It’s an odd prime number, hardly sexy or close to a milestone.  However when you start a business it’s folk lore that if you’re trading or better still profitable after 3 years then you are onto a good thing.  I’m not clever or strategic enough to confirm exactly why this is the case however here’s my instinctive suggestions as to why businesses are suddenly viable after this anniversary.

  • Customer base – you’ve established a market
  • Marketing – you’ve invested enough to make your messaging effective
  • Sales – you’ve survived seasonality and have a funnel of new and loyal clients
  • Persistence – clients can now rely on you and know you’re around for the long haul

For some sectors one can make a profit earlier whilst for others you’ll be successful later in the business cycle.  There’s no rule book and it’s important to have perspective on how you measure success, the metrics matter.  However I’d propose that without grit to see through the tough early years it’ll be difficult to continue trading.  Being unappreciated and working unforgiving hours are all part of the deal to make an enterprise fly.  If you’re happy to endure these conditions then it’s likely that eventually you’ll make it work.