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Lessons from Entrepreneurs Who Beat the Odds

Stacey Perman

The statistics surrounding the survival rate for small businesses have long been subject to fervid debate. Depending on who you're talking to, the predicted life span for a startup can elicit grim to cautiously optimistic responses. One commonly cited figure is that half of all businesses go under in the first year while 95% fail within the first five years. According to a study done by the Small Business Administration, two-thirds of all new small business survive the first two years but only 44% will still be operating by year four.]

Common culprits for failure include undercapitalization, cash-flow crises, and overexpansion. Then of course there are a host of external factors that nobody can predict—let alone adequately plan for—such as volatile credit markets and unstable economic cycles.

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