How to Survive the First Five Years of Business
A new business venture is like a new marriage: it’s really exciting and fun; then it’s a lot of work and fun. Then it’s a lot of work and not so fun; and then it’s just a ton of work mired with headache after headache and you are learning way too many hard-earned lessons and wondering how you got here. But if you can survive the first two to three years, you will likely make it for the long haul and reap the rewards, which are bountiful.
Frances Kweller, entrepreneur and founder of Kweller Prep, a learning incubator specializing in advanced test preparation in New York, offers the following tips on how to survive the first five years of business:
Make a Commitment
When you start that startup its very important that you make a commitment to yourself that you are going to stay in business for at least five years. The vast majority of businesses that fail do so within the first two or three years. It’s true that the first two years in business is the hardest, especially for someone who is brand new to owning a business, has no experience managing staff or dealing with accounting or bookkeeping. However, these are the years that you will learn the most and glean the most wisdom and knowledge that will pay you back in spades later on. When you set out to build your businesses commit to five to stay alive.
Have a Long-Term Plan
One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is to think in the short-term. Statistically, the majority of people who succeed in business have long term goals in mind when they start a new venture. Don't open a business because you want instant gratification or because you want to make money in your first or second year because it’s likely not going to happen. In fact, you should be prepared to lose money in your first and second year. The first two years are extremely hard. However, as you enter your third and fourth year you’ve ironed out most the bumps and kinks.
Establish Good Credit
The longer you’re in business the better it is for you to establish credit. Leasing corporations usually look for a three-year history ofbusiness in order to offer a leasing plan so something as simple as leasing a printer may not even be possible if you haven’t been in business long enough. Chase can offer a business line of credit but you have to be in business for three years. It’s okay to show a history of loss so long as you show them that you’re in it for the long haul and fighting to keep the business alive.
Plan for Success, Not Failure
Many entrepreneurs set out with failure in mind and not success, which doesn’t even make sense, now does it? When you set your new business goals, set your mind for absolute success and that is where you will end up. There are lots of great ideas that succeed because business owners believe they will, and if a business fails, it doesn't always mean that the idea wasn't a good one. It could just mean that it wasn't baked properly in the first place, or it wasn’t the right time for that particular idea.
Don’t be Afraid to Succeed
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as fear of success, the absolute opposite problem of setting out to fail. Many of us have this fear way down deep and we sabotage our own success subconsciously with a deep seeded fear of success. What will I do if I actually achieve this goal and so much is expected of me? It’s a very real fear. Be honest with yourself if you fall in to this camp and keep your fears in check to make this new businesses venture a success from the start.
Go with the Flow
Understanding when you need to make a change is very important in any business. For example, if you’re business might be more robust online, make it an online business. If your business is better in a certain location, change it. Cater to your audience’s needs and be willing to take honest criticism and accept change. Also, be open to new technology and trying new things like social media. Its’ always scary in the beginning but if you stick it out your business will grow and you will benefit in the long run.