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3 Ways to Survive in Business for 21 Years

August 8, 2016

Business advice and wisdom for women entrepreneurs and small business owners


As I woke up this morning ready to face another work week, I flipped over my desk calendar to see today’s date – August 8, 2016. A beautiful summer has a way of making every day feel like a holiday but this morning was one. Seeing the date, my memory floated back to August 8, 1995 when I drove to Syracuse City Hall to sign up for a DBA (Doing Business As) for my first company Five Star Events. Today 21 years ago, I became a woman entrepreneur. Tomorrow I start my 22nd year in business with not one but two companies and one with a unique sports division of its own.

In a Small Business Administration article, the statistics state, “About two-thirds of businesses with employees survive at least 2 years and about half survive at least 5 years. As one would expect, after the first few relatively volatile years, survival rates flatten out.” It is true, I believe after starting two companies and talking to thousands of women entrepreneurs over my 21 year career of supporting and promoting women that if you can make it to year 3, you can make it beyond.

What I really wanted to share with you today in this post are the top three things I believe contributed to my success in business for 21 years to help anyone reading this blog.

phonecalls* When you think you have marketed your business enough, market some more! Entrepreneurs start businesses to lend their “trade or expertise” to the marketplace. They don’t understand if they want to survive they must make marketing and sales a top priority. Most start-ups don’t have the money to add marketing or sales teams to their company so it means as the entrepreneur, we must fit marketing and sales calls into our schedules. I have learned to love marketing and it has been the catalyst for my companies’ sustainability over time.

books* Learn, learn and then when you think you know everything, learn some more. I had a career in higher education before becoming a female business owner so I appreciated the value of education in my life. The only way I have grown my companies has been educating myself as often as I can at annual conferences like the one we are producing for women entrepreneurs on September 14th, listening to online tutorials, reading blogs, taking courses and continuing my education in a master’s program. Never stop learning.

startline* Take more risks than your heart can bear. A new door never just swings open by itself with a pile of gold on the other side. The door opens when you take the risk to open it, step through, make tough decisions to expand your horizon or opportunities and see what is on the other side. I have found walking through the doors of entrepreneurship three times that each time my life has been elevated by the experience and the people I’ve met.

I am excited to start the first day of my 22nd year in entrepreneurship tomorrow with some lofty, new goals of my own. You never know what’s waiting for you unless you take that step forward and are willing to try! Have a blessed business day today entrepreneurs.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 11, 2016 10:27 am

    Congratulations Tracy! I am in my 20th year, so I can relate! I love your emphasis on being open to learning new things. Believe me, a lot has changed since I started in 1996 and if I hadn’t embraced them, I would be obsolete. I wish you 20+ more years with Women Ties!


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