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Top 7 Ways Successful Businesses Can Fail

By Thomas Zoss

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Contrary to popular opinion, business consultants don't just help save troubled businesses. In fact, success can be the harbinger of failure. Based upon my business consulting and college teaching experience, here are the Top 7 ways a SUCCESSFUL business can FAIL.

How can successful businesses fail?

  1. FLYING BLIND - This can happen when the business does not know how it achieved its current success (lack of a system) and therefore cannot be assured of perpetuating the success as conditions change.

  2. KIDDING THEMSELVES - When an organization has an odd definition of success (it thinks it is successful but isn't successful by realistic standards).

  3. GROWING PAINS - A growing and seemingly successful enterprise suffers through a poorly-managed evolution, from one stage or cycle of the enterprise to another (growth kills the business or requires new skills that are unavailable).

  4. NO SUCCESSION PLAN - Success and growth come to a complete halt when a key person dies, quits, etc. (a poor succession plan for a family- or closely-held business can also produce this scenario).

  5. NEARSIGHTED SUCCESS - Poor strategic planning allows successful ways to evaporate (lack of a plan and mission allows management to perceive distractions as opportunities and dissipate its resources).

  6. WORKING WITH STRANGERS - In a growing company it is easy for the corporate culture to shift away from the original honest vitality (the winning ways get lost in the shuffle, or newly-hired people do not receive training in the corporate culture necessary to perpetuate the original vision).

  7. WORKING POOR - A real or hidden shortage of resources stops the successful growth without warning (lack of adequate financing or high quality human resources, etc.).


    • BLINDSIDED - Success ends because of surprising or unanticipated external forces (new legal obstacles, changing public tastes, etc.).

    • OUTMANEUVERED - A superior (but poorly managed) producer is acquired by a wealthy (but lesser) competitor.

    • TOO SUCCESSFUL - Success allows an organization to achieve domination in its niche, triggering governmental intervention to the new monopoly status.

Tom Zoss is a professional fund raiser and management and marketing consultant, former college professor, and attorney. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana. This topic is developed further on the Zoss Communications, Inc. web site, including what you can do to address these concerns. Other white papers are offered for free at http://www.zoss.com/consulting/index.html. He also moderates one of the Internet's largest free listservs, serving vintage fountain pen collectors.

Thomas Zoss, President, Zoss Communications, Inc.

3431 S. Weeping Willow Way, Bloomington, Indiana 47403 USA

Telephone 812-332-2334 Email:

Internet: http://www.zoss.com

Source: https://Top7Business.com/?expert=Thomas_Zoss

Article Submitted On: May 30, 2000