The Key to Success

There is a long held belief that 50% of new businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within 5 years.  While new data from the SBA tells a different story (two-thirds of new businesses survive at least 2 years, and 44 percent survive at least 4 years), chances are still pushing 50% that starting a new business is a road to failure.

While there are countless (translation: millions upon millions) of resources, tips, and recommendations to help lead you to business success, I have to say I agree mostly with Burt’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby who has remarked, “I had some midnight-of-your-soul type times. Once, I came home from a fair (in the very early days of Burt’s Bees) and found the window in my cabin blown in.  Snow was all over.  It was 20 below and 3 in the morning.  I hadn’t made any money and the car had just barely made it there. I really believe that success is just getting up one more time than you fall.

There is one certainty when starting a company.  Not only will you will fall, you will fall often and hard.  Just ask Becca who has been with me for nearly every up and down over the last two years on this emotional roller coaster ride called entrepreneurship.

Sometimes the fall will be rejection by potential investors and other times it will be failing to meet an event sales goal.  Sometimes the fall will be a shipment of poorly manufactured products (they got returned) and other times it will be an unexpectedly large doctor’s bill.  As Roxanne Quimby and I both agree, the key is to keep getting up.  Eventually you just might find your balance.

I spend a lot of time talking about the successes Atayne has had as a young company.  But there is no doubt that I have fallen many times.  Here is one of our more recent tumbles. We had applied for a seed grant for a program that we call Trash 2 Treasure. The initiative aims to collect old athletic gear and re-manufacture it into innovative materials for new products.  An example of something we proposed is to use the materials in athletic shoes to make yoga mats.  Unfortunately, we were not one of the lucky 12 recipients.  One of the things we got negative marks for is they considered the pay rate for the Principal (that would be me) too high.  I found that slightly humorous since I have not collected a paycheck in almost 2 years.  I wonder how many of the reviewers are in that situation.

Anyway, as with any fall the key is to get back up, brush yourself off, and try again.  A friend of mine alerted me of a National Geographic/Sun Chips contest called the Green Effect.  It aims to inspire individuals to spark a green movement in their communities with five winners being awarded $20,000 to put their idea into action.  We had a couple ideas in our backpocket and decided to give it a whirl.  If you are a regular visitor to The Red Shirt Blog, the ideas may sound familiar.

Trash Runners Unite
Butts 4 Benefit

We would love your help by viewing the ideas and giving us your rating.  Who knows, this just might be the start of a nice period of balance.  Once again, thanks for the ongoing support.  In the words of Dr Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

4 responses to “The Key to Success

  1. hope all is well. nice post. did you make it to reunion? i sadly didn’t as we’re expecting a baby in a few days. hope all is well.

    • Thanks man. I did make it to reunion for a bit, but I also had a retirement party for my dad on Saturday night. It was a pretty nice showing of 99ers. Good luck with the new comer on the way!

  2. I think you guys are going to win. I can feel it. I just wanted to put that in writing so that when you do you can say, “Paige was right.”


    Rock on Atayne!

  3. Great Ideas! I hope you both win!

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