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Why Do Businesses Fail?

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Why Do Businesses Fail?

Why Do Businesses Fail?

For any new entrepreneur, it’s natural to be optimistic.

Whether that person has a world-changing idea or is starting a new coffee shop, the glass has to be half full that the business will succeed. Otherwise, what is the point of starting a new company in the first place?

The Harsh Reality

Today’s infographic from InsuranceQuotes shows that this entrepreneurial enthusiasm might be misplaced.

The reality is that it’s a cruel world out there for entrepreneurs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States keeps a sobering tally of how often businesses fail, and here are the numbers from 1995-2015:

Years in BusinessFailure Rate
1 year21.2%
2 years32.1%
5 years51.2%
10 years66.6%
20 years79.6%

Statistically speaking, there is over a 50% chance that any new business is toast in five years.

And the record for tech startups? It’s even worse, with 90% of all startups eventually failing.

Business Failure Can Be Complex

It takes the confluence of many factors to build a successful business: assembling the right team at the right time, achieving product/market fit, staying on top of the competition, and getting the necessary funding are just some of the key elements to success.

In the same vein, it is often hard to pin down just one reason for failure, since everything is so interconnected.

For example, one study by U.S. Bank shows that 82% of small businesses fail because of cash flow mismanagement. This is a fair point, since without cash flow there is no business.

However, while cash flow may end up being the final nail in the coffin for many businesses, it’s also fair to say that a lack of cash flow can be the symptom of other problems. What if the company is going after the wrong market? What if the team is dysfunctional and unmotivated? What if the company isn’t differentiated enough to compete?

With any of these situations playing out, it should be no surprise that sales aren’t coming in like expected, which would certainly tank cash flow. At the same time, a company with the right team and product should be able to make swift changes to right the ship from any chronic issues.

Some Reasons Businesses Fail

With the complexity of business failure in mind, here are some of the commonly listed reasons for why businesses fail:

  • 82% experience cash flow problems
  • 42% find that there is an insufficient need for their product or service
  • 29% run out of cash
  • 23% do not have the right team
  • 19% are out-competed

Lastly, for a full list of reasons for why businesses fail, see this infographic showing 20 common reasons why startups fail.

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Mapped: The World’s Top 50 Science and Technology Hubs

This map explores the world’s top 50 science and technology hubs based on the Global Innovation Index 2023 data.

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This map explores the world’s top 50 science and technology clusters, based on data from the Global Innovation Index 2023.

The World’s Top 50 Science and Technology Hubs

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

In 2023, the world experienced another wave of science and technology (S&T) innovation, from the introduction of the first over-the-counter birth control pill in the U.S. to the stunning growth of ChatGPT and artificial intelligence.

This map explores the world’s top 50 science and technology hubs leading these innovations based on data from the Global Innovation Index 2023. Hubs were ranked by their combined share of international patent applications and scientific publications.

East Asia Dominance in S&T

The world’s five most significant science and technology hubs are in East Asia.

The top-ranked Tokyo-Yokohama cluster made up just over 10% of all patent applications between 2018-2022.

ClusterCountry/EconomyPatent ApplicationsScientific Publications
Tokyo-Yokohama🇯🇵 Japan127,418115,020
Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou🇨🇳/🇭🇰 China/Hong Kong113,482153,180
Seoul🇰🇷 South Korea63,447133,604
Beijing🇨🇳 China38,067279,485
Shanghai-Suzhou🇨🇳 China32,924162,635
San Jose-San Francisco🇺🇸 U.S.47,26958,575
Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto🇯🇵 Japan38,41351,948
Boston-Cambridge🇺🇸 U.S.18,18476,378
San Diego🇺🇸 U.S.23,26120,928
New York City🇺🇸 U.S.13,83874,849
Nanjing🇨🇳 China7,143113,488
Paris🇫🇷 France15,17661,692
Wuhan🇨🇳 China6,25089,756
Hangzhou🇨🇳 China10,75562,924
Nagoya🇯🇵 Japan17,73616,091
Los Angeles,🇺🇸 U.S.11,55644,058
Washington, DC–Baltimore🇺🇸 U.S.5,52576,039
Daejeon🇰🇷 South Korea12,27525,552
Xi'an🇨🇳 China1,78686,937
London🇬🇧 Great Britain5,98159,068
Seattle🇺🇸 U.S.11,47220,322
Munich🇩🇪 Germany10,24824,239
Qingdao🇨🇳 China7,28639,745
Chengdu🇨🇳 China2,04667,334
Cologne🇩🇪 Germany7,46634,286
Amsterdam–Rotterdam🇳🇱 Netherlands4,23052,864
Taipei–Hsinchu🇹🇼 Taiwan3,90752,752
Houston🇺🇸 U.S.8,47524,636
Stuttgart🇩🇪 Germany9,34214,874
Tel Aviv–Jerusalem🇮🇱 Israel7,26824,219
Moscow🇷🇺 Russia2,03655,086
Chicago🇺🇸 U.S.5,76332,343
Singapore🇸🇬/🇲🇾 Singapore/Malaysia4,86136,803
Tehran🇮🇷 Iran24963,113
Philadelphia🇺🇸 U.S.5,39032,309
Tianjin🇨🇳 China1,26753,680
Changsha🇨🇳 China1,14952,768
Stockholm🇸🇪 Sweden6,06919,984
Minneapolis🇺🇸 U.S.6,62515,375
Hefei🇨🇳 China2,54938,974
Eindhoven🇳🇱 Netherlands7,9825,339
Melbourne🇦🇺 Australia2,12640,056
Berlin🇩🇪 Germany3,62430,464
Chongqing🇨🇳 China1,65141,412
Frankfurt am Main🇩🇪 Germany5,41018,590
Sydney🇦🇺 Australia2,53933,695
Raleigh🇺🇸 U.S.3,05730,206
Madrid🇪🇸 Spain1,58038,849
Zürich🇨🇭 Switzerland3,75924,437
Milan🇮🇹 Italy2,57831,077

The first American cluster on the list, the San Francisco Bay Area, is home to major tech companies such as Adobe, eBay, Google, and PayPal.

Along with Cambridge in the United Kingdom, the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most S&T-intensive clusters relative to overall population density.

For the first time, China topped the list of countries with the highest number of clusters among the top 100, having 24 total. The United States follows, with 21 clusters, then Germany with nine.

In addition, nearly every Chinese cluster rose in the rankings compared to last year, with only Beijing falling by one place.

São Paulo (Brazil); Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, and Mumbai (India); Tehran (Islamic Republic of Iran); Istanbul and Ankara (Türkiye); and Moscow (Russian Federation) are the only middle-income economy clusters outside China.

According to the Global Innovation Index, the U.S. leads in research and development (R&D) expenditure, followed by China, Japan, Germany, and the Republic of Korea.

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