Business Management

80 Percent of New Businesses Fail. Here’s How to Beat the Odds.

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Business Management, Personal Finance, Real Estate Investing Basics
62 Articles Written

I have seen a lot of posts about Grant Cardone after his great podcast. Some of the discussion has been about how inspiring he was, and some of the discussion has been about how unrealistic his model is for most people. He has made a lot of money from businesses he started, and he used that money to buy real estate. It is easy for me to see who the people are that will be super successful in life, and those who may struggle based on their reaction to the podcast.

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

Grant Did Not Start Out With a Silver Spoon

If you listened to the podcast from the beginning, you will see that Grant started out without much money, racked up tons of debt going to college and then could not find a job after college. He was not handed a business by his father, he did not win the lottery, he is not a genius; he is a regular guy who decided he wanted more from life than struggling to make ends meet. Yet there was a recent blog post about why Grant’s story is not applicable to most people because they don’t have a business that makes a lot of money.

Grant decided that he wanted to make things happen in his life; he was not going to let his circumstances stop him from making it. For those who think they can’t start a business or they do not have what it takes: you will probably never succeed because you don’t believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, you most likely won’t ever try or if you do try, you will give up as soon as you meet any difficulty.

Don’t Think You Have the Skills or Smarts to Start a Business?

The most common thing I hear from people who are scared to start a business or think they cannot succeed is I am not smart enough or I don’t have the skills. Many people who started successful businesses did not have incredible skills, or even a great education!

  • Richard Branson: Dropped out of school at the age of 16 to start his first business venture. He is now a billionaire.
  • Henry Ford: At 16 he went to work as a machinist in Detroit with almost no education. He then became one of the richest men to ever live.
  • Walt Disney: He dropped out of school at 16 to pursue his dreams of animation. We all know how that turned out.
  • Ray Kroc: Started serving in WWI at the age of 15 with almost no education. He later became an incredible businessman, bought McDonalds and revolutionized the business.

The world is full of people who never went to college or dropped out of high school and became incredibly successful. These are just a fraction of the people who made it big by pursuing their dreams and not giving up. They did not make a billion dollars as soon as they started; many started business that failed before they hit it big.

Related: 7 Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Ask Daily for a Better Business

You may say these people are flukes, that most never succeed, and you can't prove anything with mentioning a few people who succeeded who dropped out of school. You are right, but these people became billionaires or close to it. They didn't just succeed, they change the world. You don't have to change the world, you don't have to make a billion dollars. Heck, if you did 100 times worse than them, you would still be a multi-millionaire many times over.

Never Give Up if You Want to Be Successful

Another great point that Grant makes is you can never give up if you want to be successful in life. If you want to rise above the crowd and live the life you want to live, you have to take chances and you can’t give up. The most successful people in the world did not succeed at everything they did, they did not have a magic touch that made everything work. They kept trying and trying and trying until they found something that worked, and then they focused on that something until it grew into a successful business.

But Most Businesses Fail…

It is true that 8 out of 10 business fail in the first five years. Does that mean it is not worth trying? Does that mean you should not pursue your dreams — because other people failed? Just because 8 out of 10 businesses fail does not mean 8 out of 10 people fail. Many people start multiple businesses, and all it takes is one to make you rich.

If you think back to the people you know who started businesses, did they do it right? Did they make a detailed plan, look at the competition, pick the right location, have enough money, hire enough people, or did they just jump right in without having a clue what they were doing?

My experience with people who start businesses that fail is they think they will succeed without putting the work and research in that is needed. They want to get rich quick, and that is not going to happen 99 percent of the time. When things get tough or they have to start working harder than they thought they would, they give up. This is not the case with everyone, but it happens a lot. I have also seen people who were on the verge of creating something great, but ran out of money and gave up to get a steady job. Then there are the people who try to start a business on the side while they have a full-time job. They end up with no time, get burned out or ignore the business.

My point is you can increase the chances of success by following some guidelines:

  • Plan out your business
  • Plan out your finances so you don’t run out of money
  • Focus on your business 100 percent
  • Create goals and focus on them constantly

Businesses fail; that is a fact, but that doesn’t mean the people who started them failed. Maybe those business failures taught the business owner incredible lessons that propelled them to huge success in the next business. Would you rather live life scared to try because you might fail or give something your all and be able to say you tried and maybe even find huge success?

Goals, Goals, Goals

I talk a lot about goals because they have made me successful. Grant said he would review his goals twice a day! Most people make goals at the start of the year and never look back at them until the next year. Have you been focusing on the goals you created for 2015? Did you make any goals? Goals help you focus on what is important in life and your business. Too many people get stuck on the day-to-day activities and don’t review the big picture. I do it all the time, and it is hard to spend time on things that don’t produce immediate results.

Related: 11 Smart Ways to Use BiggerPockets to Become a Better Entrepreneur

Every time I focus on goals and not the day-to-day activities, I make more money, see more opportunities, and I am happier. Too many business owners get stuck in the day-to-day work and don’t focus on running the business; they work the business.


Anyone can start a successful business; I have started multiple business that make me a lot of money. I bought a Lamborghini last year, thanks to my businesses, and that success came from my attitude more than it did my aptitude.

It is not rocket science, but it is not easy either. The challenges are believing in yourself, preparing as much as possible, focusing and not giving up. You have to ask yourself if you are willing to take risks, commit time and work hard enough for possible success in business. Nothing is guaranteed, but I am betting your current job is not guaranteed either, and you could lose it at any time as well. The difference is you and only you control your destiny if you own your own business.

All you entrepreneurs out there: What advice would you add? What traits have helped you on your journey to success?

Leave a comment, and let’s talk!

Mark Ferguson has been a real estate investor and real estate agent/broker since 2002. He has flipped over 165 homes in that time, including more than 70 in the last three years. Mark owns more tha...
Read more
    David Krulac from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 5 years ago
    In a recent Bloomberg report, also quoted in Forbes, 80% of businesses fail in the first 18 months! According to the SBA, small businesses make up 99.7% of US employer firms.
    Mark Ferguson Flipper/Rehabber from Greeley, CO
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thats better than five years, you know you are done quicker and can restart sooner!
    Jessica H. Flipper/Rehabber from Easton, PA
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Stepping out of your comfort zone! I think a lot of us are held back by what would stretch our comfort zone and say, “nah, I’m not going to try THAT”, and hence never succeed. Whereas if they had just tried it they would’ve done fine, learned the process and then later would look back and realize what they were once afraid of is now no big deal. I am preaching to the choir here!
    Simon Benson from Lanham, Maryland
    Replied over 5 years ago
    A mind hack that I learned from Ralph Smart aka Infinite Waters Diving Deep on YouTube is to think of it as expanding your comfort zone. It seemingly makes it even easier.
    Shavers Lawn Investor from Pine Bluff, Arkansas
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I know exactly who u are talking about.
    Mark Ferguson Flipper/Rehabber from Greeley, CO
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I agree. I continually find new things to do that I previously thought I couldn’t or wouldn’t. It turns out the more I try that I didn’t think I could do the happier I am and the more succesful I am.
    Sharon Tzib Real Estate Broker from Cypress, TX
    Replied over 5 years ago
    You have to be able to hold yourself accountable. There’s no one there tapping you on the shoulder every day to make sure you do what is necessary to make your business a success. Systems and procedures have been the cornerstones of every business I’e ever run or taken over, and it has ensured that I remain focused, provide excellent customer service, and notice potential pitfalls before they become giant problems. I would also add having enough reserves is very important, especially in your first couple of years; and knowing your competition is crucial, especially if you can figure out how to exploit their weaknesses 🙂
    Mark Ferguson Flipper/Rehabber from Greeley, CO
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Very true, I think that is why many people never try because they are used to having someone tell them what to do and they don’t want to have to change to figuring things out themselves.
    Mike S Investor from Latonia, Kentucky
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I feel like a lot of businesses fail because of lack of preparation and market research. My full time gig is firefighting and we inspect local businesses. I can not count how many niche businesses fail time and time again. Brewing supply, hobby shops, etc. The overhead and start up inventory is enormous. I don’t see how they ever planned on making it.
    Mark Ferguson Flipper/Rehabber from Greeley, CO
    Replied over 5 years ago
    SO true, if you are going to start a retail business it takes a ton of money. One nice thing about technology is there are so many ways to start a business with minimal capital online.
    Karen Rittenhouse Flipper/Rehabber from Greensboro, NC
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Mark: I love your article. “My experience with people who start businesses that fail is they think they will succeed without putting the work and research in that is needed. They want to get rich quick, and that is not going to happen 99 percent of the time. When things get tough or they have to start working harder than they thought they would, they give up.” Perfect paragraph! If it was easy, everyone would be rich. Thanks for your post.
    Mark Ferguson Flipper/Rehabber from Greeley, CO
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thank you Karen! There is a lot of money and success out there for people who work hard, plan and take chances. Too many people forget two of those steps!
    Joshua Myers Investor from Medford, Oregon
    Replied over 5 years ago
    2 out of 10 are great odds. With a bit of intentness, and a few years of experimentation, anybody could churn through 8 business failures. My 2 year old does it all the time. Fall, Fall, Fall, Fall, Fall, Fall, Fall, Fall, Then, bam, perfect landing jumping from the couch to the floor. Next goal: Climb the cat tree. The point is: Failure is an option, and a damn good one. Just don’t completely bury yourself, and you can always get back up and try again. If you pay attention, you’ll be wiser and more experienced. If you’re so feeble-hearted that a little failure makes you shake in the knees, stay out of business and keep clear of 2 year olds.
    Mark Ferguson Flipper/Rehabber from Greeley, CO
    Replied over 5 years ago
    I like that attitude! If we gave up on everything that took 8 tries we wouldn’t be waling, talking, eating, sitting, or doing anything!
    Mark Ferguson Flipper/Rehabber from Greeley, CO
    Replied over 5 years ago
    Thank you Andrew!