The Real Odds of Success for Startup Founders & B2B Entrepreneurs


“93% of the products that ultimately became successful started off in the wrong direction.”Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma Author

Unfortunately, the best product-validation framework won’t guarantee success. You can still fail to find product-market fit in an industry you know building technology you own.

Building a successful business is extremely difficult, and the odds of success are not always on your side.

Perhaps you have the wrong product or your have the wrong market. The path to success is rarely a straight line.

The Path to Success

In spite of the best intentions, many startups fail to find revenue, engagement or growth, and a pivot on vision can be very damaging to your teams’s spirit and unity.

Paul Gompers, Anna Kovner, Josh Lerner and David Scharfstein of the Harvard Business School published in 2008 a study called Performance Persistence in Entrepreneurship. The study demonstrates that:

  • Serial entrepreneurs (with IPOs on their resumes) have a 30% chance of success;
  • First-time entrepreneurs have an 18% chance of succeeding;
  • Entrepreneurs who have failed before have a 20% chance of succeeding.

Note that these are the odds of success of entrepreneurs, not their startups.

As a founder, these are the odds to beat. Reading Lean B2B is a great way to put the odds in your favour to reach success, but know that it won’t be easy.

More on the Odds of Success for B2B Entrepreneurs


⚡⚡ Enjoyed this content? I go into way more detail on this subject in Lean B2B. It covers the ins and outs of finding traction in the market for B2B products. Check it out »


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This sampler covers the differences between B2B and Business-to-Customer (B2C) product-market validation, shows you how to define your vision for success, find early adopters, select market opportunities and assess a venture's risk. Download The First 6 Chapters Today »