The Biggest Challenges of the First Year in Business

Almost half of all startups don’t make it past the first year. It’s because something was wrong with them long before they were open for business. During the first year, all the problems a business may have seem more stressful and more damaging because the team isn’t yet assembled and you still are finding your feet.

If you face these challenges head on and learn from them, your business will come out stronger and better prepared for everything that might come up.

A business plan

A business plan is a blueprint for your company. Its most immediate use will be to help you get loans and credit lines from banks and other financial institutions. Banks see the business plan as a proof that your business has a future and that they can be a part of it. But, it’s much more than this. Try to see it as a timeframe in which your company needs to take shape and go through a few milestones. This way, you can give your future employees something to work towards and you can measure how far you have gone.

Cash flow

Having a regular cash flow is often more important than raising a lot of initial capital. It might be a good idea to presell products or services by creating a partnership with a larger business in your community. That way, you will always have a backup source of cash to rely on. Try to plan expenses as carefully as possible and don’t go over the estimated budget unless it’s absolutely necessary. Also, never forget the remarketing campaign because it focuses on the customers who have already shown interest in your business and could become regular users of your products.

Employees

A company is only as good as its employees and good employees are not easy to find. There’s so much to take in consideration beyond qualification and previous experience. A business is a living organism and it’s important to find someone who can fit into the corporate culture you’ve created. This is especially the case in sales and other customer-based industries. It might be best to leave the recruitment to professionals because it can take up a lot of your time, which can be used more productively. Professional sales recruitment in Sydney can find you perfect employees while you deal with actually running the business.

Marketing

A good marketing campaign depends on how well you know your customers and their needs. Try to find out as much as you can by using focus groups and the information gathered via social media. Test a few different marketing strategies while your business is still relatively unknown. This way, you can try out a few different branding methods and not lose the customers when something doesn’t work out. Also, prepare several marketing channels right away and be ready to expand to new ones. Social media and blogs are important, but there’s still value in traditional media as well.

Problem solving

No matter how close your team is, there are going to be some problems in terms of communication and job satisfaction. It’s important to set up mechanisms for resolving these issues early. Create a friendly environment in which people can talk honestly about problems they might have. Make sure the employees have a clear career path set up for them because most of the job satisfaction problems are related to promotions and personal growth on the job. When everyone knows how they can get ahead, things work much more smoothly.

If you figure out the kinks in your business early on, you can focus on growing and expanding. This is why it’s important to use the first year to learn and to figure out what you want your business to be like.

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