Are you ready to take the plunge? Yes! Starting a new business is not unlike diving into unknown waters – an incredible place where things could go any which way. No matter how much planning you do, however, you cannot precisely predict how things will turn out. Like an expectant parent, this is a time of anxiety and expectation. Fortunately though, many MANY people have walked in your shoes, so there is a lot you can learn from to be confidently prepared.
So, what can you do to ensure that your new business venture survives, thrives, and becomes the next big thing in town? Behold, here’s some unabashedly great advice for your first four years…re you ready to take the plunge? Yes! Starting a new business is not unlike diving into unknown waters – an incredible place where things could go any which way. No matter how much planning you do, however, you cannot precisely predict how things will turn out. Like an expectant parent, this is a time of anxiety and expectation. Fortunately though, many MANY people have walked in your shoes, so there is a lot you can learn from to be confidently prepared.
We’ve divided it into the 4 stages that most businesses will face:
Stage One: Plan and Persevere!
This stage takes place around 6 months to a year, so know that you will be tested in your resolve. Historians and psychologists have determined over the years, that in most cases, a project might start off pretty well (the “early bump” as they say), but then it will hit a steady low for a while. This is the time to be patient. If you are patient long enough while consistently putting in the hours, then eventually the graph will rise up again. Nevertheless, this is a general pattern, and who knows… You might clock in the numbers in your first few months. Future is an unknown panorama after all…
The point is:
- Create a good Business Plan that covers all of the ins and outs of your project. If you feel inexperienced, hire a professional to do this for you (Recommended)
- Find yourself an excellent accountant and a competent attorney
- Know that you will go through some testing times, so be mentally prepared about this. Be strong and keep working!
- Learn from your mistakes. Nobody is free of them. The wise is he who learns.
Stage 2: Revel, Manage and Review!
If your business manages to drift into a second year, then this is good news for you. You most probably would have carved out a niche in the market for yourself by now. The crucial step here is to analyze if the whole thing is moving according to plan, in the right direction. As your business grows, your profits increase, and probably so does your manpower. So keeping your employees believing in the project and building them into a reliable, well-knit unit is upon you.
Be happy at this stage, and spend time in managing your resources. Make sure the gig doesn’t get out of your hand. Expand and grow, but in a designated circle that you think your business can handle. Review your business plan, and make sure you move forward according to the right decisions.
Third Year: Time to Take Off!
If your business manages to find good market and sustain itself for 2-3 years, then know that you have built a firm base. Now, it is an exciting time… A time for ideas… A time for revolution, renewal and expansion…
This is where you get to explore new horizons. If you’ve hit your third year with reasonable profits, a close-knit team who have confidence in you and who are motivated by your idea, and a firm procedure that’s bringing in the results, then know that this is the time for you to expand and grow.
Create your own product, consider ventures with other companies or simply increase the amount of work you’re taking in and hire away… If you have been patient enough, this is the time to take off!
Fourth Stage: Preservation, Control and Quality
This is where your business ought to be after around 3-4 years of business. At this stage, you should:
- Have assets which you can be proud of, and which can sustain your project for years to come
- A healthy work environment, and employees who you can trust
- A satisfied market that is eager for what’s new from your end
- A self-sustaining business that is rich in quality from front to back
Remember that the world is not a utopia so you may not achieve the ideal up till here. But if you patiently persevere in the difficult times, and work confidently to seize the opportunities as they arise, there is little reason that you cannot thrive for yourself a great chunk of market and deliver quality that you can be proud of.
At this stage, you must do four things:
- Preserve the quality you have built and make sure that your graph does not bend downwards again. Review your business plans, fine-tune your processes and analyze areas which can be improved, and go about enhancing them…
- Control all your business processes such that no area remains that is beyond your scope. For example, if you are creating software for a client, make sure all the resources you have are in proper order, that all your employees are motivated for the task at hand, and that everything is working out as it should be. The more you feel in control of things, the better news it is for your business future!
- Quality is what you have to provide and enhance at this stage. You have come of age, and now you need to excel in whatever services or products there are that you have introduced in the market… This is key to making sure your project goes long-term…
These stages have been identified after long business experience and represent the crux of how businesses usually turn out. By pre-planning for these stages, and by specifying for yourself definite milestones, you can go a mile in preparing for the incoming unseen, and making sure your new startup goes according to plan.
Remember to keep working hard, irrespective of the times that come, and make sure to really love what you do, and choose what you love. This is the key to staying motivated over time…
Of course, there is a lot more that can be said and written on the subject, but we’ll suffice with these tokens of note for now. But if you are still unsure of what to expect with your startup or small business, sign up for your free subscription to Successful Startup 101. You are sure to get invaluable advice! Happy sailing!