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Written by Kimberlie Williams
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Failure is inevitable in the business world. Many CEOs will tell you some of their most vital lessons were learned the hard way—but at the same time, history exists for a reason. There’s a history of mistakes that have consistently ended up spelling disaster for what were once very promising businesses. Catching and turning these mistakes around early can make all the difference.

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Not Testing

Testing is a crucial part of successfully planning and executing business endeavors. It allows your team to  gauge the project’s quality, test its results, catch and fix errors, and take into account customer input while finalizing the finished product.


When your offering fails to meet standards, it’s far more expensive to attempt to fix something finalized for production than to do it as your team as is developing it. The earlier your team can make a change, the lower the cost will be.


Testing also makes maintenance easier, because testing will allow your team to catch more pitfalls and potential customer complaints, making your product or service more reliable and improving customer satisfaction.


Not Getting Everything In Writing

Strive to document your business well. Putting as many of your business activities in writing as possible prevents a lot of headaches in the future, like an unexpected court date. If you don’t have the terms of a business deal in writing down, that can open up a variety of legal pitfalls for your company. You’ve essentially given the other party free reign to change the terms of your agreement. They could argue you didn’t pay them in full, or you didn’t specify what you wanted well. It’s just a big nuisance that is entirely avoidable and good lawyers should provide you with more tips on what to get in writing for legal purposes.


Documentation is also a game changer in planning and executing your business endeavor wells. When plans are written out in detail, it allows your team to fully define the scope of the project. This allows your team to plan better, make more educated estimates, catch errors early, and it also makes it easier to go back and troubleshoot when problems arise. IT companies that engage in active documentation save million of dollars, so even though it may be annoying, make some extra time to do it. Even getting up a half hour earlier can make a difference.

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Ignoring Stakeholder Concerns

Stakeholders are the people most invested in and connected to your business, so it should be a no-brainer that keeping them happy should be a priority. These are not just your investors and customers, but the people impacted by your business as well. Think of the plant and the residents of a city who may complain about its gas emissions.


Don’t be too unpredictable and heartless. All they want is to feel secure; whether it’s in their decision to support your business or that your business won’t impact their lives in a negative way. Too many surprises or deviations from what was promised may make them lose trust in your business.


When the trust is lost, investors pack up and move elsewhere. When people feel your business has given them no concern, they’ll similarly turn their backs when your business is in a crisis, or even worse, add fuel to the fire. The moral of the story is to treat others how you would want to be treated.


Not Knowing When to Step Away

Failure is an inevitable part of business, but it can often happen when businesses ignore the signs that a project is going to fall through. It could be poor teamwork, high risk, bad timing, or not revisiting whether the costs are outweighing the ROI, just to name a few.


Many also become so attached to an idea that they can’t let it go, even when it will harm their business more in the long run. People can become so committed to seeing their vision become a reality that even if they see a .05% chance of making it a possibility, they ignore the signs it will not be successful. It may be because it’s something they’ve wanted to do their whole lives, and that’s all the reason to step back, ground yourself in reality, and make sure you go about it in the best way.

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