Starting a new business is undeniably the easiest part. You take a brilliant idea, find some capital, and set up shop. However, it is after the initial push that real trouble begins. The first year is the most crucial part of any business’ sustainability. There are a few basic needs you need to meet to survive your first business year. After an in-depth discussion with our business experts, who boast years to experience in handling business, here are the top three lessons we’ve learnt to help you sustain your business in the crucial first year.
- Find Prospects
Too many startups aim for perfection and fail to account for revenue. You might have the best product for the service you are hoping to provide, but if you cannot get customers that would buy your product, you would lose your business. It is one of the basic needs to survive in your first business year. With that in mind, your first year should be dedicated to identifying communities that would want to buy your product.
Also, don’t attempt to create the perfect product based on what you think the customer wants. This will only reduce your chances of doing so. You might create the best product in your vision, but your product would be a far cry from what the customer desires. Only the customer knows what they want. Hence, identify the right customer base. The process of identification of your customer base will also nourish your brand with a lot of exposure. One of the best platforms to find new prospects would be to run a Google campaign. Once your customer base is set, use their invaluable feedback to fine-tune your product and eventually create the perfect product.
- Maintain Cash Flow
The capital infusion is a business’ sustenance. But, in hopes of providing the best customer service and the best product, startups often go overboard. Hence, we come to the second basic need to survive in your first business year: maintaining cash flow. Managing your monthly cash expenses is crucial.
To ensure survival, avert squandering your resources and run your business with a conservative mindset. Maintain a good cash-flow management system and always keep track of your expenses (both current and anticipated). It is important to remember that sales do not equate to profits. You might do tremendously well in your first month, but it is necessary to know how much of the revenue will be used to pay the bills. The math quickly becomes very complicated and incomprehensible if not managed.
Additionally, it is important to make calculated decisions. For example, only hire the right people and avoid over-hiring. Make all your hires work to the fullest and leverage each minute of the workday.
- Don’t Panic
While not a revolutionary lesson, not panicking is a highly imperative need to survive your first business year, there will be endless reasons for you to lose your cool and take a misstep. Your product might underperform and not reach the sales you expected, or a critical team member leaves. Unforeseen competition could side-line your business, or your expense numbers might be off. The list goes on.
All these scenarios might seem fatal to your business, and hopelessness might seem inevitable, but remember that these fears are typical to all businesses. So, the best way to avoid such conditions is to listen to your instincts and take the right step.
Business is never easy, and the pandemic has exacerbated the situation drastically. However, remember that most of the problems that you might face on your journey will not be radical and new but rather be typical to all new businesses hoping to make it in the new world. So, use these essential tips to survive your first year in business successfully. Most importantly, focus on what matters the most and outperform your competition.