood bedroom that his parents let him move back into at the age of 31 after losing a multi-year battle with a failed startup that left him broke, depressed, and homeless.)]

Think about it — every successful startup will go on to have hundreds or thousands of employees… each of those employees has family and friends that are hearing about the success of the startup, the cool company outings, etc. Many of those successful startups will be written up in Forbes or Inc or Entrepreneur (or local stuff like the Atlanta Business Chronicle) and/or their founders will be speaking at conferences or as a podcast guest or… the point is, that THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people hear about the success stories of the 1%. While the (failing) founders from the 2-person, 3-person, 5-person startups will each generally confide in a few of their closest friends — about the problems, the struggles, the failure, the depression, etc.

*** I also don’t think people drill down deep enough when discussing WHY so many startups fail… and what the most common causes are — on both a micro- and macro-level. For some reason, I have become fascinated by this topic!

I could try to sound super-smart by telling you “I’ve spent years doing a complex, multi-variable, scientific analysis of root catalysts for… blah blah blah…” [wtf?!]
But, no; I actually took the exact opposite approach. I did the “But, WHY?” routine that my inquisitive 5-year-old niece taught me. And, honestly, it’s pretty damn effective!

[EXAMPLE]

Mostly inside my own head (so as not to be the most annoying person on the planet to everyone I interact with), I estimate that I have asked “But… WHY???” approximately 50,000 TIMES in the last 10 years!

Obviously there are MANY reasons why Startups fail — and many underlying reasons for those reasons! Below are the ones that we plan to specifically address via our ReThinkingStartups.com “Starter Startups” Movement…

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