Start-ups. Cry babies, liars and lazy arses need not apply!

why start ups fail

Start-ups!  Who needs um, aye?

Don’t you find it funny that it is only on rare occasions we hear of start up failures but almost every day we hear of start ups selling for eye watering sums of money?  Almost every business publication leads with headlines of founders “cashing out” for mega bucks! 

But what we do not see is the tens of thousands of DAILY failures and the trail of misery that lies behind them!  Too many times, “would-be” entrepreneurs lose it all; their homes, life savings, cars (and even their lives). It is sad but true and because those stories rarely make it to the business press or the thousands of self-help books, here are a (quite a) few reasons for not launching a start-up.


Start-ups are far from being a magic key to unlock the door of untold wealth!  The simple truth is that you will probably have to go for months or even a year without pay and it is unlikely you will be making an actual profit for quite a while. Maybe years. If you are in it for the money alone, you may need a re-think as money is often slow to arrive!

In fact, it is always advisable to have another source of income to get you through those tough months while building a start-up.


To say that a start-up is draining is an understatement of epic proportions; in fact, it is enough to crush every piece of entrepreneurial spirit from your DNA.  The stress will come in many ways but start-ups that have to service debt (that you have incurred in the launch phase) can become incredibly challenging, especially if lenders start to want their money back, you will need a mental toughness or else you will not last.

Entrepreneurs need a mental toughness that is simply not required as an employee (in most cases).


If you aren’t willing to spend your own money to at least get your company started, you are saying you don’t trust yourself or your idea. You shouldn’t be seeking investors from the get-go without at least doing some groundwork.

If you are too cheap to invest in yourself, don’t expect anyone else to either.


If you are not a risk taker to some degree, it is unlikely the life of an “entrepreneur” is for you.  This is not to say that common sense should go out of the window. Calculated risk is still risk.

That is just the reality.


If you don’t like that word then stop.  Banks, investors, potential clients etc will all say “No!”. 

It may take years before anyone pays attention to you or your offering.  If you take rejection personally, this isn’t the life for you.


Telling yourself, and others (probably on social media), you are the next Jeff Bezos will only serve to cloud your judgement.  It will also help to burn through cash while you put on the appearance of “being successful”.  Don’t lie to yourself.


If you want to run a start-up because you simply don’t want to “get a job” then you’ve failed already.  If you are too lazy to work, you’re doomed in a start-up because the hours will be at least double those in an employed role!


Emotions have no place in business. They have no place in startups. If you’re an emotional person, your judgement may be clouded and you will not focus on solutions.


Prepare for immediate failure. You will most likely not achieve success for a long time after launching. Overnight success takes years!


Ian Wright is the Founder and CEO of and has worked with 100s of companies to appoint non-executive directors and chairs. 

He sits on the boards of three privately held companies as non-executive director and has built multiple businesses that have gone on to sell to private equity and trade buyers.

VirtualNonExecs is a global membership network operating in the UK, USA and UAE. is a FREE TO USE platform that connects companies with well established, well connected Non-Executive Directors. There is no cost for companies who recruit from the network; simply choose to list your vacancy free


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