Monday, 5 December 2016

7 Ways To Survive Your First Year In Business

The first year in business can be tough; of course, things can get off to a flying start and not stop, but most new businesses will start off slow and have a few bumps in the road along the way. There are a few things I'd recommend to make the first year a little easier to survive.

1. Keep a part time job.
For some people, this could be impossible, but for me keeping a part time job in my first year or so was essential. It meant that I could reinvest the money made from my business wisely, and I'd always have money to cover my rent and bills. If you can't work at the same time, make sure you keep money aside each month, just in case a slow month comes your way quicker than you thought it would.

2. Work your ass off.
This is a pretty obvious one, nothing is going to get handed to you. Running a business is not easy and absolutely everything is your responsibility, so be prepared to spend a lot of your spare time working, marketing, doing business accounts. Use your time wisely.

3. Use social media.
The biggest and best way to market your new business is using social media; with a few words or a simple picture, you can reach people all over the world in seconds, letting them know about new products you have coming in or a sale you're offering. Twitter and Instagram are proven to be a couple of the best ways to drive people to your blog or webpage, so use them. You can go the whole hog and run a blog alongside a business, and open Pinterest and Facebook accounts, but I find twitter and instagram to be the most effective.

4. Don't blow the profits.
It's easy to get a bit carried away when the money does come in to think HALLELUJAH lets get spending, but as enjoyable as it may be, it's not the best for your business. Reinvesting some is necessary, whether it's on new stock, supplies or equipment, and keep some aside each month so you always have money in the bank 'just in case'.

5. Keep expenses low. 
Again, it's easy to rush into wanting to provide the best possible service and thinking this means you need to buy the best. If you're selling something, I do think packaging is important but go for low cost: bulk buy tissue paper, twine and parcel bags, and a hand written note is just as nice as a professionally printed one. When making a website, look at ones you can design easily yourself and pay for hosting, rather than employing someone to make one from scratch. These are all things you can think about when you're a bit more established. 

6. Find your USP.
Listen, this isn't always easy, it's something I still worry about almost seven years down the line - there's a lot of vintage traders out there, so it's sometimes hard to stand out from the rest. Having something that makes you or your brand different is a big thing, so make sure you shout about it.

7. Adapt quickly.
Markets, interest and people are always changing, so you have to be willing to adapt to keep up. If you're selling products this is especially important, things you like aren't always going to be the best sellers, so keeping your eyes on trends and what people are buying is important. If things aren't working, make changes and adapt, quickly. 

If you're a blog or business owner, how did you make your first year work?

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