THRIVE in your Business Venture

29.08.23 04:47 PM

...don't just survive (or worse)!

Defying the Odds in the First 1, 2, and 5 Years

Starting a new business is a thrilling venture, fueled by innovative ideas, entrepreneurial spirit, and dreams of success. However, the path to success is often paved with challenges, and the statistics surrounding startup failure appear to be discouraging. In this blog, we'll delve into the percentages of new business startups that fail within the first 1, 2, and 5 years, and explore strategies to defy the odds and build a sustainable, thriving business. However, I want to go much deeper than that. 

Something struck me, while, believe it or not, watching a movie over the weekend- regarding the incredible amount of negative messaging that we are subjected to each minute of each hour of each day. The barrage of negative messaging is incessant- and makes it so difficult to maintain a positive mindset. However, positivity must reign in order to us to succeed- in life, in academics, in sports, and in business. My mission both this article and in my business is to raise the bar - to make real progress in CHANGING the reality of the numbers around success rates for new businesses. 

Let's Review the Negative Side First: Startup Failure Rates

According to research, the failure rates for new startups are substantial. While exact percentages may vary based on industry, location, and economic conditions, the general trend remains consistent. Here's a glimpse into the survival rates of startups:

  1. First Year: Within the first 12 months of operation, 20-30% of startups fail. This vulnerable period is characterized by challenges in finding a product-market fit, establishing a customer base, and managing early financial strains. On the flip side, this means that 70-80% made it through that first year! Awesome...on to year 2.  

  2. Second Year: During the second year, the failure rate increases further, with approximately 45-50% of those who started less than 24 months earlier having now shut down. Why? Increased competition, cash flow issues, and evolving market dynamics contribute to the heightened risk. Again, this means that 50-55% are still rolling along.

  3. Fifth Year: By the fifth year, roughly 70-80%—have succumbed. This is a critical milestone, as businesses face the complexities of scaling, sustaining growth, and managing internal and external challenges. Okay, admittedly this number is a bit more daunting- 20-30% have made it this far. doesn't HAVE to be this way. I truly want to change the odds.   

Changing the Odds: Strategies for Thriving

The statistics above do look less than ideal. This article is about positivity, so let's focus. By understanding common pitfalls and implementing strategies for resilience, you can significantly enhance your startup's chances of survival.

  1. MINDSET: I've come to realize that MINDSET is absolutely critical. So much of what I'm writing below are the practical how-to's, stuff you can get anywhere-and which are true and make sense.....However, without the right mindset, we're lost. The world around us continues to simply pummel us with negative messaging every day. The stats written above have negativity oozing from them and I'm trying to write this article from a positive place. I caution all readers- business owner or not- to be very discerning about the type of information you injest. Fear based messaging, negative messaging- all with a view towards manipulation, mind control and wallet control is rampant. Please be so careful with what you consume!

  2. Start With A Coach: This appears self serving, but it is so critical. My mission is to change the percentages around success. I want to see MORE successful businesses and business owners. You didn't learn math without a teacher. You didn't learn to skate, throw a ball or dance without a guide, coach or mentor. Why in the world you would you take on a huge undertaking, loaded with risk and odds stacked against you(as noted above)- without someone to walk the journey with you? You've got to have the right mindset- not just a success mindset like some gurus might preach, but also a true business ownership mindset- which is VASTLY different from that of an employee. There are so many reasons FOR having a coach, yet so few hire one. Then we see the reality of the numbers. Coincidence? I think not. The number of people who contact me AFTER the problems have started is astounding. Be PROACTIVE. 

  3. Thorough Market Research: I've said this before, and my clients hear it all the time- What problem is your business trying to solve? How is this idea/business/solution tied to your personal, internal why or purpose? Lay a solid foundation by conducting thorough market research. Understand how your business solves a market problem, who your target audience is, their needs, and the competitive landscape. A deep understanding of your market will guide your service/product development and sales/marketing strategies.

  4. Strong Value Proposition: Develop a clear and compelling value proposition that sets your business apart. Communicate how your product or service addresses a pain point for your customers in a unique and valuable way. Your value proposition or unique selling proposition is critical to your sucess. Is your value proposition connected back to your why? Does it clearly identify how your solution solves the market problem that your business is designed to solve?

  5. Comprehensive Business Plan: Build a business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and financial projections. A well-structured plan will serve as a roadmap and help you stay focused on your objectives. What are YOUR core values as the Business Owner and how do those Values inform your Vision and your Mission? Your coach will keep you on point in building this out.

  6. Financial Care: Manage your finances prudently. Stay lean and prioritize essential expenses. Regularly track your financial health and adapt your strategies as needed. However, make sure you have budgeted for critical line items-(for example, a Coach). Prioritize exceptional customer experiences. Engage with your customers, gather feedback, and iterate on your offerings based on their needs and preferences.

  7. Build a Strong Team: Surround yourself with a dedicated and skilled team. Your team's expertise and commitment can significantly impact your ability to navigate challenges and seize opportunities. Does your team buy into your Why? Your Vision? Your Mission? If not, why not? I recently attended a conference where one of the speakers talked about the Netflix example. Less people, but higher paid people who were the BEST at what they do. 

  8. Lifelong Learning: Stay curious and open to learning. Solicit and be open to receiving feedback- and not always the affirming kind. The business landscape evolves rapidly, and staying informed about industry trends and best practices is essential.

  9. Resilience and Perseverance: Business ownership is a journey- and it is filled with ups and downs. Maintaining resilience and perseverance during tough times can make all the difference. Things will not always be perfect, but your coach will ensure you maintain perspective.


The point of this article is to inspire hope from the perspective that you CAN make it. My goal is to change the odds- to stack them in your favour, and to bring daily messaging that supports the positives. Pursue your dreams-period. Do it! Get the right people around you first. Be proactive, not reactive. Trust your instincts. Don't get caught in your ego and try to do everything alone. Build a business that stands the test of time. Remember that every challenge is an opportunity for growth, and with the right mindset and a solid plan, you can carve out your path to success.

Jeff Walters