Are you afraid of failing in business?

The risk of failure is high for any business. Failure is a possibility for any business from San Diego web designers to freelance writers. It makes sense to look at why businesses fail to avoid repeating their mistakes.

Here are seven examples of business failures which will help you succeed.

1. Enron

Businesses fail for many reasons. Some are more outrageous than others. Enron was famously known as “the smartest guys in the room.” That label became ironic when Enron went from being valued at $90 billion to bankruptcy. Enron’s downfall is a tale of corporate misdealing and rampant greed. The company’s fall involved insider trading, shredded documents, and partnerships with shell companies. Enron wrote the book on how to fail big in business. It is a valuable case study for entrepreneurs and others concerned with how big businesses can make big financial mistakes.

2. is a cautionary tale for anyone considering hopping on the latest business bandwagon. spent a fortune on a nationwide chain of warehouses and marketing. Their sales never matched the outlay. In 2000, was a victim of the dot-com bubble bursting. Its share price fell from $11 to $.19 before the year was over.

3. Polaroid

Polaroid is the classic example of a business being behind the times. As cameras became digital and attached themselves to cell phones, Polaroid’s product became retro. The famous point, shoot, and shake Polaroid camera may have hipster appeal, but that’s all. In 2005, Polaroid went bankrupt. It will likely never be a major player in photography again.

4. RJ Reynolds

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. This is the lesson of RJ Reynolds’ 1989 experiment with smokeless cigarettes. In the 1980s, the news that cigarettes caused health problems went mainstream. RJ Reynolds responded by investing $300 million in developing smokeless cigarettes. This novel product was a complete failure and disappeared within months.

5. DeLorean

John DeLorean is an extreme case of the dangers of a company’s success being pinned to its founder. The sleek, futuristic DeLorean was seen as the future of motoring in the 1980s. Its reputation was boosted by a starring role in Back to the Future. However, when DeLorean was caught with a suitcase full of cocaine, he took his company down with him.

6. Orbitz soda

Orbitz proves that a good gimmick isn’t always enough. Orbitz soda had little bits floating in it which made it look like a lava lamp. Although Orbitz appearance was attractive to kids, its taste wasn’t. Orbitz soda’s failure was largely blamed on its poor taste. It disappeared from shelves quickly but is a collector’s item on eBay.

7. Facebook Home

Even the most successful and innovative companies can fail. That’s what Facebook discovered in 2013 when it launched Facebook Home. For a mere $99 per year, Facebook Home used your Facebook wall to decorate your phone’s home screen. The resulting background looked messy and was heavy on battery. The price soon tumbled from $99 to $.99, but even that wasn’t enough to save it from failure.

Anyone involved in business would do well to study these failures. The only way to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past is to learn from them!

photo credit: Corey Templeton Canyon via photopin (license)