Why 85 Percent of Businesses Fail

By: Dan Kennedy on: July 29th, 2010 7 Comments

Another specific idea or process that you can use to promote, to market yourself, your products, your services or your small business is an ‘organized presentation.’

There are some problems that we have to deal with today in communicating with people.

First is a thing called the attention span. There is NONE. It’s very important for you to know that. Many years ago during a Super Bowl there was a big event that happened in television for those of us in marketing. It was the 15-second commercial instead of the 30-second commercial.

There are several reasons why this was done.

  1. They could get more commercials in per hour than they could obviously before.
  2. Although the 15-second spot will cost more per second than the 30-second spot does, the 15-second spot in dollars cost less than the 30-second spot so some advertisers who could not before afford television advertising now can afford television advertising, which makes the pool of perspective advertisers bigger.
  3. This is really an interesting reason why it was done. It was because of the declining attention span of the American public.

Think about it. How many TV watchers have a remote control for their TV?

Everybody… right!

Okay. How often do you click onto another channel when a commercial comes on?

If you drive through a neighborhood at night now very quietly with your windows down you can hear click, click, click, click, click. Those aren’t crickets folks; those are people clicking from channel to channel to channel trying to find a car crash.

The next key concept is a lost art which is salesmanship. Even sales people today don’t really sell. The great masters of salesmanship generally tend to be older individuals not younger individuals. Every once in a while you’ll run across one.

Unfortunately, most sales people today are order takers and you won’t excel as an order taker. Great salesmanship is what Paul Parker called it in his book, which you can’t find in the bookstores but you can find in the libraries, Tact and Skill in Handling People.

Contrary today, we try and get things done by brute force, partially because we’re in such a hurry. We’re so rushed and you practice salesmanship, the way you get great at salesmanship is you practice it all the time. You don’t just do it in the narrow parameter of selling an item to someone. You do it in every relationship, you do it in every conversation, and you do it in every encounter with people.

Now Napoleon Hill made a recording many years ago called, “Sell Your Way Through Life.” And he said that’s the only way you will get through life and get what you want is if you sell your way through life.

You know that the failure rate in small business in this country is very high. At least 85% and maybe as high as 98% of new small businesses fail before they hit the five year mark and the statisticians and the accountants will tell you that they believe that the reason for that failure is under capitalization and poor fiscal management.

I can point you to businesses that have failed with enough money to do everything they needed to do ten times over. And some management consultant will tell you its poor management ability. I suggest to you what it is in most cases is that the business owner decided that once he or she was in business they didn’t have to sell.

Many people in many types of businesses believe they don’t have to sell. For example, Doctors believe that they don’t have to sell. There are a lot of restaurant owners who believe that. There’s a lot of retail store owners who believe that we open the doors and the customers come to us and we don’t have to sell anyone. That’s why we got business.

You obviously have some method you use to promote what it is that you do or you wouldn’t even be in existence. But you probably only have one method or two methods or three methods that you use. The more methods the more business.

Diversity is the creative opposite of laziness. So you need to think how can I use more methods to attract people to do business with me than any other competitor will use?

The more methods the more business. Hopefully that thinking process has begun to take place for you today.


Dan Kennedy is internationally recognized as the 'Millionaire Maker,' helping people in just about every category of business turn their ideas into fortunes. Dan's "No B.S." approach is refreshing amidst a world of small business marketing hype and enriches those who act on his advice. For more money-making marketing tips, tactics and strategies, go to www.GKIC.com

7 Responses

  1. JOSE says:

    Excellent Article!.

  2. So true! I’m a psychotherapist and like many of my colleagues, got out of graduate school, framed my diploma, rented an office, and waited for the clients to pour in. Waited and waited and waited. I’ve luckily gotten my act together and now understand the integral role sales and marketing plays in my profession.

    Sadly, I’ve seen so many other mental health professionals struggle and never get it. I believe your point about doctors (and therapists) not understanding they need to sell has been a big factor in the proliferation of managed care. Let me get someone to do the marketing for me. As Dan has pointed out before, marketing is the one area you shouldn’t delegate. Those who did delegate this by signing up for managed care have learned the hard way that it’s a very expensive road to go down.

    Hopefully the wave of concierge medicine will force the field to better embrace this notion.

  3. Don Paleno says:


    I have been referred to you by Ron Legrand. He never lets me down. I love your “No B.S.” approach. I will continue to read your posts.
    Thanks for sharing your brain with us.


  4. Iain says:

    There is only 2 things in business – creation and selling.

  5. Jim says:

    Selling is the cornerstone of business. You are in the business of marketing. Once you realize that and are proactive you have a jump on your competition.

  6. Michael says:

    Great post Dan

  7. Bambi Faron says:

    Hey there! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

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