If you have stumbled on a wonderful idea, you might be wondering how to ensure your first year in business is a success. It’s a tough market out there but the potential for opportunity is always ripe – the chance to find a better way of doing things is always all around us. Here are five steps that will help you make your first year in business a successful one.
1. Establish Support Structures
The first year in business is always the most stressful because you’re still discovering your processes and establishing your workflows. It’s easier to sign new clients and accept larger projects when you have your business’ structural elements in place. Support structures come from small business IT support, a great accounting service, a business coach, and an HR professional. These are the professions you can turn to for guidance, ensuring you follow the best protocols from the get-go.
2. Establish Workflow Structures
This seems over-the-top, but it’s actually one of the greatest ways to ensure your business is a success in its first year. Map out the lifecycle of a project. Every single assignment that enters your office should have a due process. It might start with a customer service representative, then move to the creative department (depending on your industry) before it is quality checked and sent back to the customer service rep who forwards it to the client (and the accounts department for invoicing). Knowing every step of the process ensures accountability for each team member.
3. Get A Stellar Team Behind You
You’re only as strong as your weakest link, so choose your team carefully. Your team isn’t only your employees – it includes your service providers and any third-party organizations that play a role in your work. Aim to only do business with and employ people who possess self-leadership skills (they are accountable for their actions, responsive to feedback, and find new ways to simplify old procedures). This is one of the most undervalued elements of successful businesses.
4. Aim To Add Value (Success Will Follow)
Success is about adding value. When you stop aiming to be successful and focus all of your energy on finding new ways to provide value to people, success automatically follows. It’s the fastest way to elevate your business. This might look like adding a tier or two to your services that are absolutely free – your paid services will quickly take off as a result of attracting people with your free offerings. That’s only one idea. The options are endless. You might find an easier, faster, cheaper way to offer the same value your competitors do – make sure your clients feel those benefits and success will naturally follow.
5. Network Like There’s A Million Tomorrows
A business owner must develop two sets of support networks. The first is a professional network of fellow businesses. This might be a guild (if you’re creative) or it might be as non-specific as a general networking group. Rely on this group for professional advice, recommendations, and guidance.
Develop a second support network for family and friends but avoid asking them for advice. Instead, keep this network support group as an avenue to vent and share your feelings. Your networks can help you to problem-solve and keep you focused when you feel discouraged.
There’s no straight path to success. In fact, the more twists and turns there are on your pathway, the more you are likely to learn, grow, and improve yourself. Implementing these five steps will help you stay focused when times are tough.
Image credit: Unsplash.com – Razvan Chisu