With a changing economy, many highly qualified professionals are finding that they have no choice but to accept lower paying jobs they don’t want or start their own business.

It could be that they lost their job or have not been able to find one in their area of expertise.

A college degree does not guarantee that you will land the job of your dreams in the industry of your choice anymore. This is even more true for the thousands of immigrates who were either forced to move or chose to move to another country for a better quality of life only to find that their college and university degrees are not honored elsewhere.

That is why you’ll find doctors, engineers, lawyers and other highly skilled professionals opening restaurants or driving a taxi when they arrive at their new destination. Unless they go back to school and graduate under the terms and conditions of the new country they live in, they’ll not be able to practice their profession.

No matter what the circumstances are, many who choose to open a business are not ready to operate one. It was a choice made out of necessity or the false illusion that a business will give them more freedom.

Business Survival Rates

The five year survival rate for Canadian businesses is 51 per cent, according to the report The State of Entrepreneurship in Canada. The numbers are very similar in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some of the most popular businesses are restaurants or retail stores which ironically tend to have the highest failure rates and require a bigger investment.

Direct marketing businesses seem much more attractive to those with minimal business skills and smaller startup budgets thinking that because everything is “almost” done for them, they don’t need the business, marketing or sales expertise. They expect everything to run on autopilot.

That can’t be further from the truth.

I was not surprised to see direct marketing businesses on the list of “businesses most likely to fail”. Studies show that the reasons are “lack of training, poor sales skills, and not investing enough work hours” which contribute to a much higher than average failure rate.

Opening an online store on Amazon.com, ebay.com or other similar platforms or joining a network marketing company with a solid line of products does not guarantee sales. You’ll still need marketing expertise to drive traffic to your stores, sales expertise to convince them to buy from you rather than someone else and business expertise to keep your books, numbers and business operations in order.

There is no way around it. Unless you have the budget to hire someone to manage your business, you are going to have to roll up your sleeves, start learning and take action on what you learn.

Business Survival Tips

Here are some of the business survival tips recommended by the Canada Business Network. You will find that most of the recommended tips revolve around business, marketing and sales skills.

Follow these tips to avoid some of the pitfalls that can lead to small business failure.

  • Develop a good marketing and business plan that takes into account customer needs, competition, pricing and promotional strategies.
  • Have a good working knowledge of business law or hire a lawyer.
  • Understand your business finances, such as cash flow and handling credit.
  • Keep a good inventory of your products or services and your existing customers.
  • Make sure you have the experience, expertise and talent to run your business.
  • Plan every part of your business from start to finish.
  • Make sure you are offering a product that is unique and competitive or at a lower cost than that of your competitors.
  • Don’t under-estimate your expenses and over-estimate your revenue.
  • Make sure you have some cash reserves or a line of credit to help you get through slow periods.

What business are you in?

If you don’t currently have a business or a product or don’t represent a particular brand or company, you might as well start with the business of education. Once you know what you’re doing, you can expand to any industry you want.

Business focused information products are hot right now. As more people are migrating from an employment to a business model, they need the education, coaching and support to make that transition.

If you take the time to learn the ins and outs of the information products business particularly focused on marketing, sales and business best practices, you’ll not only learn skills that will pay you for years to come, you will be tapping into a growing industry that you can profit from.