How to Survive the 3-Year Itch

Did you know that twice the number of business fail or go out of business in their 3rd to 7th year in business than do in the first 2 years? It’s because of the 3-Year Itch.

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Just like in marriages, business owners seem to hit an ‘itch’.  It just happens a bit sooner.  Instead of the 7-year, you have the 3-year itch.    The US Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the survival rate of businesses, and its data shows remarkable consistency.   Regardless of economic conditions, roughly the same percentage of businesses exit between the 3rd and 7th year of existence.  Why?

The 3-year itch comes down to basic human nature.  Just like in a marriage, it generally boils down to 4 key factors

  1. Feeling overwhelmed
  2. Feeling unrewarded
  3. Hidden money problems
  4. Failure to communicate or delegate

Most business owners start a business because they love what they do, not because they love running a business.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done.  The love of what you do can keep you going for a year or two, but after a while, it takes its toll. Then, 3-year itch starts.

What are the symptoms?

That feeling of being overwhelmed can lead to feeling unrewarded.  Business owners with partners or employees can also have difficulty in communicating or delegating.  Without good communication, it’s more likely that problems will be hidden, which can become a crisis due to inattention.

How can you survive the 3-Year Itch?

  1. Be honest with yourself about what you know and where you need help
  2. Have an impartial party analyze your business and business model to ensure that no one person is carrying too much of the load
  3. Have an impartial party review your business processes to ensure transparent and timely communication
  4. Know which parts of your business are most sensitive and/or carry the most risk

If you find yourself facing the 3-Year Itch, ProStrategix can help

At ProStrategix, we know you have concerns.  We’re designed to help give you the business support you need so you can focus on doing what you love.  If you would like to learn about how we might be able to help you, please contact us.

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