No matter how enthusiastic you are to get your startup up and running, the first year is going to be tough. There is no way around it. You will face challenges you did not expect, and you have to prepare for some difficult times ahead. Here are some of the lessons that can experienced entrepreneurs can teach you to help you through those tricky first few months.
Find a Mentor
One of the things that many successful entrepreneurs recommend is finding yourself a mentor. An experienced entrepreneur can provide you with invaluable advice and support that you won’t find in the pages of any book. They can also help you to get through difficult times as well as provide you with ideas for how to grow your business.
Get Feedback Constantly
Always ask for feedback from your customers, and get into the habit of doing this regularly. Talk to them, ask their advice, reward them with prizes for completing your surveys, and do market research throughout the first year and beyond.
Hire Experienced Professionals
As well as hiring employees and contractors to help you grow your business, make sure you hire experienced professionals. A good accountant can save you so much hassle, and they can often end up saving you money too (as well as avoiding problems with HMRC).
An experienced solicitor can also be a good contact to have. They can help you with any legal issues you have, and they could even provide you with advice for personal legal issues you may be facing, such as a drink driving ban.Infographic by Maria Fonseca
Talk to People
Talk to as many people as you can as soon as you start your business, and don’t stop talking to them. Meet people at events, go to networking events. talk to your friends and family about your ideas, talk to potential customers, and get inspiration from anyone and everyone. You never know where opportunities can arise.
Build Your Online Platform
Marketing is going to be a big concern when you first start out. You want the world to know about your startup, but it takes time. Rather than jumping in with expensive advertisements, focus on building your online platform using budget techniques.
A website, blog and social media accounts are all free or low-cost, but they are essential. These will help you get people talking about your business, so spend time creating content that your prospects want to read and share it online. You can do this yourself, or hire people to do it for you, but it does not have to cost a lot.
Build Your List
One thing to do from the first day is to start building an email list . This is highly affordable (and even free with some email providers), but it is so powerful. These are your hot prospects, the people you want to target again and again to become repeat customers, and as your list grows, you will find it becomes a powerful marketing tool.
Don’t Neglect the Rest of Your Life
Finally, you are going to be very busy in the first year, but remember to look after yourself. Eat properly, get enough sleep, and spend time with your family because they can suffer if you are too busy. By looking after yourself, you will ensure you are in the best possible shape to focus your energy on your business.
Lewis Cook is a successful business owner who is now able to take some time away from the business to enjoy life. He likes to help others just starting out in business, and writes business articles and gives talks to start-ups.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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