We're not all a bunch of Elon Musks, but that's okay. You don't need to be one of the world's leading geniuses in order to start a small business that can grow into something great. But, sometimes that small business just isn't working. Maybe it could work, or maybe it's flawed from the foundation up. In any event, sometimes it just plain isn't working. Here are some of the possible reasons as to why that may be:
You Put the Idea before the Market
A brilliant idea isn't enough when you want to launch a business. This is a problem that many creative people run into when they try to turn their passion into a living: You might love the idea of punk rock covers of classical music, but is there a market for that, or just a few people who will find it to be an amusing novelty? The customer who encounters a clever idea doesn't say "That's neat, I'll take ten." They say "Yeah but what can it do for me?" Start with the market, deliver what they want, not what you wish they want.
The Expenses Leave Little Profit Margin
There are a few solutions to this: You can charge more, selling to a more selective niche within the market, or you can lower your costs of doing business, and if both of those are unfeasible, then the idea is unfeasible. Although, in many cases, it's simply a matter of spending money on the wrong things. You might need to travel to a trade show to sell your wares, maybe your customers don't spend a lot of time browsing eShops, or, you could just be burning gas money for no reason.
You're taking on Too Much Work Yourself
Building a business is something that you do so that you don't have to work so hard in the future. If you're burning yourself out trying to be a one-man-band instead of delegating tasks, then success is actually quite dangerous, as you're going to wind up with even more work to handle all by yourself. Your team is there for a reason, put them to work
Timing is important on both ends of starting a small business. Whether you're building a traffic school or selling rare baseball cards, you have to consider whether or not the industry is ready for what you're doing right now, and whether or not you're ready to put this plan into motion. If your attentions are going towards your new baby or some other major life change, then you might want to settle into that new routine before you go looking for ways to complicate your life even further. It's easiest to launch a business from a place of stability, into an industry that won't meet you with an uphill battle.
Some businesses can be saved with a few adjustments, while others are effectively pipe dreams. The best strategy might not be to try and make sure that everything is just perfect before you launch, but to only launch business ideas when you can afford to fail. It costs very little to launch a new product into the app store for mobile users, but it's very expensive to start a restaurant, and dangerous to do so by taking a loan out on your car.