For every small business owner, the first year in business is always the toughest. Often, what happens during your business’ first year can determine whether or not it will succeed in the future. Life & Business Coach, Lauren Trlin, explains why the first year is the most crucial year in small business.
She shares the 10 important things that she learnt in her first year of small business.
Develop a success mindset
Your first year in business is a self-development journey and a business journey. Business will only amplify your fears, self-limiting beliefs and any weaknesses so you need to spend as much time developing yourself and your mindset as you do on your business. After all, your business will only go as far as you.
You will change
You will change and grow an incredible amount in your first year in business and you may notice that some people won’t join you on that journey. Embrace the opportunity to make new connections and grow into the next version of yourself. You’ll be grateful for the process when you look back years later.
Build a powerful A-Team
One of the biggest assets I’ve had at my disposal is the powerful network of friends, family and professionals that support me on my journey. My connections have brought me business, connected me to great opportunities and they have been a source of support and nurturing on my journey. It’s can take years to nurture these relationships but they’re critical to your success.
Don’t take any shortcuts
Getting the right systems and processes in place for your business from the outset will save you a lot of time and money in the long-run. It will also ensure that you’re not stuck in the whirlwind of administrative tasks that don’t actually earn your business money.
You won’t be able to do everything
There is a great maxim that you should apply to your business – “Done is better than perfect”. You will exhaust yourself and get very little done if you expect to complete everything to 100% of your ability. Instead, allow yourself to achieve 80% and get more done. No one will probably even notice the 20% you have missed.
Selfishly hoard your time
It’s true when they the say that running your business is a 24/7 endeavour. You never have the luxury of truly “switching off” and it’s tempting to work all hours of the day. You need to deliberately carve out time in your week that you spend away from your business. You should use this time to rest, learn and connect with friends and family. The time spent away from the business will only make you a better business-owner.
Don’t overthink it
You need to accept that in your first year of small business you’ll be flying by the seat of your pants. There is a lot that you won’t know or understand. It can be overwhelming, frightening or frustrating. These feelings are completely normal. Don’t overthink the process. Just make the best decision that you can make at that point in time and trust that you’ll figure the rest out along the way.
Know your worth
A lot that happens in business is about trusting your ability and the value that you deliver to your customers. Do not undervalue your time or the value that you offer. Charge what is fair for your work and do not be tempted to offer everyone a discount. You’ll need that revenue to cover your expenses and invest back into your business.
Understand your customer
I cannot overemphasise the importance of understanding the needs of your ideal customer. Figure out who your ‘Ideal Customer’ is and what their unique needs are. You’ll need to constantly be asking for feedback in order to improve your business offering. After all, you won’t have a business if you’re not meeting the needs of your customers.
Business is a marathon not a sprint. You can feel as though you’re not getting anywhere in your first year but you’re laying down important groundwork for the years to come. Set realistic KPIs in order to track your progress and acknowledge yourself for the small wins along the way. It’s a rollercoaster of highs and lows but it’s worth it.
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