The thought of starting your dream business can be truly exciting and inspiring. However, the whole business planning process can also be nerve-wracking and terrifying at the same time.
Unfortunately, your fears aren’t exactly unfounded since according to a published research, only 20% of new businesses survive past their first year of operation.
Finding Success in the Business World
Sustaining your momentum and achieving success in the first year of your business should be your priority if you want your company to go beyond the 12-month mark. You can attain this goal by following some simple yet highly useful tips.
Focus on your goals for your business
To survive and thrive during your company’s first year, make sure you stick to your goals. Of course, this means setting your goals first and aligning all your efforts and strategies to achieve them.
The success of your business will depend greatly on you and your employees working hard to achieve the same goals. Without any clear targets, everyone involved in the business will simply do things without any meaning or purpose in mind or for purely selfish reasons – factors that can easily cause a company to go down.
Constantly measure and adjust when needed
Keeping track of your company’s progress and failures will help you know what works for your business and which do not. Some of the key metrics you should always look into are:
- How customers find you
- Website traffic
- Your gross profit percentage per product
When your findings show that something isn’t working or is causing you to lose money, find ways to correct it. Although a certain strategy may have worked during the first months of your operations, don’t be afraid to change or revise it if it’s not giving you any positive results now.
Know what your competition is up to
If you want your business to keep up with the competition and ultimately succeed, you have to know what they’re up to. You can do this by conducting regular market research.
This strategy will give you an idea of what your rivals are doing. You can then use their strengths as a benchmark for your performance. Of course, you can also utilize their weaknesses to the advantage of your business.
Keep your overheads as low as possible
Most new businesses fail because they run out of money. As such, always aim to keep your costs down, until sales and profits start pouring in.
Always be on the lookout for cost-effective ways to run your business. You can start by hiring only the right number of employees you need for your business.
For example, if you need help with revamping your website or improving in other areas of your business, consider working with a freelance graphic designer in foreign countries (to assist with budget constraints) as well as other contractors.
Another consideration may be an overseas branch in countries with no tax – you can set up a business in a Dubai free zone as their free zones include benefits such as exemption of product corporate tax as well as the ability to import raw materials, and exportation of goods.
By doing so, you’ll save money on advertising your job opening, training the new employee, and on other expenses that come with hiring another staff.
Develop and employ the right work ethic
Even if your business is enjoying a high level of success now, if you want to sustain its momentum and even improve it, don’t get lazy and too relaxed. Continue researching and working hard to maintain and enhance the quality of your products or services.
Also, always try to learn more about your industry and how to improve various processes in your business so that you can ensure your company’s continuous growth.
Expand your network
In the business world, the more people you know, the better. Keep in mind every new person you meet can be a potential customer or client, investor, business partner, or mentor. As such, make the most of every opportunity you get to reach out to your target audience, other professionals in your field, and other entrepreneurs.
The more contacts you make, the more supporters you will have – people who can contribute something to help ensure your company’s survival and eventual success.
Always value your customers
Lastly, your business won’t stay open and won’t get any sales and profits if you don’t have any customers. It is therefore important that you show your appreciation to all your customers and that you value their patronage and loyalty.
You can do this by listening to your customer’s needs, taking note of their feedback or comments, and using them to improve your products or services.
By providing excellent customer service, you can also ensure that your customers or clients will stay loyal to your company and recommend others to buy your products or hire your services.
These, in turn, will play important roles in ensuring the success of your business in the short and long run.
As a business owner, reaching the one-year mark is definitely a goal worth working hard for. By developing and following the right values and practices, you can also ensure the success of your business beyond its first year.
Serial Entrepreneur and Business Strategist Henri Hazougi is the managing Director/Partner of Business Setup Consultants DMCC. The company offers a broad range of expertise in corporate services assisting companies and entrepreneurs in setting up and expanding their business in the UAE.