How to Survive the First Year As a Startup Business

Fri, May 18, 2012


Most of us have read the statistics citing the fact that an overwhelming amount of businesses do not survive their first year of operation. Certain reports reveal that it’s as much as 70%, to be exact. So, it’s understandable that aspiring entrepreneurs might be a bit leery when it comes to living out the dream of owning their own company.
However, you shouldn’t allow fear to hinder you from doing what you love and being your own boss. You simply should make sure that you have as much information, beforehand, as possible.

If you want to know how to survive your first year as a start-up business, here are five things to keep in mind.

Create a mission statement. That might sound a bit simplistic, but it really is essential when it comes to starting up a business because it helps you to figure out what your agenda is so that you can map out a plan that centers around that main idea. Once you know what you aspire to do, you can start implementing steps to make your vision for your business a reality.

Get wise counsel. Sure you may know exactly what you want, but remember that you’re only looking at your company from one perspective and that is your own. Only good things can come from having great mentors—people with some wisdom, knowledge and expertise, especially in areas where you may not be as skilled as you would like. At the very least, make sure to have the following three people on board: someone in a similar field as you to offer business advice, someone to give you financial tips and someone who will tell you the unedited truth about when you are making poor decisions.

Keep up with your money. Every good business plan has a sound financial budget within it. The first year within any company is a very fragile one; therefore, you simply cannot afford to do any kind of frivolous spending, nor can you afford to not keep track of every single purchase. Hiring a part-time financial consultant (or accountant) that you can trust is a valuable asset to any company, but at the very least, make sure that you keep a spreadsheet of your monthly expenses and that you spend only what your budget allots for.

Do your research. You may have an online MBA marketing degree, but that doesn’t mean that you know all that there is to know about running a business. Just with the continual changes in technology alone, that should remind us all of how important it is to do our research. When it comes to stories of business successes (and failures), the marketplace, technological advances and marketing and consumer demands, it’s smart to make sure that you stay abreast of all of the information available on these kinds of subject matters. This is so that your business can be ahead, and not behind, the times.

Be good to your customers. What business would survive without customers? When you’re a start-up, it may take a while to develop a thriving clientele, but when it comes to growing a business, word of mouth is one of the best marketing tools that you can ever have. Make sure to treat each customer like they’re the only one by being courteous, knowledgeable and proactive in meeting their needs. It’s a great way to have the reputation for being the company worth returning to over and over again.

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