5 things to know in the first few years of starting up

Starting your own business can be a scary prospect. BrightHR's Paul Tooth offers advice on what to do in the first few years of starting up.

Launching a new business can be a minefield, with competitors to keep eyes on, people challenging your ideas and no systems yet in place. Whether you have an idea that could change the industry, or simply want to invest in a business that you think has potential to go far, here are five pieces of advice that could help you on your way.

It’s okay to be different

Just like everyone else on the planet, there is only one you – and as unique as you are, your company should be too.

Variety is the spice of life and nobody sets out to offer the same service or product as someone else. Your differences will make you stronger and will ensure your services stand out from your competitors. In turn, this will compel customers to choose you over them.

Be brave, have confidence and don’t waver from or dilute your vision.

Automate systems from the outset

BrightHR’s research revealed that more than a third of business owners in the UK cite HR administration as one of the biggest drains on productivity. We also discovered that automating the holiday request process was at least ten times faster than using a manual process – and that’s if nothing went wrong in the manual process!

At the early stages if your workforce is relatively small, it’s tempting to try to manage things manually. But before you know it, your team will be growing and more of your time and energy will be eaten up with keeping everything in order.

Using an automated system like BrightHR, your employees can book their holidays via an app. You can instantly check any conflicts, approve leave with just a few clicks and your calendars are automatically updated. Now obviously this will save you (and your people) time.
And it’s not just HR, there are all sorts of repetitive processes that can be automated.

Set regular targets

Setting the targets for getting your business off the ground, what you want to achieve in your first year  and everything in between is a crucial way to keep focus and manage your business effectively.

By having clearly defined goals and ambitions, and sharing these with your team, you will be able to prioritise and be mindful of where your business plan should be taking you. This is important in the early days of setting up when there are so many elements that need your attention.

Turn challenges on their head

Changes to your industry, cash flow setbacks and staffing issues are all problems that can be common in the first year of business and, as an entrepreneur, you are bound to go through plenty ups and downs.

But don’t let this discourage you, dealing with hurdles that come your way is simply part of running your own business – what is important is how you turn setbacks into opportunities.

When faced with a challenge, look at what has worked, what went wrong and what you can learn. Do this, and you’ll probably end up better off than you were before – every challenge is an opportunity to learn.

Never stop learning

Being a business owner means you need to keep abreast of the developments in your industry; what is changing, the people who are making a difference and what your customers are asking for. Whether or not you grow and adapt can make or break a business.

This is where social media and networking events are key, staying informed and learning to make changes based on what is important in your sector will ensure you stay relevant and keep engaging with your audiences.

Get to know the key people both in your local area and across the industry, be it through trading thoughts on LinkedIn, sharing thought leadership on a blog or making more time for face to face meetings.

In your first year of business, there will be many obstacles and curveballs thrown at you, but you will learn a lot. The key is to retain everything that comes your way and learn from it. Keep interested, stay curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions – everyone has to start somewhere.

Paul Tooth is the CEO of BrightHR.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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