Beyond the Build


One of the Keys to Long-Term Success

About this time last year, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics released a study showing how likely a small business is to succeed over time. Only a quarter of businesses are still operational 15 years after they open. This article gives a few reasons, from ineffective business plans to lack of financing and trying to grow too quickly. While those hard facts are true, it got me thinking about what core values set the long-term companies apart from those that fall off in the first few years. My number one answer is perseverance.

Since we started the company in 1984, there have been setbacks, times we outright failed and other times we had to pivot. Through adversity, we have tried to keep a clear focus on success and what is important. It’s equal parts calling, passion and tenacity. 

We’ve tried to learn from our mistakes and made it a priority to build a team that shares core values. In other words, we have given individuals permission to fail, as long as it did not become a habit.



Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.