Growing a business is challenging, especially in economically trying times, but the decisions you make as an entrepreneur in these formative years determine the growth of your business going forward. Hitting a few bumps in the road is to be expected, but a business’s ability to overcome those hurdles relies on always having a ‘plan B’ in your back pocket.
Research has shown that 86% of start-ups fail within the first year, but your entrepreneurial approach is what will differentiate your business from the herd.
1. Stick to the plan
The purpose of a business plan is to document specific information – such as the finances of the business and details of products or services – in order to understand where the business is going and how it will get there.
As start-ups navigate the fragile nature of our economy and grapple with unexpected blows to finances, having a solid business plan in place will help absorb some of the impact of those unwelcome surprises.
Following a business plan will also help younger businesses outline a spending forecast for the road ahead so that the occasional bump doesn’t come as too much of a shock.
Related: Why Do I Need A Business Plan?
2. Get to grips with your entrepreneurial style
Every entrepreneur has a unique approach to the way they run their business – some thrive under pressure and are happy to improvise as they go, while others enjoy the predictability of structure and routine.
Knowing which type of entrepreneur you are comes down to understanding what motivates you to achieve, as well as what stands in the way of you reaching those goals.
Having this awareness encourages you to align decision-making to your vision for your business and keep objectives top of mind.
3. Keep up with the times
Every entrepreneur should set aside at least an hour each day to catch up on what’s happening in the world around us – whether it’s by reading a newspaper or reading online news.
Understanding your target audience involves a thorough understanding of the issues that impact them and helps you to tailor your communications and offerings accordingly.
Keep your finger on the pulse by setting news sites as your home page so they are the first thing you see when you open your browser, and subscribe to websites and blogs that are relevant to your industry.
If you simply do not have an hour to spare, you can also listen to news and business-related podcasts while you work through your to-do list for the day.
4. Be the change
As an entrepreneur, the ability to adapt to change is key to crisis management and building a successful enterprise. However, while change may be scary and mostly inconvenient, seeing it as an opportunity for growth is far more productive than stubbornly clinging to the way things have always been done.
To survive the unexpected, communicating these changes to all levels of the organisation is just as crucial in ensuring a smooth transition from the old to the new. Encourage dialogue and feedback to keep employees in the loop of changes which are relevant to their work and well-being.
5. Ask for help
Growing a start-up into a thriving enterprise is hard work, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you have access to a wealth of valuable advice and support from experienced mentors.
Reaching out to those who have faced similar challenges within your industry is a great way to minimise start-up challenges and grow a broader network of useful connections in the industry, not to mention predict problems before they arise.
Attend networking events and keep a close eye on professional platforms, where you will find relevant thought leaders who may be willing to share their insight with you.
Some start-ups fail – but the reality is that even under difficult circumstances, entrepreneurs can turn this threat into an opportunity for growth by having a pre-emptive approach to business and keeping a level head in the face of adversity.