The first year of business is often the most challenging. You’re trying to find your footing, establish yourself in the market, and make a profit. It’s no wonder that many businesses don’t make it through their first year. In fact, statistics show that nearly 20% of businesses fail within their first year. So, how can you ensure that your business isn’t one of them? By following the simple tips outlined below.
1. Make a realistic budget and stick to it.
One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is underestimating their expenses. When you’re putting together your budget, be sure to include all of your fixed costs (i.e. rent, insurance, salaries) as well as your variable costs (i.e. marketing, advertising, materials). And don’t forget to leave room for unexpected expenses!
Once you have your budget, do your best to stick to it. That means being disciplined with your spending and only shelling out money when it’s absolutely necessary.
2. Review your budget regularly.
Once you have a budget, not only is it important to stick to it, but it’s also important to review it often. During your first year of business, you haven’t had an opportunity to establish any baseline sales and spending figures. If you find you’re consistently coming in under budget, you may be able to reallocate some of those funds to other areas of your business. On the flip side, if you’re regularly going over budget, you’ll need to either find ways to cut costs or generate more revenue.
3. Keep your personal and business finances separate.
When you’re self-employed, it can be tempting to mix your personal and business finances. But this is a huge mistake! Not only is it difficult to keep track of where your money is going, but it can also lead to problems come tax time. So open a separate bank account and credit card for your business and make sure all of your business-related expenses are coming out of that account.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Starting a business can feel like a lonely endeavor, but you don’t have to go it alone! There are plenty of resources available to help you get started, from Small Business BC to the Business Development Bank of Canada. These organizations can provide you with advice, guidance, and financial assistance when you need it most. So don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help—it could be the difference between success and failure. Your accountant is a great source of advice too!
5. Focus on your customer service.
In your first year of business, it’s important to focus on providing excellent customer service. This will help you build a strong reputation and attract repeat customers. Make sure your employees are properly trained and that they understand the importance of delivering top-notch service and/or products.
6. Keep an eye on your competition.
Depending on your industry, you may not have much competition. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be keeping an eye on them! Pay attention to what they’re doing and see if there are any areas where you can improve upon their offerings. This will help you stay one step ahead as your business grows.
7. Don’t be afraid to make changes.
If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it! In your first year of business, you’ll probably make a few mistakes. But that’s okay! The important thing is to learn from those mistakes and make the necessary changes so you don’t repeat them in the future.
8. Have patience.
Starting a business takes time, energy, and money. And there will be times when you feel like you’re not making any progress. But it’s important to have patience and keep moving forward. If you give up too easily, you won’t ever reach your goals. So keep your head up and keep moving forward—you’ll get there eventually!
9. Network to spread the word.
One of the best ways to get your business off the ground is by networking. Attend local business events, join relevant organizations, such as your local Chamber of Commerce, and reach out to other businesses in your industry. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to find customers and partners who can help you grow your business.
10. Celebrate your successes.
Starting a business is a lot of work—so don’t forget to celebrate your successes! Whenever you reach a milestone, take some time to reflect on how far you’ve come and all that you’ve accomplished. This will help keep you motivated and focused on your goals.
11. Be prepared for bumps in the road.
No business is immune to challenges, so it’s important to be prepared for them. Have a plan in place for what you’ll do if things don’t go as expected. This will help you weather any storms that come your way and keep your business afloat.
12. Have a long-term vision.
It’s important to have a long-term vision for your business—this will help you make strategic decisions and stay focused on your goals. Think about where you want your business to be in five or ten years and work backwards from there. What do you need to do today to make that happen?
13. Stay flexible.
No matter how well you plan, there will always be surprises. So it’s important to stay flexible and be willing to make changes when necessary. This will help you adapt to the ever-changing landscape of your industry and keep your business relevant.
14. Keep learning.
In order to be successful in business, you need to constantly be learning. Read books, listen to podcasts, attend seminars—do whatever you can to educate yourself on the latest trends and best practices. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and give you an edge over your competition.
15. Persevere through tough times.
Starting a business is not for the faint of heart—there will be times when it’s hard, frustrating, and even overwhelming. But it’s important to persevere through those tough times and keep moving forward. Remember why you started your business in the first place and let that be your motivation to keep going.
Starting a business is hard enough without having to worry about going broke during the first year. But by following these simple tips—making a realistic budget, keeping your personal and business finances separate, and asking for help when you need it—you can give yourself a much better chance at success. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help by filling out this form.