Cleveland Hustles: The Hustle Continues

A common reason many entrepreneurs fail (and how to avoid it)

Starting a business isn't easy. Only half of all new companies survive past the five-year mark, according to the Small Business Administration.

But business owners would face better odds if they were able to step back from the day-to-day operations, according to Bonin Bough, host of CNBC's "Cleveland Hustles" and former chief media and e-commerce officer at Mondelez International.

"Most small-business owners are really focused on getting maybe to the next week, maybe to the next month, so they really tend to be heads down, which they should be because they need to be operators," Bough says. "But, at the same time, what I want [from] them is to not forget that there is a bigger opportunity."

Bonin Bough
Christopher Polk | NBC
Bonin Bough

Being able to focus on larger opportunities beyond those that exist in the present can help drive businesses to new heights, Bough says, even if they aren't fully prepared.

For example, some entrepreneurs avoid pursuing bigger accounts because the company might not have full production or distribution yet. But securing an out-of-reach client can act as a catalyst "to make sure that you get that as fast as possible" rather than slowly figuring it out over time.

Of course, the "figuring it out" part is easier said than done. By emulating similar companies' successes, entrepreneurs can significantly lessen their workloads, Bough says.

B. Bonin Bough, Former Chief Media & eCommerce Officer at Mondelez International
Mike Pont | Getty images
B. Bonin Bough, Former Chief Media & eCommerce Officer at Mondelez International

"The road map has usually been built some place," he says. "So finding that road map, or whatever is a correlation to it, is really understanding what it takes and how they've gotten there. If you want to create a craft soda, what's the best place to look? Craft beers."

But in order to ensure a business owner is able to capitalize and deliver on all of the larger opportunities in front of them and still ensure day-to-day operations, Bough recommends keeping an eye on what many entrepreneurs can easily overlook: funding.

"A lot of businesses forget that capital tends to be the lifeblood of growth. And so they get great ideas, they get far, but they don't have the next access to capital," he said. "Other business owners that have been down that road have learned the hard way to reinvest. That's what it's going to take."