RedLine celebrates first three years in business

RedLine: Our first three years in business

April 6 marked RedLine’s third anniversary. As the company celebrates its first three years in business, I’m reminded of the high failure rate for new companies. Approximately 45% of all new companies fail before their third anniversary.

But thanks to our clients, translators, editors, and designers, we’re alive and well!

first three years in businessIn RedLine’s first three years in business, the Earth has orbited the Sun three times—though there’s no cause and effect between the former and the latter.

As the sole owner of a business that relies heavily on a network of subcontractors (translators, editors, and designers), I often feel like more of a ringmaster in a circus than I do a strategy- and growth-minded entrepreneur.

Wearing multiple hats has been both an education and a challenge—an education because I get to see all components that go into executing a project and running a business, a challenge because there are only so many hours in the day. If my own experience is at all representative, time is the biggest enemy of any small business owner.

So how have I measured the success of the company? I’ve analyzed the company financials, of course, and I’m happy to report that in our first three years in business, revenue and gross profit have never been higher. In fact, both indicators have been on a steady upward trajectory since the company’s founding.

But I’ve also looked at other indicators to evaluate whether we at RedLine have been going about business in the right way. Below is a summary of RedLine’s history by the numbers.

Number of clients

RedLine doubled its number of clients from 2011 to 2012 and saw a 20% increase from 2012 to 2013. (See Figure 1.) Year 4 is already off to a great start: we did work for 16 different clients just in Q1 of 2014.

first three years in businessFigure 1

Number of projects

While the number of projects stayed more or less the same from 2011 to 2012, we saw a big jump (100%) from 2012 to 2013. (See Figure 2.) RedLine expects to see an increase this year in the number of projects we do, as this indicator for Q1 of Year 4 already shows 28 projects (112 annualized).

first three years in businessFigure 2

Number of visitors to website

The number of yearly unique visits to RedLine’s website has grown exponentially. We saw a whopping 1,700% increase from 2011 to 2012, and a not-too-shabby 430% increase from 2012 to 2013. (See Figure 3.) The best part? The growth continues. Our site has had over 43,000 visitors just in Q1 of 2014—almost equaling the total from all of 2013!

first three years in businessFigure 3

Any business owes a big part of its success to its clients. RedLine’s clients have come from all over the world, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Paris, France; from Arlington, Virginia, to New Caledonia in the South Pacific; and from New York City to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

I’d like to offer a heartfelt “thank you” (and merci, gracias, and xie xie) to our clients. Thanks for entrusting us with your marketing materials, contracts, employee handbooks, government reports, architectural plans, and consumer surveys. Our subcontractors and advisors have been equally instrumental in our success, and my hat is off to them.*

On the whole, our first three years in business have been successful.** Here’s to three more years of projects, client satisfaction, and growth!

Entrepreneur Weekly, Small Business Development Center, Bradley Univ, University of Tennessee Research, January 1, 2014.
*I don’t wear a hat, but if I did it would be a fedora.
**Were our first three years in business easy? No.

first three years in business

Matthew Kushinka is the founder and principal of RedLine Language Services LLC. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the company helps commercial clients create, revise, and translate their written content. Send your questions or comments to or connect with Matthew on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.