The Small Business Administration’s latest statistics show that a new startup has about a 50 percent chance of surviving for five years or more. Robert Tuchman’s advises entrepreneurs to start doing the following early on to ensure a company’s longevity:
1. Do business from home. Save money on renting office space by doing business out of your own living space. Install a separate phone line or purchase a cell phone for business use only. Print your own letterhead and business cards. Your clients will never suspect that “Suite 12-B” is really “Apartment 12-B.”
2. Try to fund it yourself, or mostly yourself. It pays to go after the least amount of funding that is necessary. When you’re starting out, it feels good to say that some venture-capital firm invested millions of dollars in your idea. But a few years down the road, when you’re doing well, it will not feel so great to know that you own only 25 percent of your company.
3. Put a positive spin on things. Does the timing of your entrepreneurial project coincide with you having been recently laid off? Don’t include that in your pitch to customers or investors. Nobody wants to think they’re doing business with someone who’s only there because they have to be.
4. Build a culture of action and enthusiasm. During your first year, you will face a lot of questions about your experience. The best—and probably only—way to overcome them is to impress clients with your vigor and dynamism. If you want to be perceived as youthful, forward-thinking, and results-oriented, be proactive! Reward your people for taking the initiative. You’ll have a huge competitive advantage over established companies. Many clients will pay, and even take a bit of a risk, to get young, energetic minds on their side.
5. Stay balanced. During the first year, and all the years thereafter, you will have to find a way to achieve balance. Basically, this means avoiding the temptation to work eighteen hours a day, seven days a week, without a break. Find an outlet—a hobby, an amateur sport, or an exercise activity—that gets your mind off work and relieves stress. It’s essential to maintaining perspective and the energy you need to keep your business thriving.
Robert Tuchman is the Founder of TSE Sports & Entertainment, a company he started out of his one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan at the age of 25. TSE has gone on to appear on Inc. 500’s list of America’s Fastest Growing Privately Owned Companies. Tuchman now serves as President of Premiere Corporate Events, a division of Premiere Global Sports. A frequent guest on "Your World with Neil Cavuto," he has also appeared on CNN, the “CBS Morning News,” BET, and has been the subject of features in USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur. He lives in New York City. He is the author of Young Guns: The Fearless Entrepreneur’s Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out on Your Own.