One of the most interesting things about statistics on entrepreneurs and new business is how wide ranging they are. Some get cited as urban wisdom — like the venerable “80% of all new businesses fail in ten years. Or when filtered through cyberspace, make that 90% fail in just five. But recently, the stats I’ve seen say the five year number is much closer to 50%. That is, half of all business start-ups are no longer in operation after five years. About 70% are no longer operating by year ten.
Now wait a minute. These statistics about “failures” are what the average Optimizer enjoys citing as “proof” that entrepreneurship is a dismal risk–why they are not foolish enough to try it. Are you kidding me???
If these numbers are true, it means that almost 50% are SUCCEEDING–still alive and kicking after 5 years! Employing their founders and associates, feeding families and offering the chance for financial, personal and emotional independence. Even if it were only 20% still in business, that’s still an astonishingly positive number and it’s under YOUR control. People throw hundreds of dollars a year playing the state lotteries with odds like 80 billion to one. And by the way, the companies that cease operations don’t necessarily collapse into a smoking hulk after those five years. Businesses can be sold, transferred, merged or re-purposed–not just declared bankrupt.
And here’s something we definitely know. An entrepreneur’s chances of succeeding go up significantly--like by 30% the second time he or she tries. And even more the third time. This lottery starts to look like a non-lottery after a while doesn’t it? Hardly a game of chance. Seems like the operating principle ought to be get started, learn as you go and keep on swinging. Your chances of long term job security seem about as high if you choose to be an entrepreneur creating employment, as they’d be if you were a job seeker hoping a corporate employer will hand you an opportunity–then let you keep it for more than five years. The Navy SEALs will tell you that ‘it’s always better to do it than have it done to you;’ and we at The UnStoppables.com believe in one maxim– ‘daring pays dividends.’ The business you started may be something else or somewhere else after five years. But you will be far ahead of where you could have possibly been in experience, wisdom, professional savvy and growth potential than you could possibly have been otherwise.
Entrepreneurship a dismal risk for irresponsible gamblers. That stats show, it’s a pretty darn good bet.