A new business can be an exciting time in your life, but it can also be quite nerve wracking. Questions such as, ‘how can I possibly succeed with this?’ often plague the mind of many a business owner. However, success is there for anyone willing to grasp it. You only have to learn how!
For those seeking a guide to success as a new business owner, there are a number of things that you must do in your first year as a startup. Follow these steps and success will cross your path.
Create a Comprehensive Business Plan
Planning is at the heart of a business. You can either find great success or great failure on the back of your business plan, so you must ensure that it is comprehensive enough to fall back on whenever you need it. It is the blueprint for your life moving forward and as such you must treat it as such!
As such, you must set out in writing your initial investment plans, growth, financial projection, and at least a five-year growth plan.
No doubt your plan will change and morph over the life of your business, industries change dramatically overnight after all! But, this document is a cornerstone of your success moving forward and you should update it regularly moving forward.
Part and parcel of your business plan is a realistic financial projection. However, this can be much harder as it requires you to be honest with yourself about the financial realities of your new business. If seeking outside investment, then potential investors want to see cold, hard, numbers before they take a stake in your business. But it is tough to try and determine what your income will be three months down the line, let alone three years as some business plans do.
So, what do you do?
The first step is to become very comfortable when using a spreadsheet and working out how to use the various formulas and methods. If your arithmetic skills aren’t the best, it may be a good idea to seek outside help with this aspect of your business plan. Your spreadsheet can be used to form a basis for your income statement, which includes a full breakdown of assets, outgoings and equities. A cash flow projection – showing how the money will move through your company – is also a good tool to help sway investors.
While you will be providing a short term and long term financial projection, the narrative should only have two streams. The best case scenario and the worst. These are the two scenarios that your investors will want to see without a doubt. Adding innumerable ‘middle’ scenarios will only act to confuse matters.
Finding investment is in the modern day very difficult, but with the right projections in your business plan, you can convince the right people to back you.
Some say that a solid business is built upon an ‘Army of Entrepreneurs’. Which suggests that the people that you first hire when setting up your business should be as hungry as you are for success. These are the people that will have the biggest impact and so recruit smart, not with feeling. Hire the proven candidates with measurable successes.
Also, remember that your managing style will also have a huge impact on how your business will evolve. A good manager will help to create a positive company culture. Which means it is important to get your management style right from day one. Make your employees happy and you might be surprised at the success that follows!
When you are first starting out as a business owner, no doubt you won’t have a set place to work. Indeed, perhaps you are only just making the leap from freelancer to a business owner. Whatever your circumstances are, chances are you won’t have considered the very real risk of legal action that you now face as a business.
From disgruntled clients to public liability, having the right protection is vital for the success of your moving forward. After all, one wrong legal case against you could bankrupt you before you even begin. Whether you are an engineering contractor setting up a business or a journalist becoming a wider broadcaster, setting up the right insurance is vital for the protection of your business. You will need the appropriate media insurance or equivalent for your new venture.
Set Your Ego Aside
Nothing is a bigger arrow to the knee of success more than arrogance or an over inflated ego. Begin each day with the knowledge that you will learn something new, grow as a business owner and take your company one step further in the right direction.
Overall, there’s no guaranteed manual or guide that a new business owner can follow for guaranteed success. But, follow these steps and you will be halfway there! The other half? Determination, hard work and the will to succeed. The foundations of all good business.