5 Essential Building Blocks for a Fabulous First Year of BusinessMar 15, 2022
By Tricia Scott.
Congratulations! You did it! You came up with a fabulous business idea, researched your market and launched yourself fearlessly into the world of the start-up business. How do you feel? Excited? Nervous? Terrified?
All of the above are very much par for the course when launching something new into the world, and even more so when it's your idea. It's easy to spin out into all kinds of disaster scenarios, the what-ifs taking over the joy and pride you feel alongside your newfound sense of freedom. It's a bit like riding the most thrilling yet scariest rollercoaster of your life; there will be extreme high points, the lowest of the low points and parts where you're just plain sure the wheels are coming off.
Today, I will share the top five things I have found to be essential in the first year of any business start-up. Utilising these tools will help you stay focused on what matters so that ultimately you can have a successful first year in business.
Your business pitch is crucial – Whether you are trying to raise investment or simply introducing yourself at a networking event. If you haven't heard of the 'elevator' pitch, now is the time to get to work. The term relates to the time it takes to explain your idea in the length of an elevator ride (approximately 60 seconds and 150 words). Could you describe your business idea in that length of time? The trick is to keep it concise, relevant and on time.
Think about the audience (you'll likely tweak it each time based upon who you're talking to), get clear on your message and keep it simple. Remove any jargon and tell a story; the more human you are, the more memorable you'll be. The key is to practise, practise, practise. This is also where you find out who your true friends are. They are the ones who could recite your pitch in their sleep; they've heard it so many times!
Shiny new ideas
This one was a significant leaning in my own business. Jumping at every opportunity that comes your way will seem like a great idea at the time. You want to please everyone, follow up on every idea and dive into all of the things that interest you (if, like me, you are creative, this could be any number of things - all at once).
The truth is that to focus on our business, we need to stay true to the vision. Losing focus = losing time and money, both of which are usually in short supply in year one of any business. Far be it from me to offer advice on sticking with one thing. If you know me already, you know that is just not going to happen. However, I have learned to remain open to opportunities, evaluate them fully, decide if they fit with my business right now and either pursue it or let it go. It's super helpful to talk this sort of thing over with an accountability partner or coach, too. They can often see the benefits and downsides from an entirely different point of view.
Ask for help
Speaking of coaches and mentors brings me perfectly onto my next top tip: asking for help. There are many ways to enlist help in your business in the first year; it could be via a coach, mentor or accountability partner, and it's easier than you think to find people willing to work with you. People often ask me if coaching is necessary as a start-up, and I always invite them to consider athletes and sportspeople at the top of their game. Look around them; they ALL have coaches (often more than one), and for very good reason. Business people are no different. If you want to be at the top of your game - hire a coach!
If money is an issue, as is often the case, look locally for accelerator programmes you could become part of, these have fantastic coaches and mentors available, plus you'll get access to others in the same stage of business and be able to give and receive ideas freely. Another cost-effective strategy is to have an accountability partner, someone you can meet with regularly to help hold each other accountable to your plans and run new ideas by. I have used both of these methods and continue to do so today. They have become invaluable to me as an entrepreneur and have saved me from making all kinds of spur-of-the-moment decisions that could have proved disastrous!
Learn to let go
Not every idea will work out, and it's just a reality we need to face as entrepreneurs and small business owners. Despite our best endeavours, there will be occasions that the idea which seemed like the best thing ever turns out to be a costly mistake. It's here that we get stuck, especially if letting go means we lose money previously invested, not to mention time. It can be a bitter pill to swallow. However, throwing more money at a problem and more time (our one non renewable) is often a case of pride over practicability. If it's not working, change tack or let it go. Make space for something better and watch how it unfolds for you.
Take care of your most important asset. You.
It's easy to get carried away with your new business. Working all hours, staying up late, grabbing food and water on the run in between meetings etc., seems par for the course. After all, it's what being an entrepreneur is all about, right?
Wrong. When your business and livelihood rely on you keeping the wheels turning, you take care of its most important asset. You. As the engine keeping the business running, you need to make sure you are adequately maintained, fed, watered and rested. Anything else will not do. A poorly maintained engine will lead to faults down the line, and burnout is real. If you want to be successful, you need to start by ensuring you can perform at your best for you and your team. Disconnect, spend time in nature and with the people you love as often as you can - your business and your body will thank you for it in the long run.
Tricia Scott is an author, speaker, passionate startup business mentor and the Founder and Editor of The Female CEO - Create Evolve Overcome, a platform and digital magazine holding the space to showcase female entrepreneurs from all over the world. She works and collaborates with various organisations to bring the most inspirational journeys, stories and training to help entrepreneurs on their own personal success mission.
The Female CEO is growing, expanding and gaining global recognition daily and Tricia is able to bring her own level of expertise as a start-up coach, mentor and multi-company director to her very exclusive table along with her team of brilliant Guest Editors and Contributors. You'll usually find her with her MacBook in one hand and a coffee or a glass of something fizzy in the other and she always has sunglasses in her hair. Reach out anytime!
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