Your first year of business is an exciting experience. You’ve held onto your business idea for so long, and now it’s your time to turn it into an actual thing. In this post, we’re sharing our perspectives on how to navigate your first year of business and lay the foundation for your business to thrive.
Understand It’s a Process
One of the first things you need to understand as a new business owner is that building a business is a process, and a non-linear one at that. The first year requires many iterations of researching, designing, testing, measuring, learning, and adjusting to ensure that you’re offering a solution that meets the needs of your market and creating a viable business model.
Seek Learning Opportunities
Starting and running a business isn’t just about getting your product or service out there. To create a thriving business, you need to have a firm understanding of business concepts and possess certain skills and mindsets. As such, getting the right education and mentoring is important. Look for training programs that can provide a rigorous curriculum and expert instruction to help you build a strong foundation.
Find Your Community
Starting a business can feel lonely. In the early stages, you are holding the vision and doing all the work. It helps to have a support network of peers who are sharing the same experience with their businesses. Because there are a lot of ways you can plug in, it helps to identify what you want to get out of and contribute to a community. That way, you can find groups that are most aligned with your values.
Design with Your Customer
More than likely, your business idea came from challenges you saw that motivated you to improve the experience. Because your idea is so close to you, you bring in your own biases about what needs to happen. You might also have blind spots because you don’t have a full picture of your customer needs and behaviors. If you engage customers in your design process, you can gain a better understanding of market needs and identify how to create an effective solution.
Tell People About It
Don’t make the mistake of creating something and not marketing it. You need to be out there generating interest, getting feedback, and building a following. When you get the word out, you might start finding some early evangelists – these are people who love your idea so much, they are willing to try your product or service in its earliest stages and tell their networks how much they love it.
Create a Solid Business Plan
The process of writing your business plan requires you to take an in-depth look at your idea and business model. You gain clarity by identifying and articulating goals, activities, and resources needed to build your business. Through this process, you develop analytical and communications skills to help you run your business.
Know When to Pivot
Even if you have a solid plan, there will be twists and turns. There may be changes to your market opportunity and landscape or even the overall economy. You may also encounter new opportunities that change the way you were thinking about your business. You’ll need to learn how to differentiate between good opportunities and bright, shiny objects, and know when to pivot versus sticking with your original plan.
There is a lot of uncertainty in starting a business. The process of testing your idea and writing your first business plan puts you face to face with your fears about whether this new business will work. You have a choice to let that uncertainty stop you from pursuing your dreams or acknowledge it and work to equip yourself with knowledge and other resources to manage through it.