Sound Advice for Surviving Your First Year as a Business Owner

Starting off new in the entrepreneurial world? It’s a scary thing to dip your toes into these turbulent waters. There are a lot of things you have to pay attention to, and it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important now, and what you need to know later.

We’re here to offer the best possible advice you can get to navigate this first year of business.

Tip #1: Don’t Go by Hunch

First of all, no matter how well you think you know your product or service, numbers are your best friend. Decide which metrics are currently crucial for your business, and follow them. For example: where does most of your traffic come from? How many leads are being turned to customers? Are you focusing on ROI?

Analytics can be tiresome and a little overwhelming, but they are the only thing you can rely on in the beginning.

Tip #2: Learn When to Say “No“

In the beginning, you may be tempted to accept a lot of offers – whether for partnerships, outsourcing, sponsorship, collaborations… And while it’s easy to believe each new opportunity is a great way to gain exposure, you could come out worse for wear. Where and how you’re going to allocate money should, again, depend on your business plan, your metrics, and your goals.

Being a little tunnel-visioned in the beginning will actually be good for the company’s future. Filter out opportunities very carefully.

Tip #3: Branding, Branding, Branding

Branding

The first year is often make or break for a company name. With a business plan in place, you can devote the rest of the time to establishing an image. Keeping your potential customers in mind, develop your new brand. Make people excited about your product/service, and what you as an entrepreneur bring to the table.

Support from customers is one of the most invaluable tools to get high brand awareness.

Tip #4: Spend Only Where you Have To

Because budget can really be tight in the first year, we can’t stress it enough to spend your money wisely. Every decision needs to be well thought-out. Depending on the kind of business you run, you should invest in hiring only the most essential people for your office. Outsource the rest.

The same goes for supplies and marketing. One of the key things in coming out victorious the first year is to spend money only on essentials.

Tip #5: Reinvest

In the same vein, get used to the idea that owners get paid last. This means that, for your business to survive, after paying out your employees, any surplus should be reinvested. Whether it’s in boosting your marketing, lead generation, or other.

The goal of these twelve months isn’t for you to make big money, but to push your business forward. Think of it as a child – to grow, you need to feed it, pay for its practices and support it. Without sacrificing some of your revenue for the greater good, you likely won’t make it long.

Tip #6: “It Takes a Village”

The good old “It takes a village to raise a child” adage works just as well for businesses. You can’t do everything on your own, no matter how hard you try. It’s impossible to be the marketing expert, sales lead, financial director and everything in between. Which is why you should focus on building a small village that will help take a load off your shoulders. Get a professional to work on your investments, find a good marketing specialist, and a no-nonsense sales expert.

In business, putting more heads together to keep the company running is essential.

Tip #7: Don’t Give up Early

Don’t Give up Early

A lot of the times, entrepreneurs tend to look back at the stats after a year, see that not much has improved, and call it quits. And that is a huge mistake. Businesses won’t explode in popularity after only a year, and start amassing huge profits. It’s nearly impossible in this day and age.

Set yourself up for the hard uphill battle. This year is all about survival, and it’ll take longer than that to actually see any profitable results. And that is perfectly okay, and how business should go.

Tip #8: Reach Out to Veterans

You should immediately realise the potential of business veterans -the men and women who have been there long before you, and stood the test of time. They have wisdom to share, and you need to be willing to listen.

If possible, network as much as you can to find a mentor. A professional with years, if not decades of experience will often have some sound advice, and be more than willing to help.

In Conclusion

Survival in the market can be a harrowing, scary experience. However, there are a lot of good pieces of advice to follow. Especially if you know where to look and who to listen to. The last thing to remember is that you will stumble, and fall, and question yourself. And all of that is okay, because the first year is all about learning the ropes and surviving. Good things come to those who wait.

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