by Bev Sninchak
You’ve launched your own startup and you’re ready to take the business world by storm –- or so you think. Rein in your excitement a bit and take a hard look at the odds you’re up against after starting your own company. You may be surprised to learn that a large number of new businesses fail before they even celebrate the end of their inaugural year.
According to Ghergich and Company, one-fourth of startups fail within the first year. By the fourth year, half of all business startups have gone belly-up. If these facts scare you, it’s understandable. However, you can use this information as motivation to ensure your company makes the right moves and decisions to head off disaster before it happens.
Don’t let your business go from start to stop in only a year
Promptly Attend To Your Customer’s Needs
As you may already know, online customers have short attention spans. They also have little patience for sites that keep them waiting longer than necessary. Ghergich and Company also found that 71 percent of customers want a response from a company site within the first five minutes. Anything longer than that and you stand to lose customers -– and profits. Be sure your business site loads smoothly and any on-site interaction with your customers is designed for an immediate response -– preferably by one-on-one customer service chat options or similar programs.
Utilize Social Platforms to Inform and Serve Your Customers
There are many social platforms out there that you can use to enhance and increase your new business’s reach. From Twitter and Facebook to Pinterest and LinkedIn, your startup should avail itself of all these social platforms and more. Use social media to communicate directly to your current customers and potential ones. Keep them informed and be quick in responding to any queries they post in return. Manage your business’s reputation carefully by monitoring how you respond to negative feedback from customers as well. Should a problem arise with a client, resolve the issue promptly and with a tone of professionalism. People who are following your social media feeds will notice how you respond and it can increase or decrease their opinion of your business.
Stay Focused On Your Primary Goals
When you launched your startup, you probably had a set idea of what your primary goals were for your business. You focused on specific demographics and knew who your potential clients were –- and which products and services would appeal to them.To remain successful in business, it’s essential to focus on clear outcomes and employ specific strategies to meet your goals.
Even though you’re well on your way and may be reaping profits right now, don’t make the mistake of straying far from your primary goals. Keep your eye on the original targets and don’t become distracted by new and shiny prospects that seem too good to be true. While creativity and risk-taking is always a part of business, discernment and clarity of purpose must underlie a firm foundation if you expect your new business to grow and prosper for years into the future.
Adapt To Industry Changes
In business, as in life, change is inevitable. Industries change, customers change, technology changes. In order to survive past your first year and beyond, your company will need to stay aware of important changes across your industry’s professional landscape and make adjustments as necessary. Keep updated on trends and watch for shifts by keeping a close eye on social media, publications, industry-related blogs, and other resources. Getting stuck in a rut and refusing to break out of your comfort zone can lead to paradigm paralysis, which means you not only lose customers, but profits take a dive as well. Before you know it, your startup is trailing behind others in your industry. Avoid this costly mistake by remaining vigilant and keeping an open mind.
You’ve worked hard to launch your own business. Make sure you put all your effort into helping it thrive and grow past its first year. With a firm foundation and smart choices,you’ll be celebrating your business’s anniversary for decades into the future.
Bev Sninchak is a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for print and online publications. She is interested in business-related podcasts, such as those featuring CFO Gary Crittenden, and writes about many subjects, from online marketing tips to social media strategies.