Show up. Communicate. Do the work.

I don’t like to go on too many rants, but this recurring issue has been boiling under the surface for me for a few months now.

What is the issue? Trying to give people money for the thing they started a business doing.

Some statistics say 9/10 new business owners fail within their first year. Others say it’s 75% failure within the first 6 months*. I used to believe that it was a culmination of factors that contributed to those failure numbers, but I believe it’s actually one simple thing:

Not showing up and doing the thing you set out to do.

Let me give you 3 specific examples…

1. I have a custom wood project I want to get done. I’ve reached out to, and this is not an exaggeration, 14 companies. Not a single one of them has been good at communication. The worst part? I have a sizable budget for this project (over $10,000) and want to give that money to someone for the work they say they do for a living.

Note: I wrote a breakdown of the conversations with the 14 companies in a response below.

2. We joined a local gym and were told that they do meal prep (something we’ve been subscribing to for a year now). I shared the exact amount of meals we were paying for, how much we were paying, and that we’d love to move to a local company (them!). That was 4 weeks ago, I’ve followed up 3 times, and now I’m giving up. This same gym is always empty, always trying to run specials/deals to attract customers, the owner is never there, and they wonder why people aren’t showing up to pay them money?

3. Teachery, the online course platform I co-own, is growing and we want to do some UI design updates. I reached out to 6 different designers and 3 of them booked times to chat on Skype and didn’t show up. Two other designers wrote one email back and then haven’t responded since. And I’m in talks with the last candidate and hoping he will surprise me and accept money for the thing he charges people for (unfortunately it takes a week to get an email reply from him).

The point of all this?

Business owners aren’t failing because there is too much competition. Business owners aren’t failing because people can get the work cheaper elsewhere.

Business owners are failing because they don’t show up. They don’t communicate effectively. They don’t do the thing they set out to do.

Show up. Communicate. Do the work.


*Notation: Thanks to Mr. Mike Merrill for a link to this article which states 50% of business make it to their fifth year of business.