September 11


Top 10 Reasons People Fail in Business

By Michael Q. Pink

September 11, 2014

business, counsel, lack of confidence, lack of knowledge, negative talk, pride, teamwork, without a vision

Top Ten Concept on Golden Compass.

1. Lack of knowledge

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) Ignorance is one of the biggest causes of lack, harm, and failure that I know of and yet it is so easy to remedy. On average college grads with a bachelors degree earn about $1,000,000 more in their lifetime than high school grads. That’s no coincidence!

When I started my publishing company in the ‘80’s, we called the 6000 or so Christian bookstores to sell my books. My strategy was to arrange them by geographic region and assign roughly 1500 stores to each of my four telemarketers. They in turn would call them by time zone to maximize effectiveness, or so we thought!

When we sold Hidden Manna Publishing to World Bible in 1993, I asked the new, much larger owners, how they worked their store sales and they informed me that they only called the top 20% of the stores who did 80% of the business. If I had known to do that, I could have had one telemarketer instead of four and our results would have been much better. The rest of the stores could order from our distributor. See the difference that knowledge can make? (That’s a good enough reason for you to join our webinar today or tomorrow.)

2. Lack of vision

“Without a vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) One translation reads that without a vision, people “cast off restraint”. Without a clear sense of direction they won’t exercise restraint, self-control or self-discipline. Without a clear sense of direction, you are driving blind. Any road will do and any turn looks good. Vision allows focus. Focus provides clarity. Clarity allows decision. Decisions lead to action. Action creates results. Get clear on your vision or suffer the consequences.

3. Lack of confidence

“Elijah came near to all the people and said, How long will you halt and limp between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word.” (1 Kings 18:21) Lack of confidence causes indecision. When you do decide, there is lack of conviction and it’s easy to get knocked off course. Confidence is another word for faith and faith comes by hearing what God has in mind and believing that. Lack of confidence is often caused by lack of knowledge, so you can boost your confidence when you know what you are to do and how.

James tells us that the double minded man should not expect anything from the Lord so if you find yourself vacillating between two opinions, you need to pull off the road and get with the Lord. Pursue Him with all your heart. Wait for Him. He loves to speak to you. Sometimes through His Word. Sometimes to your heart. Sometimes through others, but always in agreement with His written Word. Wait until you have that confidence and then move boldly into your future.

4. Lack of diligence

When you don’t put in the effort, you won’t get the result. God does not reward the slack-handed. Lack of effort is usually a result of lack of vision. Here is a Scripture compilation on the topic…

Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be done diligently! (1) 1 He that diligently seeks good obtains favor, (2) and he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. (3)

The hand of the diligent shall bear rule (4) and make rich, but the slack handed (5) slothful man shall be under tribute (4) and become poor. (5) The slothful (6) sluggardly man desires but has nothing, (7) and even what he took in hunting he won’t bother to roast; (6) while the diligent man shall be made fat, (7) and his substance is precious. (6)

The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want. (8) A diligent man knows the state of his flocks and condition of his herds, (9) and he will stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean men. (10)

1) Ezra 7:23 2) Proverbs 11:27 3) Hebrews 11:6 4) Proverbs 12:24 5) Proverbs 10:4 6) Proverbs 12:27 7) Proverbs 13:4 8) Proverbs 21:5 9) Proverbs 27:23 10) Proverbs 22:29

5. Negative talk

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21) What we say truly does affect our outcomes in life. Our tongue is the rudder that steers our life (James). It is small but greatly affects our destination! We tend to dismiss this truth and are casual or even reckless with our words, whether they are uttered or muttered. Ever heard the term, “loose lips sink ships”? Sometimes that ship is ours! Try steering your life today with well-chosen words that instill faith and provide clarity.

6. An unguarded heart

“Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences.” (Proverbs 4:23 from the Complete Jewish Bible) A more familiar version reads, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

This carries the meaning that your heart sets the boundaries of your life, much like a river is used to define borders (i.e.: Rio Grande between USA & Mexico). If left unguarded, all kinds of unwanted intrusions may occur and cause loss. So be careful what you allow to cross the boundaries you have in your heart, because your very life and well-being is at stake.

7. Lack of clarity

“For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8) It’s not only imperative to see clearly the vision, but for good success, you must be able to hear clearly as well. Too often our ears are filled with the noise of the world. We have not learned what to tune out and what to tune in. I remember reading about a man of native American descent who was walking downtown New York City with a businessman friend.

Without warning this native American who lived remotely and was only visiting the city, turned aside to an ally and found an unusual tree frog that had been making some noise. His city friend asked in amazement, “How did you hear that with all the noise of the city? No one else noticed that!”

The native American took a handful of coins from his pocket and threw them in the air. When they landed on the concrete, making their tinkling noise, every head turned to look. Then, he explained, “It depends what you have your ear tuned to.” What are you tuned into today? Who is filling your ears? Too much of the noise of the world will rob you of clarity and that leads to confusion.

8. Lack of teamwork

“And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12) In Psalms we read that one can put a thousand to flight and two can put ten thousand to flight. Throughout Scripture we see that a team always triumphs over individual effort. Too often we try to succeed without the help of others, and though we may enjoy a level of success, much more is possible with a team. Who is on your team? They don’t have to be employees. Could be advisors. Put together your dream team of support that you need to succeed and watch what a difference that will make!

9. Bad counsel

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, not stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth his fruit in season. His leaf also, does not fail and whatever he sets his hand to will prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3) I am amazed at how many Christians will look to Egypt for advice. They think nothing of sitting at the feet of a guru who walks in the ways of Egypt, but is rich and famous. They don’t even spit out the bones!

It’s one thing to get directions to the coffee shop from someone, but quite another to get life direction strategies and priorities from someone who is trying to teach you how to “release the giant within.” Drink from the fountain if you like, but in the end it is bitter. Or perhaps God was mistaken? (I think not!)

10. Pride / Friendship With The World

“God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) Only a fool fights against God! But what is pride? In my understanding, it is basically telling God, you can handle it. “I’ll call you when I need You”, and then you never call. The context here tells us that we have not because we ask not. That can be prideful. It goes on to say, that we sometimes ask, but only to consume on our lusts. God calls that, adultery! If that doesn’t matter to you, that is pride.

He goes on to say, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” You know you are in pride when you are friendly with the world, when you are comfortable conforming to the world, doing things their way, sharing the same motives and ungodly desires.

This is not to say you shouldn’t befriend those who are in the world and be a light for them, pleading with them to be reconciled to God. But we are not to partake of their sins (Revelation 18).  When we do, we will suffer the same consequences. Come out from her my people is the cry of the Spirit. We do well to heed that cry!

Succeeding in life consists of not only the things we do…

But also the things we choose not to do. If you want to know more about a Biblical framework for succeeding in business and ministry, then I urge you to join me for this afternoon’s webinar.

If you haven’t registered for today’s webinar for the Christian Business Institute, it’s not too late. It begins at 6:00 PM Eastern. If you can’t make that, I’ve added two more on Friday. If you were in yesterday’s and had to step away, this one is a bit different, but will cover everything of importance, I hope.

Here is where you can register. Hope to see you there!

Michael Q. Pink

About the author

Michael is America's leading authority on applying Biblical Wisdom and Natural Law to sales and business and has authored 19 books including The Bible Incorporated, Selling Among Wolves and God's Best Kept Secrets. Using that knowledge, he has helped thousands of professionals and entrepreneurs experience radical transformation in their lives and careers, including helping a start-up with 3 struggling sales reps turn the corner and become the 16th fastest growing company on the INC 500 list. 

  • Michael,
    That was an awesome blog. I am guilty. I am going to print that blog and put in my calendar (yes, I use an old fashioned Day Planner) so it will remind me each day of the way to get my head straight with Jesus. Thanks.

  • Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly!
    Yet where is the godly counsel in the world? So many people talk about God as the universe or mother nature in order not to offend anyone. Thank you Brother for your faithfulness. You are changing lives 🙂

    • Hi Mark;

      I appreciate the sincere and kind remarks you made. It seems there are fewer and fewer willing to be bold with their faith. People don’t need a diluted gospel. We all need the strength and encouragement that comes from the Lord and His word!

  • Ten excellent points. I would prefer to have them stated from the positive perspective of the 10 reasons people can succeed in business. You would reword the bullet points and then share from a positive perspective how that point would help us succeed. You could use the same verses as they would show what would happen, if for example, using point #1 if I did not have knowledge about my profession, product, etc.


  • Dan… You raise a valid point. I chose this way because I wanted to highlight things to avoid. I usually focus on the right things to do, but oftentimes, folks realize they need or want clarity for example, but don’t comprehend or calculate the cost of lack of clarity. Sometimes the negative consequence is a motivator as well. It’s kind of like Christianity in general… There is a heaven to gain and a God who loves us, and that does much to bring people to Christ, but there is also a hell to shun and a day of wrath that we are expressly warned to flee. So in conclusion, for me it’s not an either / or… It’s both.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment Dan.



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