Small Business Wisdom: What To Expect in Your First Year

What can you expect in your first year as a small business owner? After tracking our first year as a business and following thousands of others on the journey, we can tell you that you’ll go through several ways of looking at your business, or paradign shifts. Here are the main ones covered in our video of what to expect in your first year:

You’ll also hear about the milestones you can expect to reach in your first few years.

Weeks 1 – 4: The Fake Start

The Fake Start paradigm shift occurs when you first jump into the idea of starting your own business. Get ready to do some serious talking and planning! You’re putting your business together during this first month and making sure that everyone around you knows it.

Weeks 5 – 8: Small Business Realities

You’re making a paradigm shift to Small Business Realities thinking when you start to realize that small business is different than every other type of business. This four-week period is about testing things out and learning the rules of small business (“”Cash is King” and “Personal Brand is Small Business Brand”, for example.) You’ll concentrate on getting some cash into your business, assess how long you can wait for cash to start coming in, and determine what prices you’ll need to charge in the future to keep your business running.

Weeks 9 – 12: Getting to the 2nd Ring

In Week 8, at the tail end of the Small Business Realities paradigm shift, you may still be only selling to friends and family. That’s okay. But during Weeks 9 to 12 you need to make a third paradigm shift.

Getting to the 2nd Ring thinking forces you to consider how you can sell to strangers. You’ll need to:

  • Assess who you know outside of the circle of friends and family that could be potential customers.
  • Learn about networking
  • Get business cards so that you always have a way to quickly and conveniently give people your contact information. .

Weeks 13 -16: Unlearning (Relearning)

At Week 13, four months into your small business journey, the Unlearning (Relearning) paradigm shift begins. This is a time to go over your progress so far and tweak your plans and processes for the future to include what you’ve learned.

Maybe you need to do more definitive goal-setting. Maybe you need to examine your revenue streams and determine whether they’re all working optimally for you. Maybe your marketing plan needs some changes. Maybe you need to consider a potential referral partner who take on work that people who want you to do that’s not a service you offer.

This paradigm shift is about asking, “Is this real? Did what I try during the first 3 months work, or do I have to change things up?”

Weeks 17 – 21: Asking for Help with Your Small Business

In Month 5 you’re going to start adding people to your team, shifting your business paradigm from one where you work alone to one where Asking for Help is healthy and encouraged. Finding someone to talk to about your business (not family or a significant other – they’re sick of hearing about it by now), who can offer a second opinion about issues you face and help you keep your energy up, will keep you from waking up at night with business concerns stuck in your head. Mentors are ideal for this.

Weeks 22 – 25: Cash-O-La!

This month’s paradigm shift is around money. You will learn:

  • Why “cash is king”
  • Why reducing costs is important
  • How you may be able to benefit from bartering
  • How attention to all the things mentioned above raises your profit margin.

Still with us, business owner? Good! You’re doing great!

Weeks 26 – 28: Breath(ish)

You need to make the Breath(ish) paradigm shift now because at this point you’ve been going full-speed for six months! You need to slow down and make sure that you’re taking care of yourself as well as well as your business.

Put a self-care plan in place if you don’t have one, to avoid burn-out. Be sure that your plan is something that you can keep doing over the long-term.

Week 29 – 33: Think Bigger about Your Small Business!

As you shift your business paradigm to Think Bigger, you’re looking for an elephant. Not literally, of course, but an elephant of a new client that brings in a lot of money with consistency, or a current client to whom you can sell more services. You can look for elephants in a couple of ways:

  • Reconnect with contacts you made when you launched. Let them know that you’re still around, offering services and welcoming referrals.
  • Consider making your business your full-time job if you haven’t already. Give some thought as to how you’ll structure Accounts Receivable when the time comes to do so.

Can you think of any potential elephants right now?

Weeks 34 – 37: Graduate

As you start making the Graduate paradigm shift, you might feel to need to move on from your mentor – you’re having some success, you’re feeling confident, and you’d like to go at it alone. Take a couple of weeks to consider your decision, trying to stay humble and realistic as you evaluate where you are with your business and whether you can keep up the momentum on your own. At the end of Week 37, make the decision about whether to graduate from your mentor.

Weeks 38 – 41: Do Bigger for your Small Business

Now the business paradigm shifts to Do Bigger – you’ve thought about how you’d like to make your business grow, now what structure do you need to put in place to make it happen? As you make this paradigm shift, you’ll think about:

  • Action plans
  • Scalability and processes
  • Re-investment
  • Whether you need employees or partners

Guess what? You’re almost there..

Weeks 42 – 52: Sustain Your Small Business

In Sustain, the the last of the paradigm shifts for your first year, you’ll focus first on strengthening your business through its customer service and its branding, and then on you. You’ll ask yourself:

  • Is this making me happy?
  • Do I want to continue?

Hopefully you do! Congratulate yourself for making it through your first year…you did it!

View What to Expect When You Are Starting to learn about the Small Business Solver modules that are the most useful for small businesses in each paradigm shift. And view more of our webinars on our You Tube Channel!

Contact us at smallbusinesssolver@gmail.com if you have any questions…

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