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Starting a business can be a door opened to a better financial future for you and your family, and to a more fulfilling life overall. The problem is, regularly released studies show that many new businesses fail, particularly in their first year of business. Luckily there's plenty that you can do to increase your chances of getting through those tricky first 12 months of your new venture. Here are five keys to safely navigating your first year of business:
1. It Isn't Always What You know, But Who You Know
The importance of building relationships in your first year of business cannot be understated. Attending networking events, sending out branded corporate gifts, speaking to those in your industry and generally reaching out and making connections can open doors you didn’t even know were there. New suppliers, clients, marketers, investors or mentors – every new face is an opportunity. You never know who you'll meet and how they could benefit your business now or in the future.
2. Learn To Embrace Change
Naturally, your initial business plan and strategy will change because there will be times that you are forced to make a change to survive. You might be better based elsewhere your customers may have highlighted an issue with your product or services you hadn't seen yourself. Being adaptable in business is central to success. Sticking it out and working through problems will help you grow stronger long-term.
3. Keep All Eyes On The Bottom Line
Many of the world’s richest are known to be frugal and incredibly smart with their money. This is a lesson to be learned for any entrepreneur or startup. Look for ways to save so that startup funding and revenue keep you going as long as possible, leaving you with money set aside for additional costs that will crop up. Whether it’s utilizing freelancers to perform critical tasks, moving from the traditional office to a virtual office model or any other savings strategy, conserving your cash will ensure that resources are set aside to help you through the tight times.
Part of being careful with your finances is important; having the right insurance is essential. Insurance is one of those things that you hope you never need to use, but you never want to be without it. There are many reasons why your business needs insurance: from customer accidents to property damage. Do some research and find an insurance company that can provide the right insurance at the best price.
4. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Statistics show the main reason that people choose to start a business is to be their own boss. However, it is so important to ensure that pride and ego do not get in the way of asking for help if it’s needed. Knowing your weaknesses and strengths can only benefit your business long-term. You'll know which tasks you can adequately tackle yourself, and which tasks require external advice or delegation to team members.
5. Slow And Steady Wins The Race
You might think that the quicker your business grows, the better. What you might not know, is that around two-thirds of businesses that grow the fastest fail, and businesses that have fast revenue growth commonly suffer a poorer performance than startups that grow slowly.
Rushing into business growth could have a negative impact on your eventual success. Be patient and take everything one step at a time so that costly mistakes can be avoided and damaging growing pains don't end up destroying the company you've cultivated so far.
“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” – Guy Kawasaki, Alltop Co-Founder
The first year of a new business is a whirlwind of ups, downs and sometimes even sideways, underneath and everything in between. By reading the above five tips, and going into it with your eyes wide open, you're already well on your way to being one of the 80% of businesses that succeed in their first year.