How to Survive Your First Year as a Start-up


How many times have you heard that most start-up businesses fail in their first year? And why doesn’t this information put off the many thousands of people who choose to become their own boss? The answer’s simple – because there are always people who have the drive, determination and vision to follow their chosen path even when the odds seem to be stacked against them.

Granted, the first year is going to be tough but following these five tips, as well as following the wealth of expert advice you’ll find online, will make getting off the ground that little bit easier.

Have a plan . . .

It’s absolutely vital that you have a firm vision about the sort of business you want to be, and preferably one that stands out from your competitors in at least one significant way. Once you’ve crystallized this vision, back it up with a precise idea of the sorts of customers you aim to target and the ways in which you’re going to reach them.

. . . but be ready to adapt

Now this might sound like a complete contradiction, and to a certain extent it is. But it’s only when your business is up and running that you’ll be able to discover what you need to adapt and why. It could be that a whole new group of potential customers appear or you discover that there are times of the year when the business you were hoping for simply isn’t there. So you have to be flexible enough to respond appropriately. The good news is that, as a smaller company, you should be more nimble and able to adapt.

Have some cash reserves

Until you’re established, income is unlikely to be regular and this is going to affect you in two distinct ways. Firstly, you may not be making the money you need to keep the business afloat and, as a separate consideration; you may not be able to pay yourself the salary you were hoping for. To tide you over these difficult times you need to have some available cash reserves. In terms of personal money some people believe that you should have savings equal to at least one year’s personal income to be on the safe side.

Keep on top of the finances

Closely related to this, no business can succeed unless it has a very close control of its finances and cashflow in particular. One of the very best investments you can make is in quality online accounting software. Not only will it save you huge amounts of time in managing your accounts, it will also be able to produce up to the minute reports on where you stand financially.

Believe in yourself!

The fifth, and most essential, aspect in any start-up’s success is having a commitment and belief in yourself. There will be times when it feels like it’s you against the world, but if you can battle through these with a combination of faith in yourself and a gritty stubbornness to succeed, there’s a better than average chance that you’ll make it through to success.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.


  1. Jon Steinfield says

    This article is a great guide for start-ups. I personally love the last part of the article because as a businessman, I nearly struggled building a strong brand for my business. Creating a name and logo for your business sounds easy, but in today’s business, due to its more competitive environment, Marketing and Psychology should work hand in hand in order to create a name and logo that sets you apart from your competitors. Now I operate my business in an office space for rent nearby my house, and my small business is starting to be recognized by many, not only because of the quality service that I provide my clients, but also the uniqueness and and attractive business name and logo that I made.

  2. These are great tips and I myself have done most of the tips stated above when I started running my first business. It was so stressful since I was just a start up business owner, and had no idea that it would be that hard although I have been thinking about the risk and problems that I may encounter and deal with ever since, but then I realized that it was too early for me to be complacent. One thing that made really made me almost lose it all is the amount of rent for the office space. Rent is always high I bet when the office is in a central business district. Yes it is in a strategic location but the amount of money being spent for rent is just too much. Good thing I trusted my guts to try inquiring for a serviced office after a few months. I read about in an article and it says that this type of office space is the most ideal one for start up businesses since the amount of rent is much cheaper than a normal office space, and you can decide whether you want to be there tenant for a short term or long term period. It is already my first year and a half in a serviced office and I could not be more prouder for my business. TIP for start ups: CONSIDER renting in a serviced office.

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