How to Survive Your First Year of Business

Starting a business begins with big ideas and a healthy dose of hope and excitement. However, a lot of small businesses fail within the first year because of silly mistakes. The point of a business is to make enough money to generate an income for yourself but many business owners find that’s harder than they initially thought. If you’re about to start a small business, here are some tips for surviving the first year.


A Business Plan
Many entrepreneurs starting their own businesses don’t need capital to invest in their ideas these days. Whether you’re working online from home or you’ve received a redundancy payment after losing your job, you may feel it’s unnecessary to get a start-up loan from a bank. It’s banks and lenders that insist on business owners having business plans in place before they risk lending money. So, why do you need a business plan? A business plan will give you a clear direction. Sitting down and spending time on developing a business plan will allow you to really think about where you want to go with your business.

Be Wise with Your Money
You’ve probably got a vision for how you want your business to look. However, that doesn’t mean you have to spend all of the money you’ve got creating that vision. Businesses take time to develop, so it’s okay if you need to wait to reach your goals. The main reason that businesses fail within the first year is because they run out of money. Make a list of things you actually need and save the things you want for later.

Similarly, a portion of the money that you make needs to be re-invested into the business. Therefore, you need to make allowances for this. Unfortunately, many owners take a significant cut in their wages to ensure their businesses have what they need to survive. If you’re coming out of employment to start a business, you need to be aware that you may not make the same amount of money for a while.


Set Realistic Goals
When it comes to setting goals, think about the word SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound. Set up a list of goals for the first five years of your business. If you’re consistently not meeting the goals you’ve set, read this article for tips - Struggling to score business goals? Inspire and encourage your team. You’ll also need to monitor how well your business is doing. That way you can determine what you need to do to reach the goals you’ve set.

It’s Okay to Say No
When you first start out, you may find that you get no business during certain periods and lots of it during others. It’s difficult to say no to a job when the prospect of earning more is dangled in front of your face, but it’s more important for you to provide a quality service. If you’re asked to something that your business isn’t ready to handle, you run the risk of looking unprofessional. Don’t worry, opportunities will come along again, when you’re ready for it.

Take a Break
There are so many business owners that work themselves ill during their first year of business. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to give the business what it needs. You need to be mentally and physically in top shape to do everything required of you within the first year. That means that you’re entitled to take breaks. Go for a long lunch, book a holiday (even if you don’t go anywhere) and finish early on the odd occasion. It will all help you to be a stronger leader.


Build Relationships
It’s important to connect with people when it comes to business. You need to network with your customers, colleagues and other businesses. Building good working relationships will help you to survive. If your employees have the same mission as you, it’s likely they’ll work as hard as you to achieve it. If you’ve built friendships with other business owners they may be able to give you recommendations or help when you’re in need. Most importantly, getting to know your customers is vital. The more you know about the people buying from you, the better you’ll be able to tailor your marketing campaigns. It’s loyal customers that keep businesses afloat, so you need to do everything you can to convince them you’re loyal too. Consider adding a loyalty scheme to the business, so customers who continue to return are rewarded.

With hard work and wise choices, small businesses can flourish.

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