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Dramatic Reasons Why Many Startups Fail, Lose Money & More

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

Why Startups Fail

Is startup failure inevitable? Since 2005 businesses have exceeded their growth rates every quarter. COVID-19 has shuttered almost 30% of small businesses and has also led to the highest growth of entrepreneurs in the twentieth century. Let's dive right into the signs a startup will fail, top dramatic reasons why startups fail, lose money, find success and more.

What is a startup?

In the broadest sense, a business is a new enterprise at its first stage. Despite being too general, the definition can be misleading. A business that is relatively new but may not be a new venture.

In the beginning, a startup usually contains two important attributes: it is in fact an entrepreneurial experiment with potential. It is therefore likely that a startup's plan to fail is flawed in every respect.

The test is done on assumptions which are most often wrong. The innovativeness of the startups the riskier the assumptions they test. A startup that fails because of lack of experience, market need or cash flow is often due to one of several factors.

Digg, a social news website that gained popularity in the early 2000s, is a prime example. However, it struggled to stay afloat and was eventually acquired by Betaworks.

Pivot Strategies

Startups are a risky business. The odds of success are not in your favour. One of the most common reasons is a pivot strategy gone wrong. In order to avoid this, founders need to make sure they have a thorough understanding of what their company stands for and what the company’s goals are.

Research shows that over 90% of startup founders fail. Startup tends towards folding more often. We know why these companies fail and we can learn from those failed companies. How are startup companies failing in the first year?

why startups fail
Image by findstack

Lack of market needs

One of the biggest reasons startups fail is the lack of alignment between the product or service and the customer. These defeats are often the result of people inside the company not caring about the needs of the customer or the company culture that does not focus on the customer.

A case in point is NewsTilt, a news website for independent professional journalists that failed within two months after being funded by Y Combinator. The founders did not really care about the niche they were building their company around.

A lack of market need is also a primary reason why startups fail. The lack of market need was one of the biggest reasons for failure for 42% of the startups studied. The market can change very quickly, so finding a product with a strong market need is imperative.

Founders need to understand their customer's needs and then understand how they can improve the product or service.

Market research

While it is important to have an idea for a product, the startup needs to think about the market. The market will help it determine whether the product is viable and how to make it even better.

A product with no market fit will sully its reputation. Similarly, a product released too late might miss a crucial window of opportunity and end up causing the company to fail.


Lack of customer need is another big reason why startups fail. Even though an idea may be excellent, it is not enough to start a company. The product should be feasible and consumers must be interested in using it.

This way, the company can build a bridge between the company and its consumer base. With this, the company can make changes to the product or service that will ensure customers continue to buy it.

Product-market fit

Lack of product-market fit is another major reason why a startup fail. In some cases, new businesses underestimate the role of marketing and think that a good product will sell itself. Other times, they try to cover too many marketing channels.

signs a startup will fail

Lack of experience

While a founder may be passionate and have the right skill set, his or her lack of experience can lead to the failure of the company. It's important to keep an eye on the market and make sure that the product fits the market.

The startup may have solved a problem that others aren't yet ready for. In other cases, the market or world doesn't need the product. The road to building a successful company requires a lot of work from many people in many different aspects of the business.

A startup is built on teams with varied capabilities and roles that can help each other build the business through their knowledge, skills, and experience.


Lack of funding is another major reason why a startup fails. Most startups rely on investors to fund their product until it starts making money, but investors tend to baulk at continuing to fund a startup for too long.

However, investors are often unwilling to continue funding startups. Once this happens, a startup must find new sources of venture capital. Unfortunately, this process takes a long time, so it's crucial to have the right funding at the beginning and start to raise money as soon as possible.

Value Connection

Startups are built on trust and relationships. Businesses today succeed or fail based on their ability to communicate with their customers, team members, and stakeholders. This leads to the need for effective communication skills that encompass both written and verbal forms of communication.

Having an unreliable team can make it difficult to build a successful company. Communication strategies in business include effective and efficient ways of managing information, conveying messages, and facilitating collaboration. It will lead to a rise in trust with your team and stakeholders.

For example, Theranos failed because of the lack of experience of its founder. Elizabeth Holmes had dropped out of Stanford at the age of 19 and had no experience in the healthcare industry. She acquired funding and promised to the world that her company would revolutionize blood testing. She was caught fabricating results and Theranos is facing lawsuits for fraud.


It can be a challenge when you have limited hours or resources to spend on projects due to time constraints, or when you don't believe your business has enough momentum to warrant investing in communication strategies.

That’s why team members also need training in effective communication so they can communicate with their colleagues and superiors effectively. These skills are essential to ensure that the team meets its deadlines, produces quality products, and achieves growth goals.


The management team is a crucial part of a startup. It is important to build a well-rounded team and hire people with the right skills and experience for the role. The team should also have the right experience and know-how to handle large projects and delegate tasks. Building a successful startup team is the first step in achieving success.

Entrepreneurs often fail to hire the right people for their startups. The wrong people can damage a startup's credibility by failing to listen to employees' input. Startup founders often view the business as an extension of themselves and do not listen to anyone else's input. They take input personally and fail to consider facts.

an entrepreneur first business fails

Solid Foundation

Being a good entrepreneur and building a successful company: Building a company is like building a house. You build the foundation first, then you set the walls and put up the roof. If your company's foundation is solid and strong, then this will allow you to build walls that are higher and stronger.

However, if your foundation isn't sturdy, then it will be difficult to do anything with it because there won't be much support for any other part of the building process. Early planning helps you to survive ups and downs and provides solution during difficult times.

  1. The most important part of any business is building a product that will be loved by the customer.

  2. The second most important thing is to build a solid foundation from which you can grow, even if it means sacrificing short-term profits for long-term growth.

Business Model

There are loads of factors that can contribute to a startup's failure. It could be the wrong product or service, poor market timing, lack of understanding in regard to the customer's needs and more.

Not being careful enough with any of these factors will result in the failure of the startup. One of them is a lack of understanding of the business model. The business model defines the underlying value that a company hopes to deliver to customers and generate gross profit in return.

It's the foundation of any successful startup, so it's important for founders to understand how their idea will make money before investing too much time or money into it.

B2B and B2C business models differ in the way they make money, so it's important to know which one you're starting.

Planning & Business Strategy

Running a startup is not an easy task. You will experience problems during the early months and even years of operations. And you will need to have a strong plan of action for the future.

Startups are long-term ventures, and all companies face challenges. As a result, it's important to know how to deal with these challenges to avoid failure. When you start a company, you need to decide what your business strategy is.

Once you have a good idea of your goal, it is essential to develop a strategy and other related plans. Here is why business strategy is important for startups.

startup failure case study pdf

Poor marketing

One of the biggest mistakes in business is that they don't understand how important marketing is. They tend to underestimate the value of marketing their product and think that a good product will sell itself.

Others try to do too much marketing, covering every possible channel. For example, the habit-tracking app Habitual failed because its launch was not supported by a proper marketing strategy.

Almost two-thirds of startups fail because they do not have a clear marketing strategy. In order to create a winning marketing strategy, you must first understand what your competition is doing. If your competition is a startup, you should know who they are and what their marketing strategy is.

Marketing is crucial for a startup. Without it, a startup will fail to find a niche for its product. The best way to do this is to create a great product and match it with a relevant need in the market.

While this is a critical step, many companies don't pay attention to this aspect of marketing and fail to attract customers. Lastly, startup failure can be due to many other reasons. For example, a startup may be rushed into a market that is not well understood.

It also may not be well-timed for a major product launch or a marketing push. If these factors are not considered, a startup may not make it.

Lack of Cash Flow

Lack of cash flow is one of the most common reasons for startup failure. Many startups are dependent on investors to provide funds until their product or service is profitable. Then, they are forced to find new sources of funding when their original capital runs out.

Luckily, there are some tips you can follow to increase your chances of surviving this common problem. Let's explore these tips in detail:

Understand Your Market: The first step to creating a successful start-up is understanding the needs of your target market. Most startup businesses require cash to pay dues to their vendors and employees.

This cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. When cash flow is low, start-up companies are unable to make these payments on time and fail to achieve their financial milestones.

Tracking & Metrics

In order to avoid running out of money, it is important to track your cash flow and define objectives and KPIs. Your KPI should be based on something that is measurable so you can understand and show results from it.

For example, eCommerce KPIs might be the number of orders that were processed, the number of products sold within a certain time frame, the number of inquiries or the number of visitors to your website. Failure to measure these metrics will lead to low ROI and defeat.

A recent study by U.S. Bank shows that 82% of small businesses fail because they don't manage their cash flow properly. A cash-flow-managed startup will be much more likely to survive and grow than one without proper management.

Poor Sales

Another reason for the lack of cash is poor sales. While the lack of cash may seem like a small problem, it is often a symptom of bigger problems and mistakes. For example, the company might be targeting the wrong market, or have a dysfunctional team or product that doesn't differentiate from its competition.

In addition, the company may be unable to meet payments from customers, which could lead to a lack of cash flow. In these instances, the company can adjust quickly and make changes to get back on track.

Look for Patterns: Businesses are often faced with the same problems and mistakes again and again. It can be difficult to find solutions to these problems because they seem so unique. Contact Our Expert, who has dealt with different business problems in the past and can save you time and money.

Advice from Other Founders

By understanding business mistakes, entrepreneurs can prevent recurring defeats and make improvements to themselves.

preventing startup failure
Wilbur Labs asked entrepreneurs if they would recommend advice to others.

The leading recommendations are essential principles that guide startup survival. Most entrepreneurs prefer outside advice, as well as legal advice (29%), networking (28%), consulting (28%) and diversified expertise (22%) as starting partners.

Summary of Why Startups Fail

Many entrepreneurs enter a start-up with the ambition to make a million units available within one year but lack any real understanding of market requirements.

One in three entrepreneurs running out of money was the cause of failure. Second, the founder attributes their failure to inadequate funds or investor interest.

It is difficult to achieve innovation without knowing everything. They will be in business until they realize they don't really have the money they need. It seems like many startups are unable to accurately predict their success.

A new report finds that 70% of founders faced business failures. Nearly 62% are facing potential failures within five years of their startup. About 77% of those who faced an eventual failure say it is partly because of COVID-19. (ITC)

Plan & Strategise

We may be living in the age of automation, but we still need people at the heart of companies to plan and execute strategy. Companies are shifting from product-led growth to customer-centric strategies that rely on market insights and an understanding of how to optimize for the future. Understanding your customers, competitors and the market is key to success.

7needs can help you with forward-thinking, strategic planning and strategy implementation to execute growth that is scalable and sustainable. Schedule a call today for a strategy consultation to learn how we can help you reach your goals.


What's the startup success rate?

As you know, 80-95% of startups do not succeed, which makes startup success about 10%. This figure will be much larger when we also consider some more typical business ventures and not just innovative tech startups.

Why are startups struggling?

Why do startups have losses?

What is the #1 reason that startups fail?

Why do 99 percent of startups fail?

What happens if a startup fails?

Why do more than 90% of startups fail globally?

WHO said that 90% of startups fail?

This article was written by 7needs, check out the collection of our business strategy blog posts or here are some suggested articles:

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