Tips for Surviving Your First Year in Business


Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

A lot of businesses struggle to make a profit during their first year, and there are usually two main factors that business owners need to consider, especially if they feel that their idea isn’t being maximized to its full potential.

First, is capital. If your business growth is dragging slow, then you might need to invest more funds into it to get it to fully take off. This will help you perform more marketing, expand your product and services offers, tap into other demographics, and hire your first employees. 

Another crucial factor is the business structure itself. Just because your friends or competitors have chosen one type, in particular, doesn’t mean that it will work in the same way for you.

Aside from those factors, there are also certain tips that you can follow in order to further improve your chances of attaining business success; methods that we have learned based on our own experience that we’ll share with you today.

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1. Create a business plan.

While it’s one of the fundamentals of starting a business, it’s surprising how many of us still skip this step. There are those who also get content with just a rough plan. A solid business plan, though, must cover all the aspects of your startup.

For instance, it is crucial to include your initial marketing strategy together with the right tools that you plan on using. We prefer marketing programs that come with a lead distribution platform. It’s a system that automatically assigns leads to your sales team (or sales dashboard), in order to boost conversion and ROI.

2. Keep your expenses low. 

As mentioned, it’s hard to start a business without enough capital. There are ways to maximize your funds, though. For example, renovating on a budget will allow you to save money that can be spent on purchasing office equipment or to cover your rent, later on.

Don’t spend more than what is necessary in order to keep your business fully operational. You can simply improve your office space or get better gear little by little once income starts coming in.

3. Focus on the customer.

It’s always great to find more leads and expand your market, but it’s also crucial to build customer loyalty and trust. Consider incorporating useful feedback that comes your way. Strive to make your processes faster and more convenient for your clients. And don’t be afraid to offer special bonuses or discounts, especially when introducing new products and services. 

4. Create a network.

Creating a network involves multiple levels and facets. There are three networks that we recommend you to start with, though:

  • Suppliers. Form a positive relationship with the providers of your resources. The quality of your product and the efficiency of your sales process heavily relies upon the reliability of your supplier. 
  • Customers. This is a given. Having a network of loyal customers will help in establishing your business reputation and in promoting your business through reliable channels. Coming up with referral programs can also help widen this network with high-quality leads.
  • Other Business Owners. Finally, it always helps to know and partner up with other businesses in your industry. It can strengthen your connections, teach you trade secrets, start collaborations (that will further improve promotion and brand visibility), and even establish a healthy rivalry with your competitors.

5. Measure and adapt.

It can sometimes be challenging to create fool-proof business decisions on the fly, especially for new business owners that still lack the experience and foresight taught by years of business history.

Hence, it always helps to have business tools with analytical features that can provide insightful reports for data-driven resolutions.  

There are times, though, that even your best plans (A, B, all the way through Z) simply don’t work. It is during these times that you should adapt rather than measure. Be flexible. Open yourself to compromise. Prepare yourself for unforeseen risks.

6. Create an emergency plan. 

Speaking of risks, come up with contingency plans that you can enforce right away. Explore various options that you wouldn’t have otherwise considered. For instance, in the event of a natural disaster, would it be possible to allow your employees to work remotely?

Amidst the threat of bankruptcy, are there certain contacts in your network that you can convince for a possible partnership? Or do you have an emergency fund account that you can tap into?

Are you willing to use your retirement benefits to save your business? Or would it be better to cut your losses while you’re still a little bit ahead?

Are there insurances that you can sign up for in order to prevent crises from happening, and what is the scope of coverage you expect?

7. Don’t doubt yourself.

Finally, acknowledge that you will be tested. Starting a business can be both emotionally and mentally exhausting. Your relationships with your friends and family could be tested. There are going to be a lot of naysayers out there, and there will also come a time when even you will start to doubt. You will be tempted to go back to the comforts of employment and you will probably hate yourself for thinking that way. But these things do happen. 

The only way for you to survive the wild road ahead is to prepare yourself for the journey. Choose your business relationships wisely and be careful in receiving “criticism”, even if they’re coming from a close friend or family. These challenges are simply part of the process. Just trust yourself and it will pull through.

 

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