No matter how solid your plans, however, I guarantee you that nothing can quite prepare you for your first year in business, until you’ve done it.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when figuring out what to expect from your first year in business.
Nothing Goes As Planned
The first thing to know is that nothing, absolutely NOTHING, goes as planned.
There’s a great quote I from General Patton that I feel like absolutely sums up the first year of business:
A wise general prepares for every contingency, knowing that not one of them will come to pass.
In other words, no matter how prepared you think you are, there’s always going to be something that comes up to throw you off course. Your best bet is to be ready, psychologically more than anything, to change plans on a moment’s notice, something many entrepreneurs refer to as “pivoting.”
Everything Takes Longer
The second thing to know is that everything, yes everything is going to take longer than you first expect. It’s going to take longer to sign on your first customers, and longer than you hope to develop your product.
That’s ok, as long as you know it’s likely to happen. Make sure you include some buffer into your timeline, so that a single late milestone doesn’t derail your entire business.
Everything Is More Expensive
Along with taking longer, it’s also very, very common for businesses to encounter unseen expenses in their first year.
Part of this has to do with the fact that, as a new entrepreneur, its easy to overlook things. Bringing on an experienced consultant who is an expert in starting companies can help to greatly reduce this risk.
But, part of these unseen expenses are sometimes inevitable. Product development problems come up, or your marketing plan needs to be iterated a bit before it comes profitable. That’s all just part of the game.
Whichever of these problems you encounter (if not all of them) the most important thing is that you keep an open, receptive mind, and a can-do attitude. Knowing that you can solve any problem that arises, and not worrying too much over imaginary problems, is a key aspect of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.