There was a lovely article in Forbes that said 8 out of 10 businesses fail in 18 months. The SBA is a lot more optimistic. They claim that 30% fail in two years and 50% fail in five. I saw one stat that said 96% of businesses fail in 10 years.
All very cheery stats.
Today, Epic Dog Studios made it to two years. I have a combination of pride and being sick to my stomach. Pride in the team that got us this far – we have awesome people that work very hard and awesome friends and mentors that helped us. And being sick to my stomach, wishing that I knew two years ago what I know now.
I completely understand why businesses fail at that rate. There is a monumental learning curve that you must learn by doing at some point. I don’t know if education alone would make you successful – I don’t think so.
So, quick birthday lessons learned:
- Get a mentor with business experience before you even start. They will teach you important things like unrecognized revenue and operating performance ratios.
- Educate yourself on reading financial statements. There is no excuse not to be able to talk about specifics on your P&L in casual conversation
- Make sure you can pay your own bills. You need to have enough cash to be able to start the business and still feed your kids.
- Have a customer base first and then a product. Paying customers are more important than the coolest product out there. If no one wants it, it doesn’t matter.
We’ve been lucky, we’ve worked hard, and (apparently) we are too stubborn to give up. Thank you to everyone that has helped Epic Dog Studios get to two years.
Sarah Williams is CEO of Epic Dog Studios. She started content creation in the eLearning space and transitioned into software development then to video content. And she really does love dogs.