Statistics show that there are 9.4 million companies are founded by women. Given these impressive figures, we can conclude female entrepreneurs are probably the fastest-growing segment of today’s entrepreneurial community.
However, when starting a business, you need to know that the first year of your entrepreneurship will definitely be the most difficult one. No matter how experienced and daring you are, you’re the boss for the first time. From now on, you’re the one managing the entire team of people and making a bunch of life-changing decisions every day. Not to mention a plethora of problems you will face, from securing funds for your startup to balancing your private and professional life.
But, don’t let these facts convince you that launching a business is a bad idea. Surviving in this wild world of startups is possible and here are a few tips that will prove that to you.
4 Tips to Succeed in Your First Year as an Entrepreneur
1. Hire the Right People
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people,” Steve Jobs once said. In the first year of your startup, each employee you hire may make or break your business. That’s why you need to set your recruitment criteria wisely and stick to them no matter what. One of the most important factors that will help you narrow down your choices is the candidates’ personality traits.
Always look for the employees who will positively challenge your company’s culture. They need to be easily adaptable, reliable, well-organized, collaborative, results-oriented, and self-taught. Most importantly, you shouldn’t look for the employees with the same skills and attitudes like you. The true art of recruiting lies in diversifying your team and surrounding yourself with the people that will bring fresh insights and ideas to the table.
2. Have a Marketing Plan that Works
To stand out from your competitors, you need to have a solid digital marketing strategy. Now, digital marketing is all about building a website and making it fast, simple to navigate, mobile-friendly, and highly intuitive. However, your site is completely useless if it doesn’t show up in the SERPs. This is why you need to optimize it for search engines. In layman’s terms, this simply means understanding your niche and customers, keeping track of the latest industry trends, targeting the most popular keyword phrases, creating awesome content around them, and promoting this content via multiple channels.
Another immensely important way to attract more customers and drive more traffic to your site is to invest in social media marketing. By having a solid social media campaign, you will not only make your content visible to a wider audience, but also create an online community of potential brand ambassadors, collect instant feedback, and offer real-time customer services. You can even use social media to promote your traditional marketing efforts. For example, you could organize a Facebook contest and give out promotional items with your logo, make use of street art and post the photos on Facebook or Instagram or even throw a flash mob and share the video to the public on YouTube.
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3. Boost your Liquidity
Studies show that financing issues cause 82% of young companies to fail. To prevent this from happening, you need to choose the right funding option that won’t compromise the growth of your startup in the years to come. Instead of bank loans that are difficult to get, you should consider some simpler and less risky ways to boost your liquidity, such as angel investors, crowdfunding, government grants, or small personal loans. You could even apply for a startup contest, such as TechCrunch Disrupt, Amazon Web Services Start-Up Challenge, and Web Summit. This way, you will not only get the money you need but also get a chance to promote your brand.
4. Keep Calm and Manage your Obligations Wisely
You may be a mother, a daughter, a friend, or a wife. But, you’re also a boss and you need to act like one. Keep in mind that you can never expect your employees to behave professionally if you yourself don’t do so. This is why you need to draw a line between what’s professional behavior and what’s not. Get to know your employees, recognize their efforts, and personalize your approach to them, but don’t get too personal. Never discuss your family problems, relationship status or financial issues with them. The only way to inspire your employees to do their best is to leave your private life at your office door and never let your personal problems affect your productivity.
As you can see, surviving the first year of your entrepreneurship unscathed is impossible. However, with a solid business plan, dedication, confidence, and a little luck, you will manage to overcome all the challenges you face and emerge victorious.
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