How to survive the first year in business

Most business owners bail in the first year. You don’t make much profit in the first year. In fact, you are lucky, if you make any profit at all. 10 out of 100 entrepreneurs survive the first year in the business. Then they look for a new job or start from the bottom or move back in with their parents. 

When people start their own business they think that in a few years the money will roll in, they will ride Rolls Royce and date models. But the hard truth is, it’s not all glamor or glitz. You are lucky if you survive the first year in business.

But if you follow the footsteps of the successful entrepreneurs, you will see that they follow some rules to survive in business.  

Make a foolproof plan to survive in business:

Make a foolproof plan including all the challenges, obstacles and setbacks you may face in operating your business. As the first year in any startups is the hardest, a well-revised plan will help to make real progress. Create a business plan as detailed and accurate as possible before operating your business.

Many entrepreneurs fail to include the full information, challenges, obstacles and time limit in their plan. Thus, results in failing the first year in business. Make a plan that projects five to seven years into the future. Make sure you include all the important factors like funding, marketing strategy, service or product description, market analysis and management structures.

Survive the first year in business by making your customers your top priority:

Your business depends solely on how you treat your customers. A high-class customer service should be your top priority. You won’t last a year if you don’t deliver a better customer service and exceed their expectations.

You can only beat your competitors by offering better customer experience, responding to customers’ complaints and prioritizing your customer’s needs above your profit. Only then you can have a group of loyal consumers bringing your small business popularity.

Offer reward, incentives and loyalty programs for the customers who recommend you to their friends and family. One of the most effective ways to advertise your brand is through your league of loyal followers.

Be confident to survive in business:

Entrepreneurs success not only because they stick to their foolproof plan but also for their strong commitment and devotion to building their business. If you don’t believe in what you do, you will quit eventually.

We often hear entrepreneurs compassionate stories about how they used to sleep and eat in the office. Living on fast food and used to work 18 hours a day. Their commitment to hustle and building empire may sound insane but you must agree that their faith in themselves is unshakable.

Keep a record of your progress to survive the first year in business:


One of the biggest contributing factors in surviving the first year in business is to keep to the plan. So it’s essential to keep regular records of everything and compare them to your business goals. When measuring the failure or success you can figure how much adjustment you would have to make in order to stay on track.

Your measurements will tell you if you are staying on the road to be profitable. To spend your money wisely, you must adapt to the changes or adjustments necessary for your business. Surviving the first year can be very difficult. It is full of insecurities, uncertainty and personal stress. But with the right business plan, you are sure to prosper only if you keep on track and make necessary adjustments in the business plan.  

To Survive in business be prepared for the bad days:

When starting your own business you must be prepared for expenses like insurance, unexpected expenses, and taxes. These are just the common problems you would have to face. But what if all of a sudden you need to upgrade your equipment or software. We all need some form of technology to operate the business smoothly. If your computer broke down or the freezer in your restaurant needs repair and you don’t have enough funds then you will be trouble. And these kinds of unexpected expenses occur all the time. It will be hard to find any entrepreneurs who have not endured these issues while operating their businesses.

Make sure you have enough funds to go through rainy days. Also, the small business owners who depend on their business entirely for income must put some extra cash for their personal rainy day events. You might need to pay for some unexpected medical expenses, your car broke down or maybe your house needs a repair then you will have to draw funds from your business. So keep this in mind and make yourself prepared for a stormy day.    

Don’t forget your taxes to survive the first year in business:

Every business needs to pay quarterly taxes to the state or federal government for any profit you made. It depends on the business structure whether you will have to pay income taxes or payroll taxes or both. So make sure you include paying taxes in your budget. The more money you make, the more money you will have to pay in taxes.

To survive in business you must accept that you will never be comfortable again:

Startups are always stressful and every day it will bring up some unexpected problems. So discomfort is a must in your business. There’s no way to get out of this. So instead of looking for ways to avoid this inescapable discomfort learn to deal with it. You can only expect personal grow if you push yourself out of your comfort zone. Don’t look for shortcuts or hacks for success, just hold yourself to a higher standard and exceed your own expectations.  

Have a backup plan to survive the first year in business:

When you are the sole proprietor of your business, you and your business become one legal entity. So when your business is in debt, you are in debt. The bank or your lenders can collect money from you. If someone sues your business for some reason that means you are the one in trouble.

To protect your business and personal future you start a corporation to limit the financial liability. But there is a catch, your board of directors can rally to fire you. So research the various types of business structures before selecting the one that suits you the most. Don’t listen to what other people are doing. Research for yourself and find out the one that makes the most sense for you.

Plan ahead so that the unexpected doesn’t catch you off guard. If your business fails and you have already quit your job then losing then make sure you don’t have to lose your house too.

To survive in business, reward yourself first:  

The first thing that every business owners forget to do is consider their salary. They are more than willing to work for free while they establish their businesses. But you still have to pay off your personal expenses. With a reduced or no salary you will soon find yourself in a tough situation.

At the early stages, most businesses struggle to bring in enough profit to pay yourself. But still, have to set aside a small amount of money to cover your monthly expenses.

To survive the first year in business, make time for your family:

If you have to constantly choose between work and business then your mental health will break down soon. I know it’s a hard job to establish a business but it’s even harder when your family is not there to support you. Involve your family in every decision, that way they won’t feel left out and can also help to come up with a better plan.

Your parents or spouse might have some experience in certain fields which you never thought would come in handy in your startup. Allow your children to help you even in small ways. This will add to big rewards one day.

Don’t worry if your family comes up with bad ideas. You don’t have to take them. Just calmly explain why they won’t work. And encourage them to think about more ideas and ways to help you out.

When you start a business you have to make a commitment to yourself to devote all your time to establish your business. You can’t allow yourself to do anything but grind. Eat right, exercise and get enough sleep to get going. 

Final Thought: 

Don’t think that these are time wasters. This habit will save you a lot of time in the long run. You need to maintain a good mental health to build up your stamina, endurance and have a refreshed mind and body. 

To achieve success and survive in business you will need a good health to grid effectively. Nothing promises success but a good mental health will let the dream living. So take good care of yourself in order to survive and succeed in business.  

Entrepreneurship is not a piece of cake. You have to know what you are up against and make yourself prepared for that. Promise yourself to give everything and anything to build your business.