What is the survival rate of a new signmaking business?

Chris, What do you think the survival rate is for new sign making businesses? How many make it past 1-2 years? Do more succeed or fail? Just curious, seems like a lot of new signmakers starting here all the time.

“Just Thinking About It” here in Bakerfield, California

Dear JTAI,

According to the US Department of labor: “Although many people believe that 80 percent of all small businesses fail within five years, statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal a different story. The Census Bureau reports that 76 percent of all small businesses operating in 1992 were still in business in 1996. In fact, only 17 percent of all small businesses that closed in 1997 were reported as bankruptcies or other failures. The other terminations occurred because the business was sold or incorporated or when the owner retired.”

Additionally, the latest statistics from the Small Business Administration (SBA) show that “two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at lease two years, and 44 percent survive at least four years.” This is quite a turnaround from the previous long-held belief that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year and 80 percent fail within five years.

Well, regardless weather it is 17% or 50%, if the business failure happens to you, it’s too high.

But let’s take another look at the numbers. This high business “failure rate” doesn’t mean people necessarily “fail”. Remember that the sign making industry has the “double-edged sword” of a very low capital investment threshold. So a lot of folks try it on a whim. Then after awhile they just decide this business isn’t for them and want to do something else.

However, JTAI, the “numbers” mean nothing in your case. It really is up to you. You are unique, and you bring to the table a unique set if strengths that you can capitalize on. But you also bring a set of weaknesses. Therefore, being successful in business requires the ability to know your strengths and weaknesses.

In the book, “Now, Discover Your Strengths“, the Gallup Organization reveals how to uncover and build on your strengths.  (Great book!)  Take the time to know yourself and use your strengths to best advantage. The fact that you have made through the worst of the “Great Rescission” shows that you have the fortitude to continue.

-Chris