Why Do So Many Small Businesses Fail?

A common complaint from local entrepreneurs is that it is extremely difficult to operate a business in Jamaica. However, business challenges are not limited to this country, as international statistics indicate that anywhere from one-third to one-half of new enterprises will fold within the first five years of operation.

While owning a business can be a route to achieve personal financial security, it is a reality that many people will experience a negative result from their entrepreneurial attempts.

There are many reasons why business success may be elusive, but I think they can be grouped into three categories – inadequate knowledge, insufficient capital and inappropriate opportunity.

I did some research to find out why so many business struggle and eventually die, often leaving their owners to suffer financial and emotional misery. One book that helped me to understand the root of this problem was The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber.

Click HERE to read the full account of what I discovered.


  • Hi, I stumbled on your post by researching entrepreneurs in Jamaica. I am actually Jamaican myself but I am living overseas. I started my own.

    I was interested in your post because it sounded like it would give me insight on why business fail in Jamaica so so as a young entrepreneur I could try to avoid the pitfalls but on this blog you really haven’t offered much info here and instead re-direct me to read another blog and I have to start all over again. At least you can give bullet points of the main points before sending me over.

    That said, I did read the second post and it starts off with a great hook and I thought I was going to hear why business fail ( that is the title of the post), but instead I got a book review of The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber. Where is the Jamaican context? where is the pain from the Jamaican entrepreneur’s experience? That is what would have been really useful.

    Hope I don’t sound harsh but I think this is a great platform for entrepreneurs and I would subscribe and share your posts as long as they hit home more. Thanks

  • I can tell you one thing that make Jamaican business fail: inflexibility and unwillingness to adapt to the market. Check it out:

    I went to a cookshop in Mandeville and I just wanted chicken and vegetables – no rice. The cashier that they don’t do it like that. I quarreled and asked for the manager and he came and told me the same thing. You have to get the rice with it.

    In the end I had to leave without the food because ” they don’t sell it like that.” So this is the kind of nonsense that Jamaican businesses sometimes do. Most businesses are very inflexible and love to follow silly rules. That’s one main reason why they fail.

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