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Their Rookie Season

Coaching tips from three entrepreneurs who made the first-year cut

This story appears in the June 2010 issue of Start Up.

Everyone says surviving the first year in is the hardest. Actually, the odds are in your favor--even though conventional wisdom would suggest that most companies fail in their first 12 months. In fact, seven out of 10 make it to the age of 2, and roughly half make it to five years or more, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's department of Business Dynamics Statistics. Still, it's rough out there, and all the stats in the world can't prepare you for entrepreneurial hardball. You have a lot to learn, and you don't know what you don't know. But like any rookie, you can study the players who came before you and benefit from their experience. To help, we've asked three successful small-business founders in different parts of the country, and in very different fields, to share the lessons of their own rookie year.

The Players:

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