Are there any good statistics out there not just on the failure % of startups, but the reasons associated with those failures?


There's a lot of rhetoric, on both sides, about why businesses succeed and fail, but I've seen really no good numbers backing up the claims of either major political party. (in the US)

Sure, spending more money will drive more business, but that's not addressing things like high overhead (of one type or another) killing a business, which both parties like to claim either credit for themselves, or fault in the other party for.

Are there any actual statistics out there, say from bankruptcy filings, which dissect why the businesses died, which could be used as a basis for prescriptive policy to address (undesirable) reasons why businesses fail?

Statistics Failure

asked Jun 1 '12 at 16:51
Splinter Reality
106 points

2 Answers

answered Jun 1 '12 at 17:11
Henry The Hengineer
4,316 points
  • Although this supplies some of the reasons for failure, and a good number of statistics about them, what I'm really looking for is a chart listing reasons for failure, and how many businesses ended that way, so this doesn't quite meet my criteria for useful statistics for policy making relating to the (many) specific reasons businesses fail. – Splinter Reality 11 years ago
  • Here's one with qualitative explanations based on a much smaller sample size (32): The Hengineer 11 years ago


Good question.

Failure is a downward spiral with many turns, not an explosion - that's why it's nearly impossible to pinpoint a single reason which lead to it, or to dissect it as you say. It's not exact science, and everybody has an opinion on it.

Instead of number crunching, I would highly recommend books that deal with actual failure experiences, such as The Lean Startup by Eric Ries or Good to Great by Jim Collins. They highlight some important reasons why companies fail.

answered Jun 1 '12 at 20:57
561 points

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Statistics Failure