The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Employment Dynamics reveals that roughly 80% of businesses survive their first year in business, nearly 50 percent of businesses survive their fifth year, and only about 30% of businesses survive 10 years of operation. Celebrating a decade last fall since the launch of hc1, we took time to reflect and are grateful for the team we have built that shares a passion to deliver personalized healthcare to every patient. 

In the last several years, our company has grown exponentially in ways I could not have imagined. This journey has not been without challenges as we’ve had to learn from what has worked and what has needed some adjustment. Through these learning experiences, I’m proud of our team members for their perseverance and helping us reach such a remarkable milestone. 

With 10 years under our belt, I’ve come to learn there are several components that are critical to helping businesses pivot from a startup mentality to scaling and broadening their horizons. Here are three factors entrepreneurs should take into consideration as they embark on a journey of growth and expansion.

Work to build a global network of partners 

Establishing the right partners can enhance your potential for expanding your customer pipeline. If the partner has a positive reputation on a global scale, potential clients may want to know more about your company simply by association.  

In your first few years, you may focus on building a small partnership circle to help establish credibility. Forming strong relationships with other companies in the beginning will help develop your identity as you continue to grow. However, be mindful of who you select. Your partners, ultimately, are a representation of your business, so it’s critical to ensure their values and goals align with yours.     

Growing your team 

In the early phases of a startup, your team may consist of only a few people. However, as you become more established, it’s important to grow your team by creating defined roles. It’s critical to select candidates for these roles who have an understanding of the workplace culture and will work well in the environment. Ideally, hiring someone who shares the company’s values and passion for the mission will benefit the productivity level and workplace dynamic. These core cultural values should not only be a litmus test for hiring, but should also be used for recognition, performance reviews and advancement in the organization.

Willingness to adapt 

As a startup, there may be a lot of uncertainty about what your business will look like in 10 years. I’d like to reassure you that you don’t have to have figured everything out from the beginning. Oftentimes, your plans change more than once, and that’s okay. In fact, being willing to shift gears will allow you to discover your niche in due time. Perfecting the pivot doesn’t happen overnight and it requires your team to be patient with each other while you evaluate strategies. 

An important approach here is to line up your long range and annual planning and strategies with tactical execution. In order to stay nimble, I’d recommend 90 day tactical plans, which are cascaded throughout the organization. It is critical to review this tactical execution and line it up with your one-year, three-year and longer range plans to ensure they are aligned with your vision.

While we’ve made adjustments over the past decade, I always remind myself that our No. 1 goal is to make healthcare better for patients. I truly believe we can accomplish that if we continue to keep that mantra at the forefront of our work. Our success and ability to build a sustainable company would not be possible without our talented team members who show up every day and make sacrifices. I’m so grateful for their dedication — as they truly are like my second family! As we look ahead to the next 10 years, I’m excited to see how precision healthcare evolves and the difference it can make for patients worldwide.