There is an astonishing statistics about the number of small businesses that fail within the first five years after their establishment. Most of these businesses are businesses that start very well and were doing well. Suddenly, you hear that they are going out of business. It baffles a lot of people why this happens.
One of the major reasons is demonstrated by King Amaziah of Judea. If we can learn from his mistakes, we will be able to guarantee our business surviving the first five years and beyond.
King Amaziah was the king of Judea when Jehoash was the king of Israel. King Amaziah had just ascended the throne and in one of his first battles defeated ten thousand Edomite soldiers. He was over awed by his success and felt that he had a wonderful army that could face any army in battle.
King Jehoash on his part was having a running battle with King Hazael of Syria. He was losing most of his land to Syria. King Amaziah, feeling that the King of Israel was a weakling challenged him to a battle. The surprising thing was that they did not have any quarrel between them but because of his successes, the king of Judea wanted to fight someone he felt he could easily defeat.
The King of Israel sent him a warning letter. He advised him to enjoy his victory over Edom but not to think that he has become well grounded in the art of war. King Amaziah still insisted on going to war.
On the appointed day, the armies of the two kings clashed and the army of Amaziah were thoroughly thrashed. The king himself was captured and imprisoned in Samaria. With that, his reign ended and he was eventually killed.
One may wonder how this relates to small business failure. Most small businesses when they start growing and seeing good results start to feel that they can handle any project without being properly grounded in the basics of running a business.
They feel that they can bypass the processes that big businesses passed through to get to where they are. They then make the Amaziah mistake. They take on an extra project that they should not have taken on at that particular time and in one swell swoop, everything comes crashing down.
The moment a business begins to bask in the euphoria of its accomplishment and begins to feel that it can handle any project is the beginning of its failure. The moment pride of success begins to get into the head of the operators of the young business is the point at which the first death blow is dealt to the business.
A small business must never pick up a project just because it feels it can handle it. Like king Amaziah, the moment you go into an unnecessary venture is the moment your business resources will be drained so drastically that before you know what hit you, you are out of business.
Never assume you can take on a struggling competitor without first finding out why it is struggling. If Amaziah had tried to compare his opponent with King Jehoash’s opponent, he would have realised that King Jehoash was playing in a much bigger league than he was. He should have gone to ask king Jehoash how he has been keeping the Syrians at bay. In that process, he would have learnt from the king of Israel instead of being crushed by him.
It is said that the best way to defeat a man is to get to know him very well first. If small businesses would first study their competitors that are struggling before taking them on, they will live beyond the five years mark.