What to Do in Your Startup’s First Six Months

What to Do in Your Startup’s First Six Months

What to Do in Your Startup’s First Six Months

Building a business takes grit and determination — but also practical steps to get things going. This is particularly important in the first six months, when your enterprise is still new and you are still finding your customers. There are steps you can take to create a more stable grounding for your company so you can grow and expand over the long term.

Low Expenses

Cash flow is an important consideration at any business stage, but crucial in the early months when you are still building your client base. Strip your budget down to the bare essentials. That can mean foregoing office space and hiring contractors instead of full-time employees. You may not “feel” like you’re a business owner in this kind of low-budget environment, but it’s necessary for you to keep the books balanced.

Consult Your Business Plan

Your business plan gives you a series of benchmarks to gage how the business is progressing. The figures are not set in stone, but the plan gives you a model of what your business development should look. When time comes to take a new step, like expand into a new market, you can draw from the lessons in the business plan — what worked and what didn’t, so you can better prepare for unexpected challenges.

Customer Reviews

Reputation-building is how you will gain traction in the early days. If you have a few referrals, it can be enough to get a network of new customers. In the age of internet marketing, people expect to see reviews on Google and your social media pages. So whether you’re pouring concrete or installing drywall, ask your clients to leave a review online. It will give people who haven’t heard of you something to go on and probably help your SEO.

Client Relationships

Most businesses are built on personal interactions, regardless of your industry. Work with every client to ensure they have a positive experience. You won’t be able to satisfy every person all the time. But the more you learn about your business from the customer’s perspective, the better you’ll be at meeting customer needs. Often, people will be happy to share their thoughts so you can make the company better.

Modest Expansion

Whether you want to open a new location, take on new employees or offer a new slate of services, expansion should be undertaken carefully. Just like with your original startup, it’s essential to research the new market before investing more money. Sales may follow, but changes in operational strategy can limit your cash flow. Stay on top of things, expand when the opportunity seems right, but always remain flexible to changing conditions — whether those conditions are worrying or promising.

Employee Morale

Part of running a business will mean interacting with people. During the first year, there can be a lot of bumps in the road. To keep those interactions positive, focus on improving employee morale. If you do hire staff, ensure they are people who not only have the skill set you need, but who are also a good fit for your operation. That way, it’s easier to go through the tough times together. Importantly, content employees tend to make a more positive impression on clients. By hiring based on fit and checking in on staff contentment on a regular basis, you can build a solid team.

Business success is easier than most people may believe. Often all it takes is planning and flexibility. By listening to your customers and employees, keeping overhead low and focusing on providing great service, you can build up from the first six months.

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