survive first year entrepreneur

How to Survive Your First Year as an Entrepreneur

By Uwe Dreissigacker

Even before you wanted to dive in and start your business, you probably heard the dreadful numbers associated with entrepreneurial failure. Being bombarded with these statistics can be a nerve wracking experience. You may even begin thinking that going through with this is a fool’s errand. Au contraire my friend.

In reality, things aren’t as bad as some make it out to be. Over 80% of new businesses survive their first year. By year five, about 50% end up failing. It can indeed be discouraging seeing such failure rates, but that shouldn’t get you down. You are in the driver’s seat of your life — don’t let chance dictate your choices whether it’s in business or personal life.

We are here to guide you in the right direction so you can survive your first year as an entrepreneur and pave a fruitful path to a thriving and long lasting venture.

Stay Passionate About Your Product

Passion for the business you operate should exude from the seams. Businesses start crumbling once the passion evaporates and you start dreading your business decision. Your disdain becomes obvious not only to the people you work with but also to your customers. In the long run it can create less-than ideal work environment and your business may begin to falter.

Avoid jumping on trends or bandwagoning a business opportunity if you’re not motivated by it. There are many business ideas out there that may seem like a guaranteed success but if your passion for it is fleeting, your business will be too.

Commit to something you’re motivated by something you believe in. That’s the first thing that should be on your mind when pondering a business opportunity. A venture is destined to fail when the motivation and the desire doesn’t withstand the test of time and gets extinguished.

Be an Entrepreneur with a Plan

Being an entrepreneur with a plan is essential for attracting potential investors, and helps guide your actions. First years for a new business are critical and you may need to acquire additional capital which will help propel your business forward. Angel investors and lenders will inquire you about a business plan. It’s proof of your commitment to the idea and will help them assess the chances of your success.

An actionable business plan is also an asset to you as an entrepreneur. It’s there to keep you on the right track. This plan is a directory that keeps everyone up to speed on what’s going on within. Individuals who are vested in your venture will have a clear understanding of the direction you’re moving in, and what this business aims to accomplish.

This plan doesn’t have to be a couple hundred pages long. Keep it detailed enough that your idea and your vision is clear to everyone.

Avoid Organizational Culture Clash

Organizational culture is an important aspect within any business — old or new. In essence it’s the way things are done within an organization. People that are working alongside in your company should more or less share similar values that reflect the product or a service and align with the vision of your company.

Things can get a bit hairy when there is a clash in organizational culture. Individuals you bring on board may not all assimilate as well as you had hoped. The camaraderie that has developed in your company can get thrown off by those who lack that similar organizational approach. In long term it can lead to managerial disputes, plummeting work quality, etc.

It all depends on your business and what you’re aiming to accomplish. The ideal long term employment strategy is looking for personnel who personify the company’s attitude and don’t cause unnecessary tension. Tension in the workplace is highly contagious. 

Don’t Scale Too Quick

Being overzealous and committing to quick expansion can spell out disaster for your business. Don’t confuse short-term success with long-term growth. Make sure you’re able to sustain the growth and that it’s not just a temporary fluctuation in the market that caused a spike in your revenue.

Entrepreneurs like to jump the gun and at the first sight of cash flow already set their sights on expansion. Expansion is great and it could potentially be part of your long-term strategy but you need to be absolutely sure the growth is here to stay.

Make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach. Don’t invest too much too quickly into expansion. Analyze your growth, review your business forecasts and interact with your consumers to better understand the feasibility of expansion.

Be Active on the Web

Internet is the gateway to the world. We are more connected than we ever were before, thanks to the internet. You can interact with people on the other side of the globe, build relationships, promote products – the possibilities are endless.

I don’t want to generalize all entrepreneurs, but many forget the importance of the internet. You have come up with a great idea that you can build a company around, but don’t dedicate enough – if any – time to promote yourself online.

Create a website, stay active on social media, reach out to users, forge relationships with people. Make yourself known on the web and get social. A well cultivated online presence will play a huge marketing/promotional role even when you’re sleeping.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos
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Uwe Dreissigacker
Uwe is the CEO of InvoiceBerry.com, an online invoicing software for small businesses and freelancers. He's been running online businesses since his teenage years and is passionate about technology, startups, small business, marketing and travelling. He also writes about these topics for the InvoiceBerry blog.
  1. Hello,
    Thanks for sharing these valuable pieces of information on your blog. It helped me a lot to plan my startup.

    Looking forward to reading more articles on Entrepreneur topics.

    Thanks

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