20 Things to Expect During Your First Year of Business
In a recent polling of U.S. business owners, the Small Business Administration (SBA) found that 21.5% of businesses close up shop within a year of launching. That percentage isn’t great by any means, but it should still provide some comfort to new business owners. So long as you have your ducks in a row and start your first year off strong, you should be in good shape to beat those odds.
In fact, the most common reasons for business failure in the first year are:
- Poor cash management – 82%
- Incompetence – 46%
- Lack of experience in management – 30%
- Lack of experience in industry – 11%
If you’re seeking out information on how to succeed in your first year of business, then you’re already proving that the last three problems won’t apply to you. Cash management will be a trickier one to master, but with the right resources and partners on your side, you should do just fine.
Now, surviving your first year of business is one thing. Thriving in your first year of business is another. No one can really say what exactly your future will hold during this first exciting and yet very scary year of business. However, there are certain things you can most definitely expect after that launch date.
You’ve got a fantastic idea for a new business. You create your plan, raise some funding, and launch! Now what? Well, here are 20 things you can expect to happen during your first year of business:
- You’re going to be super excited to start. Forget about drinking coffee. The excitement of having a new business will be enough to power you up, day and night.
- Then you’re going to start worrying. A lot. Where are the customers? Why aren’t they ordering more? Should you have launched later in the year? Do you have enough of a rainy day fund stored away?
- The ensuing stress is going to inspire you to do much more work. In fact, you’re probably going to try to do too much all at once and you’re going to think you can do it all on your own. If you don’t have anyone else to pay, that means a larger profit, right? (That’s not always the case, especially if you burn out.)
- Your confidence may wane as traffic doesn’t meet the expectations or goals you set for yourself going into this.
- And you’re probably going to lose a client or receive a bad review from a customer and star to think, “Why did I even start this business in the first place?”
- At which point, you might get impatient and think about taking a shortcut. Will paying for Google AdWords help better customers find you in search? Should you go on a local radio show to promote your business? Does your website need a complete overhaul even though you’re only three months in? What can you do to find better and more clients… Right. Now.
- But your friends, family, and acquaintances will all assure you that this business idea, which they’ve all supported from the get-go, is a viable solution. That it just takes time to get the word out about your business and to be patient. And you’ll realize they’re right.
- So you’ll spend your time reassessing your supply (either your physical inventories or your digital services) and adjust based on the current demand. That will ease some of the worries you have over profitability.
- Then you’ll give your business plan a tweak. It’s still a good idea, it may just need to be reined in a bit for a more realistic projection.
- Of course, this will inspire you to get out there and start hustling.
- You’ll revisit your website, ensuring that it is free of errors: spelling, grammatical, design, broken links, and so on. You want the online face of your website to be a seamless and pleasant experience for every visitor who comes through.
- You’ll get on social media and realize it’s not a scary place. In fact, you’ll find that there are plenty of people who want to talk to you on there about things that are important to you.
- You’ll realize that marketing is really the key in winning online business, that you can’t expect people to just walk right into your site as they would if you had a physical storefront. So you start subscribing to blogs and talking to people on social to learn more about what you need to do.
- You’re going to hear about something called SEO. It seems like a lot of work, but you wonder if there’s a way to bypass it. (There isn’t.) Then you’ll discover your first SEO tool and realize that automation rocks.
- You’ll see some story in the news about a business getting hacked and how bad it was for their reputation and sales. Then you’ll hear that the average cost of a security breach for small businesses is $7,115.26 and you’ll start getting serious about securing everything. Your Wi-Fi, hardware, software, website, etc.
- Traffic will start to pick up and you’ll think you can put aside all that work you did on your marketing, website, and security in order to focus on customer service. Then sales will dip a little and you’ll realize all those things actually contributed to a positive uptick in business.
- So you’ll start thinking about outsourcing. Just a little bit at first. Maybe an assistant to handle emails and simple customer inquiries. Maybe an accountant. And maybe even a freelance developer to do the occasional tweak to your site.
- As a small business owner, big data is your best friend and will clue you into what’s really happening with your business. You may even become a little obsessed with Big Data as you begin to uncover a wealth of information about your business, the competition, your customers, your website’s performance, sales trends, and more.
- You’ll come to accept that bigger isn’t always better. Shooting for the stars is great to start, but it’s not always realistic. You might find that targeting a smaller, more niche audience or geographic area will lead to more success in the long run.
- You’ll find the true voice of your business by year’s end. It won’t even be something you have to think about anymore. Your mission, your voice, your company persona will flow naturally from you, which, in turn, will lead to more sales and loyalty as customers sense the growing comfort and confidence within you.
As you can see from above, there are a lot of ups and downs, highs and lows in that first year. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes. But then you’ll learn from them. So long as you’re focused on continually improving, you’ll be able to keep your company moving forward and upward. Just remember to give that first year of business a solid start, so you can set yourself up strong for future success.
Feature Image: Pixabay
About the Author: Nathan Oulman writes around the web and loves the web hosting industry. He works on promoting iPage web hosting as a selection.