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Entrepreneurship is about survival & the first few years of small business ownership are the toughest, a huge test of entrepreneurial character, creativity and resilience. A half of new businesses survive more than five years & only 25% last more than 15 years. To increase your changes of success in the early years see these approaches:
Year 1 – Be Prepared – One of the first things you’ll probably encounter in your first year is that things rarely go as planned. Be prepared for the unexpected. You may need to diversify your product line or change your true niche. Maybe demand for your product goes through the roof and you can’t cope or you find your suppliers aren’t reliable. Predicting shifts in the market isn’t easy especially without a decent market research budget, but you can prepare by having a plan & sufficient cash reserves to allow adjustments to your year one strategy. Part of your planning strategy should focus on maintaining cash flow and having reserves.
Chances are you are on your own, doing most of the necessary activities. You are likely feeling overwhelmed, no matter how high your energy level! Get help. You may not be ready to employ but get a coach. Well worth the investment. Someone who can help you play to your Strengths so you can maximize your time and effort. Someone who is a business owner and can motivate you & keep you focused.
You don’t know what you don’t know. Join a Mastermind group or a team of smart people who can advise you. Make this a regular activity at least once a month. There are some great county-wide free resources. Ask people to be your mentor, seek out experts. Generally people are willing to help. This is not a time for pride !
Year 2 – Reflect On Your Business – At the end of year one, reflect back. Build on your successes & good investments and minimize shortcomings. Talk them through with a mentor, what should you do more of? How can you do it even better?
Year two is also the time to work ON your business (vs. working in it).Becoming a successful business owner involves being a true advocate for your business, relinquish control of some day-to-day business operations & get out there and talk about the successes and value.
Year 3 – Build on What Works –By now you feel you’ve found a formula and a niche that works. Business fluctuations still happen, but you likely have a good view of your financial projections & can better prepare for market fluctuations. If your niche is working for you, keep focused & customer-centric. Look for opportunities to grow the business and you as a business leader. Build on your Strengths so you are more effective each year. Build on your business skills – strategic thinking and marketing to stay ahead.
Finally & most importantly have faith. Wherever you get faith from find it often. Besides my Christian faith and & yoga/meditation, I love the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, it helps me stay focused & “believe.” Enjoy the ride!
*Source – Churchill Leadership Group & Caron Beesley, Community Moderator