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In order to survive your first year in business, there are many varying factors to consider. And, ongoing success…well, that all depends on what you consider successful and how willing you are to play the game consistently. In this article, we are going to look at eight things that you can do to massively improve your chances of taking your business past the first year. Some of these might be more obvious than others, but they are all worthwhile and play a role in creating a solid business that will last.
Survive Your First Year In Business Tip #1: Details Matter
Though your big picture is important, focusing on detail is what will set you apart from the crowded marketplace. The truth is, if you want your business to be successful far into the future, you need to plan out exactly where you want it to be, who you will serve, what you will be doing and how. Once you have that detailed plan in place, do everything you can to execute it, making sure to include your details.
Having the details written down and put to memory will help you to foresee any potential issues. It also makes it more likely that you will know where your business is heading and by what kind of timeframe. Consider this as well: you won’t know some things in advance, so you will have to improvise when you get there. Changes will need to be made, but that’s OK. Try to find a balance between planning and flowing with your details.
Survive Your First Year In Business Tip #2: Be Committed
A lot of business owners fall at that first hurdle simply because they didn’t expect it. Remember, if your business is of any value to you or anyone else, it will have challenges. The main difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is that the successful ones have pushed through the rough terrain, committing themselves to the course. The trick is to realize that challenges in the early stages of a business are not necessarily problems at all; they simply are opportunities to be better and fine tune that plan.
All large successes wouldn’t have happened unless there was adversity along the way. I’ve had buckets full of it in my business, but I made a commitment to stay on course. Yes, it has hurt and nearly done me in, but I’ve also grown as a woman because of it. As long as you are committed to all of your business, that means even the icky parts, there is no real reason why you can’t succeed beyond the early stages.
Survive Your First Year In Business Tip #3: Know and Obey the Law
One major concern for young businesses is managing to keep in line with business and tax laws. This is something that many business owners fail to do sheerly through poor management and understanding of what the law actually demands of them.
It’s important that you do research about your specific type of business in your area or consult an attorney or accountant. One of the trickiest areas for many first-time entrepreneurs is employment law; if that applies to you, then you might find it helpful to use an outsourced HR adviser to help. As long as you stay within the law, you are much more likely to see your business survive.
Survive Your First Year In Business Tip #4: Learn How To Lead
Your employees and colleagues are among the most important elements of business success. However, they will only be as good as their leader. A workforce without clear leadership is much less likely to successfully handle emergency situations, and this is something that could easily bring down a new business. Lead your people with passion and integrity and they will be by your side for a long time. Also, draw out the natural leaders on your team. Teach them what you know. You can’t do everything and will need competent leaders to pick up the slack.
Survive Your First Year In Business Tip #5: Find A Niche and Brand Yourself
You and your potential clients and customers need to know exactly what you do and provide- a niche. You don’t need everyone, you just need to find the ones who will benefit the most from your special offerings. I know a lot about this topic as a Branding and Business Coach. I’ve seen so many women drown in the ocean of an overcrowded market simply because they did not stand out.
Finding a niche and Branding takes time and effort. And, I will say this: it’s worth putting money, time, and effort in before you launch your new business. There is a lot you can do yourself, but there is more you can do with professional advice. Consider working with a business coach or consultant who has expertise in branding and standing out in the market.
If you have a niche to work with and branding that lines up with who you are, you can direct your marketing to your ideal clients and customers like an arrow to a bullseye. This means faster and more consistent cash flow, and, last time I checked, that’s pretty damn important.
Survive Your First Year In Business Tip #6: Know Your Marketing Strategies
We all know just how important marketing is to any business. However, many new business owners actually have a misguided view of what marketing is. Most people tend to think that marketing is just a case of promoting your products and services. While it is true that promotion is an important part of the marketing process, it is only one aspect of it.
The truth is, marketing is a long-term process which begins with product development and ends with the sale of the products or the delivery of the services. Clearly, getting this process right is always going to be hugely important if you want to see your business succeed. Knowing this is one thing; making it happen, of course, is quite another. Generally, you should make sure you have strong management and goals at each stage of the marketing process. Again, this is a part of your business you should not leave to chance. Hire help if you can. At least, do your research and learn what you can do for yourself.
Survive Your First Year In Business Tip #7: Diversify & Expand
Growth is a central tenet of doing business, so much so that without it, you can’t expect a business to survive long at all. As long as your business is undergoing some kind of growth, you should be proud, even if you haven’t hit all of your goals. One of the clearest and firmest ways to ensure growth is to diversify… that “going with the flow” thing I talked about earlier.
Once you have your niche and brand set and working well, you will want to drive it deeply into your ideal market. Then, once that is done, you can put on the innovation hat and diversify by expanding into fresh markets. In time, this will provide you with a stronger foundation for your business. Some of these “innovations” may not fly at first, but you can keep creating until you find what you are looking for.
Survive Your First Year In Business Tip #8: Surround Yourself With Winners
The people you work alongside make a huge difference to your working life and to the way your business operates. You need to be careful about who you invite on board. This includes mentors, teachers, employees, vendors, and colleagues. Make sure to surround yourself with success-minded people who understand your goals and can help you reach them. With the right team, the working culture in your business or company will attract quality people and quality sales right to your door.
Even if it’s just you working in your business right now, you can seek out mentors and other entrepreneurs to collaborate with. The mentors in my life have had a huge impact on me and the state of my coaching business over the years. I have never regretted investing money in courses and coaching to glean advice and strategies.