Surviving Your First Year as a Start Up
Unfortunately it is a sad fact of life that many entrepreneurs who start out full of enthusiasm and ideas and even with a fair bit of planning struggle and succumb.
Some would say that the first year as an entrepreneur is the toughest time. Generally speaking nobody knows about you and you literally are starting from scratch. So there are some practical suggestions from practicing entrepreneurs about how you can survive your first year as a start-up.
Who is your audience?
Though this obviously is a question you will have addressed in the time before you began, it is vitally important that you keep this question and its answer to the forefront of your mind during your first 12 months. When you are rock solid certain as to who exactly is your audience, you are able to think and plan accordingly. Never lose sight of who is your audience.
Build a support team
There will be tough times. Very few entrepreneurs kick-starting a new business will find everything is plain sailing. So when the tough times arrive, when you need advice and encouragement, it's great to be able to call on people. They could be friends or family or fellow workers or even a mentor or two. If these people know all about your business and you keep them informed of your plans and progress, they'll be in an ideal position to give advice or encouragement or both if and when you strike some rough weather.
Networking without finance
Many entrepreneurs think that in their first year they need to spend significant amounts of money on marketing and promotion. Some entrepreneurs succeed without spending much if anything in these departments. Instead they concentrate on networking with relevant journalists, going to trade shows and seminars and working hard at the law of reciprocity. By being helpful to other people in the industry, they develop areputation of being cooperative and helpful and somebody who deserves a good turn.
Get some small success as soon as possible
Rather than trying to sell your goods or services to the entire world concentrate on finding a small group of people who genuinely want what you have to sell and work with them to make sure that it is a success. This gives you self-confidence and it shows to the wider world do what you have to offer really does have value. Outsourcing is good but having an expert on board is better
Of course there are many aspects of digital technology which you may not understand. It can be economically smart to outsource a number of tasks. But many successful entrepreneurs mention the fact that having at least one person on the team who is aware of trends and can perform a variety of tasks in the IT world is a big plus.
Don't neglect the work life balance
Some entrepreneurs in their first year of operation are naturally concerned that the project won't work. One way they seek to avoid failure is to workextremely long hours. This can be counterproductive. In order to be fit mentally and physically and in order to be open to new ideas you need from time to time to step back and as they say smell the roses. An entrepreneur who is working far too hard may think that they are making progress but in fact can be doing themselves a disservice.
Constantly check the timetable
It's vitally important that you have regular meetings to assess your progress. In creating your business plan you will have set a number of goals and a series of milestones. You must refer to this timetable on a regular basis. If you are not achieving your goals then it may be necessary to make changes. This could be the pattern of work, the sharing of responsibility or a change to your goals. But having laid out a business plan it must be referred to constantly.
When should you expand? In talking about the first 12 months of an enterprise, this topic in many cases will not arise. You are simply flat out trying to get a toehold in the industry and make sure that you become a successful entrepreneur. But there may bean opportunity, particularly if you have some sound financial footing, to consider adding to your workforce in order to make every post a winner. This issue may not be top of the list in your order of priorities but it is certainly something which should be on the list and addressed if necessary.
Get out there and enjoy yourself
You may be a first-time entrepreneur. You are certainly a first-time entrepreneur in this particular project. Whatever your situation it is most important that you see yourself as a living breathing human being. You're not a cog in a machine. You need to enjoy your work and boost your self-confidence by looking at all the positive things which have happened in your first year.