One of the most notorious statistics in the business world claims that 95% of all small businesses fail within the first five years. Still, for most entrepreneurs, this can happen even sooner. You may plan, plan and plan away but as legendary Prussian general Helmuth von Moltke the Elder once said: “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy”. Once your business is up and running, the situation will change with each passing day, so here are a few tips on how to adapt and survive your first year as an entrepreneur.
1. Short-term goals are important
Your company’s long-term goals may be clear from the start but where do you see your company in a month, a week or even tomorrow? In order to reach your vision, you need to monitor it every step of the way. Sometimes, this short-term goal will be measured in the increase of your website’s traffic. On another occasion, your conversion rates will be used as an indicator. Most commonly, however, the increase in your revenue will be your measure of short-term success. Keep in mind, though, that these goals need to be constantly updated in order to stay both valid and relevant.
2. Turn to traditional marketing
While social media marketing, influencer marketing and SEO are incredibly important, you cannot allow yourself to neglect traditional marketing methods either. Telemarketing is still an incredibly efficient technique of B2C outreach, which creates a much more professional aura around you. Moreover, in order to leave a positive first impression on your future customers, you might even want to think about the idea of using promotional materials. Companies operating from NSW, Australia might want to look for digital printing in Sydney in order to review what their options are in this regard.
3. Exploit impulse buying
Even with the best of efforts, it is highly unlikely that, as a new business, you will have the best offer on the market. This is why you need to target the emotions of your clients rather than try to appeal to their rational thinking. One of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make is directing their attention to their company, service or product instead of focusing on the customer. In other words, in your marketing campaign or product placement, try to show your customers what the service/product you are offering can do for them, instead of just listing its ‘impressive’ properties.
4. Avoid overinvesting
Dipping into your profits too soon may be a serious misstep but overinvesting can be equally as bad. You see, sometimes a massive workload increase may be nothing more than a fluke. This means that expanding your business might not bring you the expected ROI. The only way to avoid this particular scenario is to always be suspicious of your success in order not to allow it to bait you to overinvest. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, seeing as how a winning streak may make an inexperienced entrepreneur feel invincible.
5. Take some time to rest
At the end of the day, if the financial troubles don’t kill your business in its infancy, the exhaustion is as likely to do this. Micro-managing everything is a daunting task – not only will it take up all of your time and energy, but it will make you less efficient in those tasks that require your involvement the most. Apart from this, your social life is bound to suffer as well. Take some time to rest either by hiring a virtual assistant or by giving more autonomy to your subordinates. At one point, this will have to be done, so why not deal with it right away?
Finally, you need to keep in mind that running a company isn’t a race but a marathon where every step counts. Avoiding at least these five mistakes will drastically increase your chances of being within those 5% of company-survivors, instead of sharing the fate of the greatest majority of your industry. Gradually expand, slowly increase the difficulty of your goals and remember that burning out early in order to secure an initial success isn’t a particularly great deal, since you will have to be in charge of the company for decades to come.