While launching your first start-up can be quite overwhelming and stressful, the truth is that this isn’t even the hardest part. What truly matters is whether you’ll manage to keep your company alive, and the first year will determine exactly that. It’s estimated that approximately 80-90% of start-up businesses don’t survive the first year and according to Bloomberg, the major global provider of 24-hour financial news and information, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 months. While these numbers are quite alarming, they surely aren’t a reason to back down now, because you know what they say: the secret of getting ahead is getting started. Let’s see how to survive the first year of your start-up:
Form a Trusted Team
Having the right kind of support during the first year is one of the most important steps and can be achieved through picking out the right people for the job. Forming a quality team isn’t an easy task, as you’ll want to have beside you people who share your vision, people who are skilled and smart and most importantly – people you can trust. Another important aspect is not only who you’re going to let in your team, but also when. Timing is everything and you need to keep in mind that being a founder of a company, you’re responsible for your team, so make sure to keep it small and top quality.
Target Your Clientele
Whatever you’re trying to sell, remember that your product is indeed just that – a product intended to be sold to a specific audience. Most fresh entrepreneurs get so caught up in their product that they tend to forget that they aren’t building it for themselves, but for the people. This is why it’s important to learn who your target audience is and focus on providing that group of people with something they need and want. It’s a good idea to create an initial group of trusted clientele and they’ll do the marketing part instead of you. Remember – a satisfied customer is the best advertisement.
No matter how great, fresh and innovative your idea is, if you wish to see your company flourish, you’ll need to give it an opportunity to evolve into something bigger. While keeping the original idea and character of the product is very much desirable, it’s also a good idea to be open for change. If you want your company to grow, you’ll need to let your product and ideas grow with it.
Take a Break
One of the biggest mistakes, by far, is letting your business take the best of you. This happens to many young entrepreneurs and quite often is the reason for their downfall. It’s really important to learn to differentiate between being passionate about your work and being obsessed with it. Don’t let yourself become too involved in your work, rather learn to create a good balance between your personal life and your work life. It will make all the difference.
Invest Your Money Wisely
Last, but certainly not least is managing your finances throughout the year. Firstly, you’ll want to avoid investing too much money in marketing and PR; it’s much smarter to invest that money into building your product further. Other than that, you’ll want to build strong relations with potential investors and master the cash-flow thinking. Spend your fundraising time wisely and focus on smart strategies such as getting invoice loans or relying on crowd-funding.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca once said: “It’s a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.” So if you have run into some bumps along the way that only means that you’re on the right track. No business has ever prospered without hard work, dedication and effort, so just keep on going and eventually you’ll reach your goal.
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