“Fail Fast. Succeed Faster.”
As an entrepreneur of a growing business, you will learn this adage to be true.
According to statistics, less than 50 percent of new business survive the first five years, while only about a quarter make it past 10 years. If your business happens to be in one of the riskier industries, such as a restaurant or retail store, the likelihood of failure is even bigger. So while many entrepreneurs open their doors with the expectation of a long and prosperous road ahead, the unfortunate certainty is that most will be forced to reconsider. However, we have a reason to be grateful to those willing to take the risk of starting their own businesses; It is well known that small businesses employ more than half of our country’s workforce.
I’m confident that the truths I have learned in the twenty plus years since starting my first business can help when applied to any startup.
1. Have a plan but don’t be afraid to alter it. Once up and running, most of my business looked drastically different from what I had envisioned in my original business plans. Over time, in every business, I realized where the greatest supply and demand imbalance existed in that market and I positioned my company to compete where it had a better chance.
2. Have patience. Regardless of how quickly you anticipate your business taking off, it will not happen overnight. My first customers were the toughest to obtain, but once I had a positive track record established, business came easier as I had credibility. That being said, once business picked up, it was not an invitation for me to rest on my laurels.
3. Always strive for growth, but make sure you are prepared for it. Growth that occurs too rapidly can have a devastating effect on business. As a good rule of thumb, customers are generally not forgiving. You need to ensure that your customer feels his or her business is valued, especially if it is first-time business. Not having the proper resources available to handle an increased customer base is a quick way of destroying the value of your brand that you have worked so diligently to build.
4. The hardest part is finding the right people. There is a good reason why the most significant expense of almost any business is the employees. You may have a fantastic idea but if you lack the right people to implement and manage the business, the possibility of success quickly diminishes. For some of my businesses, the small operating budget made attracting top talent difficult. However, I realized that by creating a fair and results oriented remuneration system, I generally could come up with attractive offers and get top talent involved. It is important to avoid cutting corners to save a buck on top of the people that can make or break your business, because more frequently than not, it will come back to bite you.
5. Network. The more people you meet, the more people you know that can set your business on the course to success, and if you are a good listener, its like you are running on a multiplier. It’s always difficult going to networking events but it is well worth it. I generally pick up great concepts when attending meet-ups and talking to other entrepreneurs, I adapt and combine these ideas to form something new that suit my business and my resources.
In a world where 75 percent or more of startups fail within 2 years, it is important to have a plan, adapt and do it fast. The sooner you realize that something is failing, the quicker you can fix it and the faster you will ultimately succeed. When something is not working, change course keeping these 5 Steps to successfully execute “Fail Fast. Succeed Faster.”.