People often misjudge the difficulty of starting and managing their own business. There are some exceptions to the rule but on average the 1st year of any new business is a make-or-break period and the accompanying stress can be very difficult to handle. Decisions that are made in the first year of a new business can have far reaching implications on the success and future growth potential of that business.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs of today have failed to succeed on the first try and some even failed consistently before breaking through. The autobiographies of successful entrepreneurs are a good investment and the information and advice contained within is priceless. In this article we will be taking a closer look at 7 tips that could help you survive the first year.
1. What Do You Want to Achieve?
It is very important that you make sure of the reasons why you started (or want to start) your own business. If your aim is to become the richest man on earth, starting a second hand globe dealership might not be the best idea that you have ever had. If your goal is not compatible with your business model success will be impossible to achieve (e.g. wanting to spend more time at home with your family by starting a 24/7 video store might not be advisable.)
2. Never Give Up and Never Surrender
There will be times when you will want to throw in the towel and give-up. It is important to push through and not surrender. Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities that could just be the breakthrough that you have been waiting for. Look back at what you have already achieved and think things through carefully. Taking a break from work for a day or two might just be what the doctor ordered and could help you to regain your focus and inspiration. The difference between success and failure could be as small as one more day of effort.
3. Surround Yourself with Competent People
This is one of the most important factors that could determine the success or failure of your business. Never be willing to settle for second best when you hire people. Be on the lookout for talent and crab it when you see it. Good staff is hard to come by and incompetent staff have the ability to destroy your business.
4. Do Not Be Too Proud to Ask for Advice
Get into the habit of discussing your business with people within the industry or people close to you. When you manage your own business you can become so involved with the day-to-day issues that you start to lose focus. People that are not involved with your business might be able to highlight obvious solutions or provide valuable insight. Even Superman needs Louis Lane.
5. Set Achievable Goals and Deadlines
Be realistic when you set goals, targets and deadlines. Nothing is as demoralising as not meeting deadlines and targets. Use a daily “to do” list and a weekly schedule in order to keep track of your targets and deadlines.
6. Monitor, Measure and Adapt
You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Analyze the key performance areas of your business and be willing to change or adapt your business if needed. Performance that is monitored effectively will provide you with an early warning system that could help you to make the right business decisions at the right time.
7. Cherish your Customers
Without loyal customers your business will not succeed. Focus on building a lasting relationship with your customers and always respond as quickly as possible to customer queries. The use of social media to interact with your customer base is very effective and should be explored.
The satisfaction of creating and managing a successful business makes all of the effort worthwhile. In order to handle the stress of managing your own business it is important to exercise regularly and to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Do not forget to have fun and to spend time with your family and the people that you love. Success only has meaning when you are able to share it with someone else!