In a previous post, we talked about having discipline, scheduling your days, being organized, and having a routine as important keys to the success of your new business. But, what if you’re a more seasoned entrepreneur who is already doing all of that? As your company is seeing more and more success, it can become harder to stay on top of everything. If you’ve realized you need to try something new to ensure your customers stay happy- you’ve come to the right place. We’ve been there! In this post, we’ll share tips and resources to help you stay disciplined when your business is a little further down the road to success.
As you’ve likely learned by now, when you own a business, the buck literally stops with you. Every success and every failure sit squarely on your shoulders. As harsh as that statement may seem, those of us who have been running our businesses for a while know it is the truth. It was your ideas and passion, your hard work and long hours- and your blood, sweat, and tears that got you to where you are today. And it will be your discipline, passion, and commitment that keeps your business going in the right direction. Nobody is more invested in the success of your company than you are.
In January of 2021, Entrepreneur.com published the following statistics about the percentage of businesses that survive by the end of a decade of operations:
“According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as reported by Fundera, approximately 20 percent of small businesses fail within the first year. By the end of the second year, 30 percent of businesses will have failed. By the end of the fifth year, about half will have failed. And by the end of the decade, only 30 percent of businesses will remain — a 70 percent failure rate.”
Yes, you read that right. An estimated SEVENTY percent of business will fail in the first decade of operation. Keep in mind, there are always caveats with broad statistics like this, and the figures may be higher or lower depending on a lot of different variables (and who is reporting them). But, even if the 70% estimate is close to reality, that feels like a scary number. So, what can you do to be in the 30% who make it? The answer to that question lacks a “silver bullet” answer, unfortunately.
If yours is one of the companies lucky enough to have made it five, ten, or more years into operation, you are doing something right. Other successful entrepreneurs featured in this Money.com article share a little about what they did right in this helpful resource. As many of them will tell you, self-discipline is what makes a dream turn into reality. It IS what got you to where you are today, and it IS what you must continue to practice as your business grows.
As a seasoned entrepreneur, you’ve likely been practicing some serious self-discipline for years. Sustaining that level of dedication is what will help you stay in it for the long haul. This insightful 2016 article from the Harvard Business Review takes a deep dive into the “biology” of corporate survival- which is complex and with many variables. The article encourages leaders to ask themselves “how can we win this game?”- a good read, for sure.
To figure out how to win your game (without drowning in your ever-growing list of responsibilities), take inventory of everything you’re doing today and evaluate where changes can/need to be made to reflect your new reality. Simply put- as the adage goes- try to work smarter, not harder. See what you can hand off to trusted members of your team. Determine what tasks or functions can be outsourced. Today’s outsourcing options may be more affordable than you think, and the investment could pay for itself quickly as it frees you up to focus on other priorities.
Most importantly- maintain that strict self-discipline. Always be mindful not to drift off into territory that doesn’t support your goals, it will distract you from the prize. You’ve got this!