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16 revealing signs you’re going to fail — January 19, 2014

16 revealing signs you’re going to fail

This is a sponsored post from our friends at Key Person of Influence.


Daniel Priestley has interviewed over 2500 entrepreneurs over the last three years about their business ambitions. As he listened, he sometimes had a sinking feeling that he already knew the business was off track and would probably fail.

Here’s the top 16 things that gave him that feeling:

1. You’re only doing it for the money

The business idea is based on some trend you’ve noticed that is making lot’s of money right now. It’s been written up as a big thing, you’ve noticed it and now you’re after it. This is almost like trying to catch a bus that you can see traveling in the right direction… it’s too late. The people who make money from industries that are making money are the ones who got into the industry before it was making money (I hope that made sense).

2. You sell a low cost product and you’re not funded

As soon as someone tells me that their main products sell for $10-$800, I already know the business will be in a “J-curve” and unless the entrepreneur is funded they are unlikely to make it out the other side. The business will often show promising signs in the beginning with people saying they like the product and a few even buying. Later the realization sets in that the $30k a year PA you want to hire requires you to make 57 sales per month just to cover their wage.

3. You’ve never worked in the industry as a fully paid employee

One of the surefire ways to make a successful business is to have worked in an almost identical business to the one you want to start. In addition to all the thing’s you learn, you also spot the key aspects that need to be improved and you develop an understanding of the suppliers and contacts you’ll need. I’ve often said to people who are considering starting a business to go and get a job for 90 days in a similar business (even a menial job); It improves the odds out of sight.

4. You expect people to buy your product

Google relies on sales teams, so does BMW, so does, Rolex and so will your business. Occasionally someone might buy from you, most of the time you will need to go out and make a sale (especially in the beginning). Additionally, if you can’t or won’t go out and sell your product it’s unlikely you will be able to attract, train or retain a salesperson who will do it for you. For your business to work, you will need to go out and do face to face or telephone selling… and it will probably be that way for a while.

5. You’re risk averse

Every business requires you to take risks. A lot of entrepreneurs go backwards before they go forwards. If the idea of putting an untested advertisement on your credit card in order to see what happens, makes you feel uneasy, starting a business is probably not for you.

6. You’re delusional

If your business revolves around “Improving upon what Facebook is doing wrong” or “Taking Google to the next level” or “Being the next Richard Branson” – there’s a very good chance you won’t. More to the point, there’s a very good chance that you won’t be taken seriously. Before you give me the Colonel Saunders Story or the Disney Story, try starting small and getting one thing right, like Facebook, Google and Branson did.

7. You’re bland, boring, same and predictable

If you’re unique selling proposition is based on being slightly better, faster, cheaper or friendlier it probably won’t be enough to make an impact. If you get the feeling that your business is boring, you need to figure out how to make it interesting.

8. You’re working alone

My belief is that the minimum team is two people if you’re pre-revenue and three if you’re post-revenue. Then, ASAP you should get to 4-12 people with $160k+ per person. Business is a team sport and being a solo-preneur is a recipe for unnecessary struggle.

9. You’re not crunching your numbers over and over and over again

Business owners that do well constantly crunch their numbers in their spare time. They construct spreadsheets that allow them to play with price points, costs and margins. When asked, they have a good grip on their actuals and their projections. Those who struggle often can’t tell you things like their break-even point, their gross margin or their cost per lead.

10. You aren’t willing to front your brand

If you say “I don’t want to be known as the face of this business” for any reason, it’s probably not going to take off. Not unless you have a lot of money behind the business. When a new business enters the market, people want to know who’s behind it. If you won’t front your business, you’ll be beaten by the person who will.

11. You can’t generate 1000s of hot leads

Getting one customer is great at first but in reality if the business has a future you’ll need to get 100s of clients. To get 100 clients you’ll need about 300 appointments from about 1000 warm leads. It’s important to know how you’re going to get the leads flowing and keep them flowing.

12. People aren’t clear about what you do and why it’s for them

“Every great business begins as a great pitch” was what Mike Harris told me. He’s built three multi-billion dollar brands, so he should know. If you can’t pitch your business, it’s like having a suitcase full of cash but you can’t open the case; no one know’s or cares what’s inside.

13. People can’t learn about you

These days people learn about you before they buy. They want to know your philosophy, your methods, your story, your case-studies and your ideas for the future. If they can’t learn these things they will go elsewhere. For the learning to happen, people need articles, blogs, videos, podcasts, reports or even a book that you’ve written.

14. You are the product

If this business is all about you, then it’s hard to scale and eventually you will get burned out.

15. People don’t know you exist

My belief is “you are who Google says you are” so at a very basic level people who are searching for you should get consistent, accurate and credible information about you. Beyond that, you must reach out to people and let them know you are there. Ads, cold calls, PR, events, etc. are all part of a healthy business strategy for getting known; spend the money or go broke waiting for the phone to ring.

16. You’re trying to do too many things

Your business can probably get one to three things right over the course of the next five years. Google for all of its hundreds of experiments over 15 years gets very few to become successful money makers – search advertising still represents 96% of its income. If you aren’t focused on one key thing, you’ll probably be average at quite a few things; which is dangerous. Look at the success of Twitter who focussed on a fairly minute and featureless broadcasting tool but dominated that little segment; they are now worth 4x the value of the Royal Mail (UK).

The purpose of this blog is not to be negative, it’s to point out some clear issues that I’ve seen after interviewing thousands of entrepreneurs. I hope that you’re able to look at these 16 potential issues and avoid them before they cause real strife.

About our contributor // Daniel Priestley is a successful entrepreneur, event producer and author of ‘Become a Key Person of Influence’:

Want to learn more?

KPI are running their accredited 8-hour Brand Accelerator event in February 2014 with some of Australia’s most well respected entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

  • Melbourne | 7th February
  • Sydney | 13th February
  • Brisbane | 28th February

As one of their event partners, KPI has offered readers a 40% discount on the retail ticket price, with sale ticket prices starting from $39 for general admission.

Book your ticket for the KPI 8 hour Brand Accelerator | Business Strategy Day.

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Thanks to September’s advertisers — October 4, 2013

Thanks to September’s advertisers


Another month has gone and we’d like to pause to say thanks to our partners who used The Fetch’s promoted options this month.

We love you guys! Please check them out. 🙂

Interested in advertising on The Fetch? Book our options in just a few clicks here. If you’d like more details or would simply like to chat about how we can assist you, please email

Image credit: Andrew Bannecker

Thanks to June’s advertisers — July 2, 2013

Thanks to June’s advertisers


Big thanks to June’s advertisers in The Fetch weekly email digests:

We love you guys! Please check them out. 🙂

Interested in advertising on The Fetch? Check out the options here. If you’d like more details or would simply like to chat about how we can assist you, please email

Featured post: Passive Income Will Send You Broke — May 12, 2013

Featured post: Passive Income Will Send You Broke


This post was sponsored by Key Person of Influence: book in to the Australian KPI 8-hour Brand Accelerator soon.

Over the past few years the biggest buzz word for people in business or those seeking financial freedom is “passive income”.

As the name suggests, its an idea that you can earn income that you don’t have to work for.

In my experience it is also the most damaging “wealth creation” idea I’ve ever come across. It sucks the life out of people and causes them to do dreadful things that waste their time, money and energy.

I view the idea as a modern day “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow and I believe it’s just as mythical.

Let me explain:

The idea of passive income by definition means you are trying to make money from something that you don’t want to be doing – I see people who fundamentally aren’t interested in property, going out buying property because they think it will be “set and forget”. I see people who loath technology, setting up websites because they think their dull, average, uninspired creation will replace their wage. I see people who have never taken an interest in large publicly traded companies suddenly fixating on price charts so they won’t have to worry about money some day. There is a deep fundimental flaw in this logic.

The idea of passive income stimulates the most primitive part of the brain – the reptilian limbic system of the brain is a sucker for “easy wins”. It’s the part of the brain that controls fear, fight and flight. It believes we live in a scarce world with an imminent drought around the corner. Passive income appeals to the parts of the brain that think lotto is a good idea because it feels emotionally rewarding despite being a logical disaster. This primitive part of your mind isn’t built for complex thinking, it can’t figure out that spending 1000 hours and $5000 setting up a $87.60 per month surplus is hardly time well spent. It just wants the emotional payoff of never having to worry about money some day. The worst thing is that when the limbic system is in control, the creative parts of the brain that do generate lots of opportunity can’t function.

It’s NOT passive – what most people come to discover is that a property portfolio is hardly passive, nor is a website, or an MLM downline. All of these, so-called “passive-income” vehicles require maintenance and upkeep. Tenants cause dramas, websites consistently need updating and downlines require constant encouragement.

I don’t see examples of it working – when was the last time you were on holiday and you bumped into the couple who proudly declared that they were traveling non-stop thanks to their passive income? Theoretically, every beach in the tropics should now be over-run with people who can’t even remember how they make their money.

So what does work? What is the alternative that does produce results? What has been the secret to wealth since the dawn of time?

Building your Empire.

Building an empire is the failsafe way to wealth, power, influence and fulfillment.

Building an empire requires you to commit fully to something that you will never turn your back on. It requires you to take a stand for something, to have a vision, to enroll others in your world-view and to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

When you build an empire, there will be things that happen within it that happen without you being in the room – sales get made, rent comes in, fees are paid, royalties are collected – however it isn’t “passive”. You can never turn your back on your empire, it will always be something that you are building and protecting.

It will be the source of joy, frustration, passion, fury, boredom and exhilaration. It will be an extension of your authentic self, a piece of living art in the world that is never quite finished.

All the examples who get pointed out as beneficiaries of “passive income” are actually empire builders. Richard Branson doesn’t have passive income, he has the Virgin Empire. Donald Trump didn’t create a big “passive income” machine, he built a property empire. Warren Buffet goes into his offices at Berkshire Hathaway each day and builds his empire, he doesn’t sit back thinking about how great it is to have his “passive income” sorted.

The quest for passive income brings out the juvenile desire to shirk financial responsibilities. It’s a desire to get money sorted once and for all so I can get on with life and of course that never happens.

The quest for building an empire requires you to run head-on at the challenges of money, business and work in the knowledge that it will be like this until the very end. The empire builder must chose to play an inspiring game, because the game will never quite be over as long at they have air in their lungs.

It might sound pedantic, it might sound like a slight of words however there is a chasm between the inspired person who goes out to build their empire each day and the sad group of people who are delaying life while they get their “passive income” strategy in place.

The quest for passive income ends in disappointment, building an empire is an inspired journey that brings you closer to the work you were born to do.

Learn More:

To learn more about what it means to build your empire and become a Key Person of Influence, book in to the KPI 8-hour Brand Accelerator on the 5 steps to build your brand and raise your profile in your industry. (Also check The Fetch in Australia for dates.)

A complimentary copy of Daniel Priestley’s best selling book ‘Become a Key Person of Influence’ is included with every ticket so to find out more and book your tickets, click here.

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