Six Tips to Survive Your First Year in Business

If you’re in the pilot stage of small business ownership, you have heard the stories of one business failure after another. The naysayers will do their best to bring you down, so focus on the fact that 75% of new businesses make it through the first year and 50% make it to their fifth year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. While a 50% chance of survival might not make you feel too confident, keep in mind you can take a lot of steps to ensure your success. Take a look at these five tips you can use to help ensure your business keeps moving full steam ahead.

Keep Your Expenses Low

New businesses often fail because they run out of cash, so aim to keep your costs down, as low as you can, until your sales really start coming in. If you took out a title loan and now can’t pay it back, a title loan refinance might be the answer for keeping your business afloat. Aim to only hire team members you absolutely need and opt to use freelancers and contractors to fill in the gaps. If you can operate without an office space, do so as long as possible.

Be Customer Centric

While your goal is to create a great product and business, nothing is possible if you don’t help your customer. Be attuned to your customer's needs and take their feedback and use it to better what you offer. Customer satisfaction surveys can help you address issues more quickly, boost their satisfaction, and improve your customer service. Essentially, surveys can save your business and allow you to build a business with products and services that people want and need.

Grow Your Network

In general, the more people you know, the better. Any person may be your next customer, partner, sounding board, or source of inspiration. Take the time to reach out to other professionals in your field and other entrepreneurs. The more contacts you make, the more opportunities will arise and more supporters you will have.

Measure and Adapt as Needed

It’s very easy to become inundated with things you need to do, and analytics and charts are no exception. Keep track of things like where your foot traffic comes from, how people are finding your website, and what your gross profit percentage is per product. There are many reasons small businesses benefit from market research, too. It will help you minimize your risks, too – do your research to ensure there is a market for products before you expand your line.

Keep Up With Your Competition

Market research, as mentioned above, can also give you a peek inside your competitors’ mind. It’s essential to you know what your rivals are doing so you can make sure you do it better. Their strengths can act as a benchmark for your performance and you can use their weaknesses to your advantage.

Prioritize Productivity

Today, people are busy all of the time. Make sure all of this busyness translates to moving your business forward. Every year you need to be careful with how you spend your time, but the first year, it’s especially essential to be selective with how you spend your time. Often, entrepreneurs do their best to surge forward but instead move sideways.

The first year in business usually fails to church much profit at all, even with low start-up costs, you will eventually have to invest money in your business to grow it by expanding your services or products and hiring a larger team to help you. Business ownership is difficult, but when you use the right tricks to ensure survival, your business can thrive.

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