Starting a business can be one of the biggest risks in your life, it is very difficult for your business not to take over your life. This could be to do with the fact it cost you all your savings or even if it was cheap to set up, your life will revolve around getting it off the ground. These days – time is money, so your time is very precious and you should be careful how you spend it.

These tips are to help you navigate your way around the first few months of finding your feet, which will be very difficult. In fact it can be a real slog for the first 18 months or so bear that in mind.

Get a business plan together
This may seem like a no brainer, however, you will be shocked at how often this is overlooked. Whether or not you know in your head what exactly you need to do for the next few weeks, months or years for your business to grow is irrelevant. It makes your business plan easier to write but in the end the business plan is there for you to refer back to and hold yourself accountable.

Alongside a business plan a cash flow forecast should be made, this is just so you know what you need to achieve to get to where you want to be. Again you may know this off the top of your head but this helps for you to re-visit when you’re lost a little down the line and think you’re really struggling but that may not be the case when checking back to your cash flow forecast.

For both of these things, templates can be found online and can be made in a few hours. These will come in handy if you are ever looking for outside investment as it will be a prerequisite of your first meeting with your investors or launching a crowdfunding campaign.

“You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great.”

Zig Ziglar

Find other businesses like yours, see what they have done and replicate
Why try and reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to? It is so much simpler to find and replicate a business that is already functioning and rather than making the same mistakes they did, you can miss all of them out together. It may be that you are looking for a business like yours but can’t find one, choose one similar, or one in your industry, even reach out to the owners and ask for some advice.

People are very friendly and when approached in the right way will usually be willing to give you some time, even if it’s just over the phone to help show you the ropes.

Join local and national networking groups
This is by far one of the best routes to get traction. Turn up or participate regularly in online threads and conversations to be seen as someone who is credible and can be trusted. It does take a bit of time to build relationships but once this is done, you can leverage their networks to find the people you need to get in touch with to get your business off the mark.

Most networking groups always act as business support groups, starting a business can be very lonely and you really feel it when things aren’t going your way. What you need to remember is, most, if not all business owners have been in the same positions and all know how you feel. The important thing is not to give up when things get hard, it is always going to get hard before it gets easy, if it was easy, everyone would be a successful business owner.

Build and maintain your digital footprint
This isn’t just for new businesses starting out, it is just as important if you’re just starting out or if you’re an SME with years of trading under your belt and it should be managed properly, we are talking in terms of your website, social media accounts and your google listing. If people type in gym in London into a Google search (assuming you have just opened a gym) are you at least on the first page of listings? This is very important, of course it helps if your product or service is unique and there is nothing out there like it but that usually isn’t the case so you want your ranking to be great without breaking the bank for it.

Another reason why your web presence is so important is because this is usually the first impression you will give to your potential customers and business partners. The best thing about your website and social media accounts is they can be whatever you want them to be, so you can tailor it to reach out and engage with the consumers you want.

Expect and plan for the worst
One of the hardest things about starting your own company is the uncertainty. You have no idea what the next month is going to bring. There are some challenges you will face and you need to be prepared, mentally and financially. When the going is good, save your money as you never know what will happen a few months down the line. Being an entrepreneur is one of the biggest, scariest decisions you will ever make but you must know that the going can and will get tough.

By being prepared and living frugally when first starting out, you will be able to ride the peaks and troughs of the Entrepreneur lifestyle. All great leaders of companies have gone through it and come out the other side battle hardened, you are no different. It may take longer, or it may be shorter but you have your own story to tell so make it a good one!

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

Vince Lombardi

Start your business with a strong work ethic, a relentless drive to succeed and plan to see it through the bumpy ride and you will come out on top! GSY