Starting a business is hard work. It’s fun and exciting and awesome to work for yourself, but it’s tough! According to Investopedia , 21.5% of startups fail in the first year, 30% in the second year, 50% in the fifth year, and 70% in their 10th year. Now that’s scary. But having started a business of our own just over a year ago, we understand the work, dedication and hours you need to put in to have a successful startup.
So, being the generous people that we are, we’re going to share a few things we found that our business needed to get past year one. Note – this is what worked for us and may not be the absolute secret to your success.
Also note that we could’ve written a 3 part novel on this topic, but for the purposes of this blog we’ve kept it as short and sweet as possible.
So, let’s get into it!
1. Find your Why
You’ve got to know why your business exists. And no, money cannot be your why. Money is a result of your business, not the reason why it exists. Our why is Design with a Difference. And this extends through our whole company; from our systems to our focus on working with charities. We do everything we can to ensure that we are different, in every way possible.
So find your why and let it drive all that you do and say.
2. Your startup needs to make sales
Understand that every business needs to make sales. Regardless of whether you sell products or offer services; sales are crucial.
That best selling book is often not the result of a brilliant author, but because the author knows how to sell. You will need to make sales for your business to progress, so it’s best to get comfortable with selling as soon as possible.
3. Develop your digital presence
You undoubtedly and absolutely need a great digital presence. These days more and more people associate your credibility with your online visibility. So get that website up to scratch, make sure you are on Google My Business and consistently ask your clients for reviews. These all assist with that great presence, and soon your brand will start speaking for itself.
4. Build a solid foundation of systems
You need to have a foundation for your business; one built with your systems as bricks and your staff as cement. For most people, the reason that you come into business is because you want to eventually get out of it. You won’t be able to do that if you run a business that won’t be able to run without you.
5. Organize your departments
Now that you’ve got your foundation it’s time to start building. Just like a building, a company is built with pillars. Those pillars are your departments, and each department contributes to the daily operations of your business.
So to get things going, you need to start looking at your departments. And if you don’t have departments, make them. It doesn’t happen in a day, but as you progress, you will find that these departments start building themselves.
Once your departments are fully operational, your company is set up. Well, sort of.
6. Don’t plan for one year, plan for five
Business requires a unique kind of preparation that often seems obsessive and over the top. But it is necessary, and crucial for success. When it comes to business, if your goal is to reach one year, you can’t just plan and prepare for one year – you’ve got to prepare for five. And if your goal is two years, you’ve got to prepare for ten. And this prep goes as far as your departments, strategies and even exit strategies! Because if you just plan for one year that’s probably as far as you’re going to get.
Lastly, something that new business owners need to understand (and something the business gurus won’t tell you, but will credit to their 4am meditation session) is this:
7. The real work happens when its quiet
It’s the hours and hours of tedious work and behind the scenes mayhem that gets a business going (and keeps it going). It is unfortunately the daily grind that gets things operational and working, not the momentous occasions, award ceremonies, or being knighted by the queen. It’s in the nitty-gritty work. Because, without the after hour work and the nitty gritty’s – you’ll never have those momentous occasions and well-earned celebrations.
There you have it. Some business advice from a startup that has made it past the one year mark, and plans to go so much further. ZenZero is the product of long hours, attention to detail work and obsessive planning. We are so proud to have made it to one year, but we’re planning for year 10, 15 and 20 still to come.
If you’re a business owner of a startup; congrats, good luck and keep working hard!