Startup know how – Surviving your first year in business

Whilst setting up a new business can be immensely exciting and rewarding, we also know that the first 12 months in the life of a startup can be the most challenging. With recent statistics identifying that 50% of new business are likely to fail, a large percentage within the first year, the pressures to succeed are huge. As a new business owner, you are expected to learn a whole new skillset and you need to do this quickly if your business stands any chance of survival.

So, what steps can you take that will ensure your business passes the 12 month mark?

  1. Develop a watertight business plan

Yes, I know the team at Leading always bang on about this one! Joking aside, having a robust business plan in place will help you avoid many of the pitfalls that new business owners regularly face. It will ensure you have fully explored your marketplace, will allow you to understand your competition and most importantly enable you to develop the right proposition, at the right price, at the right time. Your business plan will identify specific, measurable milestones that will help you to monitor progress and keep you on track.

  1. Pick Your base

It is incredibly important that you pick the home for your business very carefully. If your business is based online, having a killer, easy to remember URL is essential. If you are creating a traditional retail company, choosing a location with lots of foot traffic would be advantageous. Make sure your business is positioned exactly where it needs to be.

  1. Take care of the pennies

Sounds completely obvious, but there is a huge amount of truth in the saying ‘take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves’. Your first year in business should become an exercise in frugality – keep your expenses down and if you identify a way to save money, no matter how small, use it. This will help your cashflow in more turbulent periods and develop good habits as the business grows.

  1. Always have a plan B

No doubt about it, things will go wrong, especially in your first year of trading. As part of the planning stage, consider the areas that are likely to present the most challenge and then implement a plan to combat them should they ever rear their ugly head.

  1. Reflect

Yes, I know you will be working flat out and life in this first year will whizz by in a blur. BUT, it is essential that you are taking the time to reflect on your progress and monitor your position against the agreed objectives in your business plan. Taking time to measure your success (or in some cases lack thereof) will ensure you either stay on track or if need be, make alterations to increase your chance of survival.

At Leading Strategies we work with a wide range of business owners to help them develop their business plan. You can read more about what we do here by visiting: http://www.leadingstrategies.co.uk/leading-strategies/business-planning/