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  • Writer's pictureYusuf Tokdemir

Eight Reasons Why SMEs Fail!

As an international senior consultant and executive with three decades of hands-on experience in SME growth, policy design, and multi-industry development, I've witnessed firsthand the huge potential of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as the backbone of job creation and economic dynamism.

Now, let’s look at the challenges faced by SMEs. Undoubtedly, fierce competition is the number one barrier against SME growth. Estimates show that one in three new SMEs fail in the first year, two out of four by the end of the second year, and three out of four by the fifth year. Only 5 to 6 percent SMEs conduct a feasibility study, prepare a plan to operate the business, consider the financial resources, technology, skills, market conditions and competition (products, services, and prices) in the long-term.

Here are 8 key reasons why SMEs fail and how to avoid them:

1. Lack of Working Capital and Financial Mismanagement (34%): Implement robust financial management practices and explore diverse funding options to ensure steady cash flow.

2. Poor Management and Leadership (13%): Invest in leadership development, foster a culture of innovation, and empower your team to thrive. 

3. General Economic Conditions (13%): Stay informed about market trends, diversify revenue streams, and maintain agility to navigate economic fluctuations.

4. Ineffective Sales and Marketing (13%): Invest in targeted marketing campaigns, leverage digital channels, and prioritize customer engagement to drive sustainable growth.

5. Poor Data Management (10%): Implement robust data management systems, harness analytics for actionable insights, and prioritize data security to stay competitive in the digital age.

 6. Poor Supervision, Capacity, and Staffing (9%): Prioritize talent development, foster a supportive work environment, and ensure sufficient resources to meet demand.

 7. Personal Factors (5%): Maintain a healthy work-life balance, seek mentorship and support networks, and cultivate resilience to weather the inevitable storms.

 8. Poor Risk Management (3%): Identify potential threats, implement risk mitigation strategies, and maintain contingency plans to safeguard your enterprise against unforeseen challenges.

Protect Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services!

Kemera from Vel Artvin
Kemera Şavşat Turkey by Yusuf Tokdemir May 2023


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