Starting a business is not for the risk averse. But in an effort to help entrepreneurs assess just how much risk is associated with launching or running their business, StartupNation.com, a website that provides business advice and networking for entrepreneurs, recently introduced an Odds of Success Calculator.
The business valuation device calculates a business owner's odds of success based on eight factors: amount of capital investment, difficulty in obtaining funds, quality of financial management, degree of business planning, annual industry growth rate, management experience, industry experience and timeframe.
After a short questionnaire, the online tool computes the probability of success by accessing a database that compares the company against hundreds of thousands of data points of other companies.
Calculating risk is imperative for starting any business. But just how accurate and trustworthy is even the cleverest business valuation tool?
The Wall Street Journal blog, Venture Capital Dispatch, tested the calculator using Twitter's information. The Odds of Success Calculator gave Twitter a 46 percent odds of success over the next five years. The lack of confidence shown by the online tool for one of the most revolutionary startups underscores the improbability for any algorithm, much less one constructed of only eight variables, to provide accurate or even directional guidance. Think about it. If you were Evan Williams, the chief executive of Twitter, would you quit?
That said, the Odds of Success Calculator addresses critical components like debt and management experience for any novice entrepreneur to consider. The calculator was born in response to the growing interest of visitors who wanted to learn whether they were on the right track or not. And the tool's entertainment appeal, with its quick, definitive results, is tough to pass on.