5 Survival Tips for the First Year in Business

Whether you’re starting an online shop or setting up a brick-and-mortar space, starting a business is a big deal…so, congratulations! Running your own company is one of the most rewarding—and most challenging—things you’ll probably ever do, especially during your first year in business. 

Starting a business is hard, even if you have unlimited resources and finances. In fact, one in five businesses fail within the first year, and 50% fail by year five. While there are a lot of outside factors that can influence the success or failure of your business, fortunately, there are some proactive business survival tips and ongoing strategies you can implement to set yourself up for success.  

5 business strategies for small business survival

1. Have a solid business plan.

A business plan is a tool you’ll turn to again and again, from your first year in business to your fifth. Think of this document as a small business checklist for success—it should include your marketing and financial strategies as well as identify your target customers. It’s a place to include information about your products or services and the structure of your business, as well as a summary of what makes you unique. In addition to using your business plan as a point of reference for yourself, it’s a key tool if you plan on applying for funding or attracting investors. It’s proof that you’ve put time and research into making your business the best it can be. 

2. Avoid burnout.

Your business is your baby, and during your first year in business, it might feel like you’re working 24/7 to nurture it. But like anything in life, you have to find balance so you don’t get burnt out or over worked. Whether it’s taking an off-site lunch break, going for an afternoon walk, or even meditating for a few minutes between customers, it’s critical that you take care of your mental and physical wellbeing. 

3. Build a support system.

It might be *your* business, but you can’t succeed alone. You need a support system professionally and personally—don’t be afraid to ask friends and family members for help, and make the effort to grow your professional network. In addition to providing support, you never know what kind of doors will open from the connections you have. 

4. Ask for feedback and be adaptable.

One of the best strategies for small business survival is simply talking to your customers, or prospective customers. Are they happy or excited about your product or service? Are there things they don’t like about your shop’s policies or your website experience? Don’t be afraid to ask for their feedback, and be open to their ideas for your business.  

5. Pay attention to your finances.

From setting up a bookkeeping system to tracking your expenses, it’s important that you know where all of your capital is going…especially in your first year of business, when things are probably just a little chaotic. If numbers aren’t your thing, it could be a worthwhile investment to outsource financial tasks to a pro—especially when tax season comes around.  

Allison Russo

From marketing tips to product recommendations, I'm here to help small businesses be their best.

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