5 Tips to Make It 15+ Years

This great infographic from Business Insider breaks down the stats on US small business.  Here are the big rocks:

  • 1/2 the population works for a small business
  • Small business created 2/3’s of the new (net) jobs since ’95
  • It’s risky… 75% of startups don’t make it 15+years

Here are some thoughts on making it 15+ years:

  • Believe.  Henry Ford is credited with saying, “Whether you think you can or can’t.  You’re right.” Earl Nightengale, a forefather of positive thinking, said, “We become what we think about.”
  • “Brains + Hard Work + Positive Attitude = Success.” This was shared by a successful uncle. He was right.
  • Work, Work, Work…. Ever had a competition where the opponent (who you thought you were better than) refused to give up, you hated it, and eventually they won.  Outwork the competition.
  • Surround yourself with people who “set the bar.” Growing up as a kid on my parents farm, my mom had a poster with a bunch of butterflies.  On the top of the poster were happy butterflies.  On the bottom, not happy ones.  She said, “Tom, we become like those we hang around.” Momma was right.
  • “We never can should have.” The only path to where we now is the sum of all choices to today. “Shoulding” all over selves is just that. Every month or so, I meet with an entrepreneur who wants advice on starting a business (usually a child of someone I know… which makes me feel old).  A common question is “How do I avoid making mistakes?” My response is that making mistakes is part of getting work done.  A favorite story to make this point involves my dad.  One winter, on break from university, I was cutting firewood.  The first step was to use a log chain to pull the fallen tree into a clear area.  I hooked the log chain to the tree, got in the truck, put it in gear, and revved the engine.  Nothing happened… so, I revved it more.  Then there was a loud snap.  I had the parking brake on and sheared the axel.  I walked home and was met by my father.  I feared the worse.  When I told him what happened, he said, “If you did nothing, you’d make no mistakes.”