Business failure

Joe's was one of the businesses to fail in 2009.
Advertisement for "Quitting Business" sale in Los Angeles, California, newspaper, 1909

Business failure refers to a company ceasing operations following its inability to make a profit or to bring in enough revenue to cover its expenses. A profitable business can fail if it does not generate adequate cash flow to meet expenses.[1]


Businesses can fail as a result of wars, recessions, high taxation, high interest rates, excessive regulations, poor management decisions, insufficient marketing, inability to compete with other similar businesses, or a lack of interest from the public in the business's offerings. Some businesses may choose to shut down prior to an expected failure. Others may continue to operate until they are forced out by a court order.

The Small Business Administration, in an article on small business failure,[2] lists additional reasons for failure from Michael Ames book on "Small Business Management":

A study published in 2014 by the Turnaround Management Society reveals that most crises are caused by the mistakes of top management. The most prominent causes of a crisis are that the management continued with a strategy that was no longer working for the company (54.6%), and that they lost touch with the market and their customers and did not want to adapt to changes occurring around them (51.6%). Having a clear strategy that is communicated well to all operational areas, one that uses and builds USPs, is desirable for every company but is often not the case. Incorrect strategic decisions (39.4%) are often made because of the lack of a clear strategy, and they can have a significant impact on a company’s financial position in the market. [4]

There are many opinions about the most important reason that businesses fail:

After Closing

After, a business may be dissolved and have its assets redistributed after filing articles of dissolution. A business that operates multiple locations may continue to operate, but close some of its locations that are under-performing, or in the case of a manufacturer, cease production of some of its products that are not selling well like Fruity King recently under the WalMart brand. Some failing companies are purchased by a new owner who may be able to run the company better, and some are merged with another company that will then take over its operations. Some businesses save themselves through bankruptcy or bankruptcy protection, thereby allowing themselves to restructure. There are several consequences towards the owners/shareholders, such as limited liability, the finance and the continuity (if a shareholder does not want to continue in the business).

See also


  1. Cash Flow: The 10 Rules of Cash Flow 101
  2. What are the major reasons for small business failure?, U.S. Small Business Administration, retrieved 2013-11-29
  3. Ames, Michael (1983), Small Business Management, West Group
  4. Why do Companies fail? 2014 Survey Results, Turnaround Management Society, 14 February 2014
  5. Krames, Jeffrey (2008), Inside Drucker's Brain, Portfolio - Penguin Books, p. 163, ISBN 978-1-59184-222-4
  6. Top reasons for small business failure: Study, Smart Company, 12 April 2013
  7. Why do Companies fail? 2014 Survey Results, Turnaround Management Society, 14 February 2014
  8. Baldwin, John; Gray, Tara; Johnson, Joanne; Proctor, Jody; Rafiquzzaman, Mohammed; Sabourin, David (1997), Failing Concerns: Business Bankruptcy in Canada (PDF), Minister responsible for Statistics Canada, ISBN 0-660-171201

External links

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