Once upon a time, there was a business called EnMart. Actually, it originally wasn’t called EnMart, and went through a series of names before we settled on that one. Those who have named businesses or products or children or pets know that naming things can be difficult. Eventually, EnMart was christened EnMart and we were on our way to what we thought was a future selling embroidery supplies. Now, 11 years after we started, EnMart sells embroidery supplies and sublimation supplies and quilting thread and crafting items. Where we thought we’d be when we started is not really at all where we’ve ended up.
The odds against a business starting up and succeeding can seem daunting. 20% of small business fail in their first year. 50% will fail in five years. Flip those stats on their head though, and they don’t seem quite so awful. If 20% of businesses fail in their first year, than 80% succeed, and don’t the odds suddenly look better. Same for the five year stat, half of the businesses that started five years earlier are gone, but half are still in business. Given how optimistic you have to be to even start a business, isn’t it likely most business owners would choose to believe they’ll be in the half that’s still around in five years?
When EnMart started, we had no idea if the business would survive. We had tenuous connections to the embroidery industry, and hoped that would be enough to let us get our foot in the door. We worked at building connections, getting the company name out there, creating opportunities where we could interact with the community. As time went on, we added sublimation, then quilting thread, and then craft supplies. Each addition meant a new market to which we needed to be introduced, and a new set of rules and customers to learn. We evolved in an effort to stay current and to take advantage of the possibilities that lay before us.
You may wonder why I’m telling you all this, and the reason is pretty simple, often in the hustle and bustle of building a business we forget to stop and look at where we started and acknowledge how far we’ve come. When you started your business, however that was done, you probably had a dream for what it would become. Today, after however many years in business, does what you see before you look anything like what you dreamed?
Starting a business is a risk, and there will always be people who will quote you the statistics of how many businesses will fail in their first year, or second year, or any year at all. The idea that seems like a surefire win may result in a business that never gets off the ground. The idea that seems so simple you’re sure everyone has already done it might just be so simple that everyone overlooked it, until you. Whether your business is thriving or barely surviving, you took a chance, and gave it a shot. That’s worth some congratulations and a moment of contemplation.
So, from us to you, congratulations on taking a leap many are too scared to make. Spend at least a moment today thinking about where you began and celebrating that fact that you’ve come as far as you have. Always know that we’re here to help you in any way we can. If you add our parent company into the mix, we’ve been in the 50% that survived for 44 years now, and we’ve got some stories and wisdom to share, so stay tuned.