Thursday, October 21, 2010

Breaking through the Platitudes

Even the SBA likes to spread the rumor: Most startup businesses "fail" within the first five years. You've heard that, right? From the web, from your well-meaning friends, from your family.

This oft-repeated platitude has no doubt discouraged 1,000's of hopeful entreprenuers from making the leap towards self-employment and for this reason I consider it a bit evil.

The nay-sayers tell you that it is a lack of experience, money or sales that shut down 50% off all start-ups in the first five years. Umm. Yeah. That's kind of like advising a new bike-rider to stay in their seat and keep their feet on the pedals. We all kind of know that, don't we? No experience, no money, no sales = poor likelihood of success.

I haven't seen a lot of failures in my 15 years of entrepreneurship. What I have seen is my competitiors and business asssociates closing shop (not "failing"), and mostly due to personal reasons. Typically health (a sudden illness in the family or an inability to sustain the energy level it takes to run a business) or a family crisis (a divorce or a need to focus on the children).

This year I mourn/celebrate the loss of several well-established and successful businesses: Mineral Basics (finished mineral makeup) Aromaleigh (finished mineral makeup) and Southern Soapers (soapmaking supplies). Mourn because I know these women worked hard to build their companies and closing is bound to feel a bit like falling, celebrate because I know once they hit the ground they will pick the pebbles from their knees and get back up.

When you are young and dating, five years is a long time to be in a relationship that doesn't work.

When you are in college, five years is plenty of time to go from innocence to education.

When you work at a company, five years is a long time to be in one job, no question.

So here is my point: who cares if most businesses change (close) within five years. So do most relationships, schooling and jobs.

If you are thinking about starting a business and get stuck on the fear that your business will become a statistic, get over it. Starting a business, building a business and closing that business within five years is not a failure, it is an adventure, one that you will learn from and build on. Go for it!

9 comments:

DazzleGlam said...

Thank you for the wonderful post. I am upset over the loss of aromaleigh. Being a recent buying of one of ez kits I am very thankful for your company.

Fortunate Face said...

Great advice Kaila! I also would add- as I enter my fifth year of business. Surround yourself, in business, with people as passionate as you are- Success becomes much easier to grasp!

Kaila Westerman, TKB Trading, LLC said...

Thanks Dazzle, Aromaleigh was a good company, run by a good woman, she'll no doubt do fine in the future. And Face, I agree! Rubbing elbows with people who have passion make running the business sooooo much more fun!

Amber Westerman said...

Great advice Kaila! Here's a quote I keep taped above my desk: "Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile initially scared me to death!" (Betty Bender)

bakingbitsandbobs said...

Thank you so much for this great post! I've been thinking a lot about starting a new business in the near future (not a makeup related one), but it is rather daunting with so many factors that make or beak you and the business. It's great that you show such great positivity :)

Scan Machine said...

Yeah. Great post not just for business, but life as well.

Nancy Liedel said...

I honestly think this is one of the most uplifting posts on business I've read. Most others are about what they can sell you, but this is honest and from your heart. It's bolstered me, and I have it taped above my desk, along with a quote that says, "Don't worry. Everything will be amazing."

Anonymous said...

I love this Kaila! You spent some of your valuable time with me on the phone recently, and just within that conversation I realized I need to lean on those who have walked before me. I'm smart and I know makeup better than I know almost anything else, but the business fundamentals I know very little about. Having you share your wisdom openly has given me the courage to forge ahead with my dream of starting my makeup company. Thank you, I just love ya already! Lol Victoria Saddington

Patricia Westervelt said...

Hi Kaila,

So true dear. The ghost of "what if" will haunt you longer than the ghost of "I tried" ;) I am so for women in business! Aromaleigh did go again and very well. I love how you have grown and continued on...