As little as one in 10 new businesses make it to the five-year mark, according to varied statistics.
Every entrepreneur knows it’s tough to keep a business going. Even with the utmost determination and hard work, sometimes it just doesn’t work out. However, sometimes it does. And those success stories are sweet.
We recently had one of those sweet moments of victory at Cutler PR as we celebrated our five-year anniversary last month. It felt like a great reason to reflect on where we’ve been and where we plan to go.
It certainly wasn’t easy to get here. Here are five ways we were able to get to the five-year mark, which I’d like to share to help your company reach this milestone:
1. Focus on building the infrastructure.
Once a company reaches the five-year mark, there’s an infrastructure that guides new hires and current team members. There is a know-how among a strong and stable team, and the reputation that has been built lends itself to a word-of-mouth referral base.
When starting something from the ground up, all those things have to be built from scratch. It’s like building a house from nothing vs. adding a floor to a skyscraper. Pay attention to building a sound infrastructure so your foundation is strong.
2. Have very tough skin.
Rejection will come regularly and there will be plenty of little -- and big -- failures. At times, it will take sheer willpower to move forward. This makes it all that much sweeter in the end.
Just be careful not to grow such a tough skin that the successes become just like the failures and there is a void of celebration when successes occur. Learn how to take constructive and negative criticism and use it to grow and become stronger. All those failures should be a catalyst to work even harder. And success should be celebrated.
3. They’re right -- it truly is all about the customer.
When trying to build a name and brand, it is critical to go above and beyond for customers. This is especially critical in the beginning years as the business grows its customer base.
Stand out and turn customers into believers and fans. That’s the key. Once a few fans have developed, they will provide that crucial step in providing legitimacy, case studies and references. They will become the cheerleading team that can vouch for your great work.
4. Have a vision.
Having a malleable plan for where the company will be in one year, five years and even 10 years is critical. However, don’t get too attached to any specifics because the plan will likely be altered significantly over time.
Staying true to that plan can only be helpful if it is still guiding the business in the right direction and helping it grow. Industries change and circumstances change. Be flexible and willing to pivot when needed.
The five-year mark won’t be attainable without a real sense of commitment to get there. It’s not going to be easy. In fact, not getting there would be a lot easier.
Make it a goal to get to the finish line and stick to it. Once the finish line has been reached, create a new finish line. Use the failures and tough times for motivation to keep going and celebrate and reflect on successes, even the little ones.
Related: Reach These Startup Milestones