Why do most businesses fail? A perspective from a bookkeeper

Today is a big day for us here at Bountiful Money! I’m here to introduce you to Charissa Samco with Above LLC. She is the first guest poster on my blog. I met Charissa through a local bookkeeping networking group here in Portland called Portland Woodard Group, and we just hit it off! She has such a fantastic outlook towards the bookkeeping profession, and I love her kindness and dedication to the success of her clients.

The last time we met, she made a startling and saddening observation - she has had to help several of her clients wrap up and close their businesses this last year, and she noticed a pattern. So if you are a small business owner, or thinking about starting your own business, I want you to read what she has to say!

I began bookkeeping because I love helping small business owners understand the financial story of their business. My clients allow me into a very intimate part of their lives – their money. Though I am only looking at their business accounts, I also get a feel for their personal financial practices. I am honored, and hold this trust with highest regard.

These past few months as a bookkeeper have been some of the toughest I have ever encountered. Four of my clients have had to close their businesses. At first, I thought this reflected badly on my bookkeeping abilities, but after more reflection, I saw a pattern. All four businesses were profitable and their owners were good at what they did. However, three of the four owners struggled in their personal finances before starting their business and all four had accumulated large amounts of debt with high interest payments. All four had trouble keeping their business and personal finances separated and only two were able to take a wage from their business.

The Small Business Association (SBA) states that 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years and 66% during the first 101 2. I personally can attest that this is true, but I believe there is a solution. Here is the most important advice I can give to any small business owner or someone who wants to open a business. Are you listening? Are you ready to hear this? I promise, it will impact your business.


Whatever you do in your personal life will translate over to your business. I strongly believe that if any one of these business owners had met with a money coach and built a good relationship with money, their business would still be operating and they would be making enough money to support their families. A business is an asset. Like a house or a car. But a business is also a passion and it is hard to separate passion from practicality. The money side is the practical side and must be dealt with. The sooner you address your relationship with money, the better chance your business has of working for you and not against you.

Thank you Charissa for your amazing insights! Folks, if you want to talk to an amazing bookkeeper, drop her a line!

  1. https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/Business-Survival.pdf 

  2. https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/SB-FAQ-2016_WEB.pdf 

Are you struggling with debt, spending, or your relationship with money? Schedule your free one-hour Money Empowerment Session to better understand your money stories, and get recommendations for taking the next step to healing your relationship with money!

I also run a group Money Empowerment Monthly meeting here in Portland! It is a safe, fun environment where you can talk about your greatest money fears and issues a facilitated peer group. You can sign up on Meetup.
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About the author

I work with individuals and couples to create a healthy relationship with money, in person or online. I can help you save money, pay down debt, and experience financial bliss! You can read more about working with me or sign up for a free session! Let's Talk »