Those who have taken the plunge into startup waters will know how difficult the first year can be. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to lead your business through all the challenges that come with starting a business and even then, success is not guaranteed.
With so much pressure and uncertainty, how does someone involved with a startup stay positive during the first year?
Ask for help
Being the founder can sometimes lead people to believe that they need to be a strong leader and someone who does all the work. The former might be true, but the latter is definitely not. The startup world is full of fierce competition so taking any help you can get can put you above the game.
Successful startup founders aren’t the ones who know how to do it all but are the ones who know what they’re struggling with and find the appropriate help and resources. Ask questions, seek information and hire the right people for the right areas.
Find Alternative Income Sources
One of the toughest areas a startup faces in its first year is steady cash flow. This might be because your product or services aren’t optimized, or perhaps it’s simply because the expenses of building a startup can be unforgiving.
While it’s obvious that startups must run a lean business, it’s important that you secure as much income as possible. There’s an increasing amount of creative ways for one to find additional income, and many times this can be entirely passive.
For example, if your startup has recently moved into a new office, it’s likely that you have spare space be it a storage space or an entire room. Many startups move into offices that give them room to grow. The problem is that the startup ends up paying for space that isn’t being used. While you work towards growth, you can earn money from the spare space. Renting out storage space on a community sharing site like Spacer can help keep your startup afloat in the early times.
Make Every Move Count
It’s common knowledge that launching a startup is hard work. Founders often put in days in excess of 13 hours. While sometimes this is necessary, many founders can fall into a trap of thinking working a lot equals hard work. Instead, founders must focus on working smarter, not harder.
Make a conscious effort to avoid getting caught up in non-core activities. Consider what you are spending your time on each day and assess if it can be done by someone else or outsourced. Every move you make should have the intention of growing your business.
Focus on growth. By outsourcing or delegating the internal tasks, like administration, you enable yourself to focus on making decisions that have the most impact.
Remember your Mission
The first year is full of challenges and uncertainty. There are a plethora of things that make it hard, from raising capital to dealing with naysayers and critics. During such an uphill battle, it’s only natural that you will feel concerned and will even doubt yourself and your chance of success.
It’s important to remember the origins of your venture, your mission, and the end goal. Stay motivated and believe in what you are doing. Worrying, doubting and focusing on the negatives does nothing but distract you from what’s important.
Don’t be dismayed when you receive no’s from investors, customers or partners. A ‘no’ is proof you are working hard, and, in a way, a sign of progress. Learn from your mistakes and don’t dwell on them. Things will go wrong, and you will have to accept some decisions were wrong but try to focus on and enjoy the journey, the ups and the downs.
Staying positive during the first year of your startup can be one of the hardest challenges of the entire venture. It’s important that you understand what you’re best at, and what areas you need help with. Make every move impactful; raise money any way you can and remember to enjoy the journey.