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Book Review: Fail-Proof Your Business

By CO Staff @canadaone |

Fail-Proof Your Business
By Paul E. Adams
Publisher: Adams Hall, 1999
ISBN: 0-9447-0856-0

Starting a business is risky. US statistics indicate that 80% of businesses will fail, while only 2% of businesses will ever become successful enough to earn 'real money'. Canadian statistics aren't far off this mark.

What then, can the small business owner do to put the odds of success in their favour? One option is to protect your business from failure by implementing the advice that Paul Adams shares with readers in his new book, Fail-Proof Your Business.

Fail-Proof Your Business cuts directly into the heart of why businesses fail and then follows up with solutions designed to help the reader avoid similar mistakes in their own business. Adams divides his inspection of business failure into 4 main sections: the psychology of failure, money, leadership, and sales and marketing. Each section is then broken down into the many causes of business failure, such as:

  • 'lack of urgency' (psychology section);
  • 'establishing collection procedures' (money section);
  • 'saying no' ( leadership section); and
  • 'the basics of a good ad' (sales and marketing section).

As Adams describes the causes of business failure, he backs up his insights with anecdotes. He tells the story of many entrepreneurs whose businesses failed, pointing out the root cause of the failure. For example, Stuart's business failed after 11 months due to his inability to manage staff. Helen's business failure was caused by poor receivables management and disorganization. Even the author once faced business failure, and was only able to put his business back in order because he had nothing for people to take when the sheriff came to close down his company. These stories bring the issues to life.

Some of the most useful parts of this book are the financial tools. These tools enable a business to evaluate itself, and to identify problems before the business reaches the brink of failure. For example, the equity-report is a one-page financial statement that will tell you if your business if profitable, while the inventory turn-over report will tell you what inventory is – and isn't – moving. The section on sales and marketing includes a sales tracking management tool that can be used to identify the sales people that are the most – and least – effective for your business.

The main drawback of this book is that with all the focus on failure, it is still important to remember that no business is perfect. Having some of the problems outlined in the book does not mean that your business is destined for failure, but merely indicates areas where you either need to improve yourself or look to outside expertise. Otherwise, this is a solid book that delivers sound advice that new, 'young', or struggling entrepreneurs would be well advised to follow.

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