A first time business owner is likely to find themselves under a lot of pressure they've never experienced before. There is no magic formula for how to make a business successful and there are going to be rough patches, especially during the first year. The new business owner doesn't usually have large stores of capital and struggles to come out ahead. After all, there are monthly business notes to repay, inventory to replenish, payroll if there are employees, lease and utilities. The expenses never end. As you journey into your first year of business, here are some things that might help when you hit those rough patches.
1. Cash Shortages
There will be cash shortages. Those shortages may be caused by clients who don't pay their invoices in a timely manner. This is a common issue, which is why there's a common solution. An invoice factoring company can purchase those unpaid invoices from your business so you get the cash you need to continue operating your business. The burden of collecting on the invoices falls on the factoring company.
2. Create a Memorable Logo
While the level of service your business provides should be how people judge your business, it's often not the reason they choose you for a product. People remember logos. If they remember your company's logo, they recognize your business as having a personality and they also have some type of emotional connection to it.
A logo is often a person's first introduction to a brand, making it your first opportunity to make an impression. Investing in having a professional designer create your business's logo is money well spent. It's the first step in building your brand, which you'll need to do a lot of your first year.
3. Save Money
Saving money before you even open your business. It's rare that a new business actually makes a profit the first year. There are going to be hard times, and there are going to be times when you question whether you stay in and give it a chance. You absolutely should give your business a chance to get off the ground.
Very few businesses see high levels of success the first year, and sometimes not even the second year. The longer you stick with it, the more your chances of success increase. Saving money will help you get through this dry spell. Even if the business doesn't make a profit, the hope is it can at least sustain itself.
4. Build a Business Plan
It's likely you had to create a business plan when you were looking for financing for your new business plan. Just because your doors are open doesn't mean that business plan should be pushed to the side. Your business needs that business plan. In fact, the business plan should be updated every year.
Your business plan is your guide, or instruction book, for how to reach your goals. Make your business plan detailed so that you have dates set for when you plan to reach certain goals. Refer to your plan often, as it will help keep you motivated. As long as the goals you set were realistic, they should be reached and help to keep you on track for growth.
5. Listen To Your Customers
Your first year in business is a chance to gather feedback. Your customers will be honest with what they like and don't like with what you're doing. They'll also tell you what they need and wish you could provide. You won't be able to fulfill everyone's wish list, but you're probably going to hear a lot of repeat requests. Those are the ones that should make our ears perk. Where there is demand is where you need to be steering your ship.
Don't just listen to the customers you meet in person. Hopefully you've also built an e-commerce site. Those customers should be heard as well, and you should respond to their feedback. Find them on review sites. If they didn't like something about their experience with your business, address it with them and see what you can do to make it right.
6. Look Out for You
Your first year in business is going to take a toll on you, mentally and physically. It's okay to sometimes feel down, but during those times, do something for yourself to pick yourself back up. Your business needs you, but you need you more. Take care of yourself and be sure you eat healthy and get plenty of exercise. This will help keep your mental focus sharp and your mood healthy.
Finances will probably prove to be the toughest part of your first year or two in business. As long as you're prepared to make it through, and you've got a solid business plan, there's no reason for it to not get easier. Once you've made it over those first hurdles, your business will provide you with many years of rewarding adventure.