Starting a business is a daunting prospect, and the first year is definitely the hardest.
However, it’s also the most rewarding, a time in which you’ll learn an incredible amount about how to successfully run a company.
Here are just a few life lessons you may encounter during the first 12 months of launching your start-up:
- Your target market isn’t ‘everybody’
A sale is a sale, but undoubtedly certain sectors will yield more business than others. If you try to court everybody as a customer, you’ll end up missing the mark more often than you convert a sale.
- Over promising is your enemy
Getting a significant order is a hugely exciting moment, but sometimes it can be tempting to bite off more than you can chew. Manage people’s expectations, both in terms of what you can produce, and when you can deliver it by.
- The clock doesn’t stop at 5:30
Being an entrepreneur is really hard work. Even when you’re not at the office or working on a project, your brain will find it almost impossible to switch off – and some of your best ideas will come to you at 1am. It always pays to keep a notepad at the side of the bed!
- Failing to prepare is preparing to fail
In a small workforce and high stakes environment, being organized is essential. Combining a creative vision with a structured approach to fulfillment and growth is the best way to build a start-up business.
- Financials are a necessary evil
Nobody can hide from the taxman, so it’s best to let a professional handle the details of your financial requirements. This is a sound investment if it liberates you to spend more time nurturing new business.
- It pays to see the bigger picture
So many company founders get weighed down in the day-to-day detail that long-term strategies seem to get lost along the way. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to trusted colleagues, and continually ask yourself what’s the most effective job you can be doing for your business. We guarantee it won’t be getting involved in detailed daily decisions.
- Never stop learning
Everything shoppers, rivals or even the world at large does can teach you something applicable to your business. Keep an open mind and write down as many notes as possible.
- Success moves quickly
The consumer landscape moves incredibly quickly, so it pays to act fast on new ideas. This could be the concept for your business or a clever marketing strategy to bring in new custom. One thing is for sure; if you sit on it, someone else will think of it and act on it.
- Enthusiasm is infectious
It’s a simple truth: if you founded the company, you’re bound to believe in it. Talk from the heart, not the head, and soon others will buy into your vision.
- Customers are your greatest source of feedback
You’re creating goods and selling services so that people will buy them – why not listen to what those buyers want? Honest customer feedback helps you build a business around what real people want, and that approach fosters lucrative long-term loyalty.
- Failure is not to be feared
In your first year of business – and sometimes beyond – you’re bound to make several mistakes. Rather than berate these bad decisions, pick yourself up, learn from them and get it right next time. Often it’s the difficult times that eventually define a company’s success.
- Never give up
Following on from our last point, a setback isn’t the ending. If you’re passionate about your product, and you’re determined to make it a success, you’ll be amazed how many others want to be part of your dream.