Get your new business through its first year with these tips.
The first year for a new business is always the toughest. Just like a new pair of boots, it takes some time to wear in the soles and walk off the blisters. Getting your business to its first birthday takes equal measures of perseverance and preparation. But with market trends changing so rapidly, how can you be prepared for the year ahead? Here are some things you can do to help you and your new business make it through year one.
1. Make use of training materials
Recent years have seen a surge in small-business startups. While a market driven by small-business owners may sometimes mean increased competition, it also (thankfully) means that there has been an explosion online of resources to provide information for aspiring entrepreneurs. Among these options are a wealth of free articles and manuals produced specifically to provide digestible information for new business owners.
One great option is Informi, a platform that compiles advice from experienced business owners on all issues related to running a business. Informi has a broad range of articles that span every stage of business planning, from writing a business plan right up to how to manage your business while it's growing. For people who have no previous experience in managing their own business, there is even a handy free e-book to walk you through each stage of starting a business. Now, with so much at your fingertips, you have no excuse not to know.
2. Follow social-media trends
The use of social media to market businesses is on the rise, particularly through the use of video. Reaching your target market in today's digital world is all about video content — especially real-time content like live videos. Live streaming is now found on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Tumblr … and it's popular. It's estimated that Facebook live streams are watched three times longer than standard video content, and that 80 percent of global traffic will be related to video content by 2020. Interestingly, there has also been a similar increase in interactional video content following the trend in augmented reality. While AR is an expensive marketing strategy and arguably not yet developed enough to be successfully implemented, it is an engaging and fun new way to reach your audience that is still novel to the majority of users. In your first year, keeping your new business competitive and successful will be all about bringing in video content into your marketing strategy to reach your audience.
3. Stay afloat
Since the market is gradually doing better, there has been a slight increase in business loans — but it's still tough. That's especially true for technology companies where, following large-scale flops, investment has seen a sharp decrease in recent years. Obtaining funding through loans or awards to help you while you get your business off the ground is difficult, but you don't need to bankrupt yourself or remortgage your house if you have a good product and a customer base. Crowdfunding platforms, for example, have gained popularity in recent years. Using one not only enables you to feed yourself during the first year, but also helps to promote stronger businesses by building a customer base for when products are ready to hit the ground.
4. Keep up to date with currencies
The use of new payment options, such as Google Wallet or CirclePay, and cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are set to continue to rise, so keeping ahead of this trend is vital in order to both reach new customers and keep old ones. As of 2015, there are over 100,000 business (including ones like Amazon) that accept cryptocurrencies, and it's estimated that this will continue as more alternative methods become popular. Keeping up to date with these trends isn't just about ensuring that your business is able to accept these as means of payment though. It's also about remaining secure. New security methods are cropping up constantly, and remaining up to date will be vital in keeping your business secure.
By no means does tackling the business environment in your first year take only these tips. However, the takeaway is that in year one, as in the years to follow, starting a new business is about being prepared to fit the market you're entering. Dedicating time to research and plan will lay a stable foundation for your business to grow from.
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