October 20, 2011
Let’s be honest, time goes by in the blink of an eye. With each year that we grow older, time only seems to flee by faster and faster. Well, with one exception that is…
When it comes to running your own business the first year can feel like a decade. The overwhelming amount of responsibilities, the never ending workloads, and the daunting task of figuring out what is working, as well as what isn’t working, can be a mentally crippling notion.
Combine this with the fact that most of us are still learning the basics of our business in a first year, and it can be downright brutal. It is no wonder most people with great ideas never truly follow through on their business aspirations.
But for those of us that are strong enough to survive our first year, the second year can be a huge sigh of relief. In the second year we can finally buckle down a little bit and focus on really sharpening our business models, and thus, fully allowing them to take hold and reach their full potential.
Here are three suggestions for what you should be doing in your second year of running a business:
Start tightening things up.
What do I mean by tightening your business up? The truth is, most first year business owners come up with tons of ideas that seem great on the surface. We then throw them all out there to see what sticks. While having a lot of ideas can be a good thing, too many ideas, and too much information is not a good thing.
In the second year of your business you should start tidying up and doing some house cleaning. Narrow down all the choices you have made to only those that have been proven to be the most effective. Remove the clutter and ideas that are merely wasting your time and costing you more money than they are worth. Remember, time is money!
Expand your business.
I just said to tighten things up and now I am saying to expand! Don’t worry; I haven’t lost my mind!.
Once you remove the excess clutter in your business, it is time to refocus on what has actually been working. Pinpoint the ideas that have been helping you to thrive, and either expand on these ideas or use them to brainstorm for new ideas to help grow your business.
It is imperative to not get complacent with success, the day your company stops growing, is the day it starts dying. In my company’s second year of business, we added both a PR specialist and a social media account manager to our team. These additions were valuable to obtaining a national TV spot on the DIY Network, donating cabinets for a kitchen remodel
Customers love innovation and it’s important for your company to be on top of all the current trends in your specific industry as well as the Internet. Your first year knowledge should have you prepared to come up with some innovative and effective second year ideas to wow your customer base.
Re-Assess your schedule.
In the first year it is extremely difficult to stay on a set business schedule. We can’t exactly limit ourselves to eight-hour days considering that our business can crumble if we don’t succeed early on. Schedules tend to get crazy, over-bearing, and there always seems to be a never-ending to-do list.
However, in the second year we should be much more stable. Keeping up insane hours will lead to burnout and bad business decisions. Start re-assessing your schedule, cutting down the hours, and consider outsourcing mundane time consuming tasks.
A great resource to acquire some outsourced talent at low cost is ODesk . Outsourcing is critical to freeing up your time, so you can put more effort working on your business, rather than working in your business.
When it comes down to it, running a successful business is not easy for any man or woman. However, it is critical we learn from the trials and tribulations of our first year of business, so we can implement new strategies to improve our overall productivity and efficiency moving forward to the second year of business, and beyond!
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Photo Credit: © dpaint