Surviving & Thriving Your First Five Years in Business

Surviving & Thriving Your First Five Years in Business

Sep 04, 2020InTandem Promotions

InTandem Promotions is turning five this year. Which compared to organizations that have been in business for decades or centuries, is not monumental. To me, it’s a huge milestone. Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the stats for business owners is not good. According to the statistics, 80% of businesses with employees will survive their first year of business. But, by their fifth year in business, only 50% of businesses with employees will survive. Yikes!

When I decided to take the leap and build InTandem, it was more out of necessity. Things were changing in my previous organization and there was a difference of beliefs and future direction. All of a sudden, I found myself filling out paperwork to create a corporation. And here we are. InTandem will be turning five this coming June. What I have learned in the last five years, is more than I could have learned in all of my years of schooling. Professionally and personally, I have grown as a human and am still amazed in reflecting on InTandem’s accomplishments especially in the relatively short timeframe. Looking back, I can absolutely attribute InTandem’s success to 6 key areas. The funny thing is, if you are starting out in your own business, you already intuitively know them. You just have to actually apply them.

  1. Cash is king. Whatever amount you think you need to start a business, double/triple/and quadruple it. And do all you can with cash. Limit your borrowing to only what you have to. Leverage your knowledge of what is right with your personal finances and do the same with your business finances. Don’t overspend. Save. But do what is necessary to enable the business to breathe and grow.
  2. Your team can come from the most unlikely sources. I love my team and have been amazingly fortunate to be part of their success! But they did not come to InTandem from the usual online sources. They have come to InTandem through close relationships and friendships over the years – friends on the soccer field, a previous client, a friend of a client, my daughter’s boyfriends mom, etc. Seeing people for who they are, their potential, and the skills that they have is what will build a successful team. You never know where your next hire will come from. Constantly seek and find amazing talent to grow your organization. Brainstorm about your next hire or the hole that you have within your organization and seek out individuals that exhibit those strengths (regardless of their resume). Watching people in their “real-life” showcases their true talent and you won’t be disappointed.
  3. Be human. When I was an assistant, a partner came to the office and asked me to get him a cup of coffee so that he could meet with my boss. Now, that partner is doing business with InTandem. You never know where your next client, partner, or relationship will come from. No matter a person’s stage of life, be human. Treat people with respect.
  4. Your reputation is everything. And it follows you everywhere. I was fortunate to have built a strong reputation at my previous organization. I treated everyone with respect. I was fair in my approach in handling challenges. I worked hard to make every opportunity an advantage on both sides. To my complete surprise, when I opened my doors, those same relationships opened their arms to InTandem. Partners gave us credit when we didn’t have any. They provided samples, ideas, and offered amazing advice for which I will be forever indebted. Without those relationships, we would not be where we are today.
  5. Never stop learning. Throughout my career, every opportunity that I have been given has been a stepping stone for the next. Every position that I held, I learned from it. I worked my tail off consistently exceeding the expectations set forth but always striving for more of myself. Yes, there were many times where I felt I was passed over for a promotion or I would have been better for a certain position. But each time, I watched the person that received the promotion and worked to learn from them. I soaked in every opportunity. And that has given me the knowledge, strength and insight to grow and build InTandem. But I don’t stop learning. I continue to seek advice from professionals, to read as much as I can, to take classes, and build on what I have already learned. 
  6. Keep grinding. It sounds cliche but five years in and I have worked harder and longer now than I did when I was just starting out. Owning a business means that you give it all that you are and all that you have. You hustle. You work late nights. You seek constant balance. You don’t get to shut your computer down at night or turn off your phone for texts. You don’t take vacations without being accessible. In owning a successful business that beats the odds, you give it all you have 24/7. You will face adversity. You will encounter hills and valleys. Just keep moving. Tweak what you have learned. Do not stop. Do not allow fear to consume you.

InTandem is not only surviving, we are thriving. We are in the 50% success statistic and in 10 years we’ll be in the 30% of businesses who survive. Looking forward to the next round of lessons to come.


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