No matter how you look at it, owning a business for one year is a huge accomplishment. You’ve gone through the legal paperwork, filed taxes, signed a lease and a million other things, not to mention you’ve paid your bills! But many common challenges will start to pop up after those 12 months.
This is a time to celebrate, but it’s also a time when new challenges will arrive. To prepare you, here are four of the most common difficulties small business owners face at the one-year mark.
Staying true to your vision
Running a small business is like going through an obstacle course. You may have a path picked out, but navigating the various hurdles, monkey bars, slides and ball pits will ultimately determine the path you take. Many opportunities, as well as problems, may arise during your first year, but stay focused on your original goal and on the thing your business can do better than any other.
Maintaining the momentum
A new business generates buzz and gets people talking. This is a gift for the owner. However, that initial buzz fades out quickly. A challenge many small businesses face is in keeping that momentum alive. To do this, they might have to get creative with marketing efforts, network with the right people, participate in the community and have a robust social media presence. These things might not be directly connected to your day-to-day operations, but are essential parts of a successful marketing effort.
Managing cash flow
One of the most common growing pains small businesses experience is in properly managing their cash flow. This can come in various forms. Whether it’s keeping proper accounting records, paying invoices on time (or getting paid on time), or juggling purchases and inventory, many small business owners are not prepared for some of these more knotty difficulties.
Learning to let others handle it
Your business is your child, and it’s hard let it grow up and out of your sight. Almost every business owner struggles with the problem of when to delegate a task or let someone else handle an important aspect of the business. After a year in business you’ll probably be on track to expand and grow. Success means there will be more work to do, and if you don’t learn how to delegate, you will be stretched beyond capacity.
For many, the first year in business is one of the most exciting — and challenging — years of their life. But it’s only the beginning. With new challenges come new opportunities for growth, job creation and the formation of a company culture.