How to Survive Your First Year as a Startup

by / Wednesday, 17 December 2014 / Published in blog

You’re ready to take the entrepreneurial plunge and launch your new business venture. In the face of statistics indicating that most startups fail in the first year, this can be an extremely daunting step. However, there are things you can do to give your startup business the best chance of weathering that first precarious year.


A brilliant idea may be insufficient to turn a startup into a venerable brand, but performing research at the front end can help you identify your target audience and determine the viability of your brainchild. Further, learning how to conduct research can ensure that you accurately define your market; taking a course is one way to gain that knowledge.


Investors may not be willing to fund an untried idea, so it’s important that you lay the groundwork to minimize expenses. Select the location of your startup business with an eye toward controlling costs such as rents. Start small and put your market research findings to work by concentrating on building a core customer base and dialing in the timing of smart company growth. Avoiding massive advertising and public relations campaigns in the first year is another way to conserve funds. This thriftiness can provide the breathing room for adequate ramp-up and help you gain critical traction.


Remember that a startup is nothing more—and nothing less—than the people involved. Remember too that your business is something precious that requires genuine nurturance. If you surround yourself with people who are as passionate about your idea as you are, then you’re fostering an environment that can withstand first-year stressors while allowing for the development of an abiding optimism. Doubters can poison the workplace. Cutting them loose early can be a key survival tactic. However, belief in the idea is just part of the equation; your startup business also needs competent people. For example, given the importance of information technology and the Internet to business, essential personnel might include an in-house expert who can efficiently maintain your computer network and Web presence.


Striking the right work-family balance during this intense and uncertain time can be a vital dimension of your well-being. This calls for keeping perspective on why you’re pursuing your dream in the first place. Work hard, but make time for your family too.


The proper mindset is a complex amalgam of daring and prudence, and it can mean treating your business as a grand experiment that might not produce the expected findings right away. Setbacks don’t have to mean you give up; learn from the outcomes and strike off in a new and enlightened direction. The first year of a startup is a harrowing time, but if you work lean and smart, your chances of seeing year two will increase.

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