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Going Beyond the Start-Up Period: How to Help Your Business Advance to the Next Level

Without a doubt, a company’s first year of operations is fraught with challenges, difficulties, and a lot of hard work. But now that you have almost gone through the initial phase of your business – the dreaded and most difficult start-up period – and have found out what you need to know about ‘business basics’, the next step is taking your business above and beyond this phase.

Keep in mind that the next phase for your business after the start-up period can be quite daunting as well. In certain respects, you may have to reconsider some aspects of your business plan and adjust and update your other plans based on how your first year has been. In this next phase, you may also have to re-think your goals depending on the results you have gleaned from your first year of operations. There is a list of things you can do in order to move smoothly and seamlessly into the next phase, and these are outlined below:


Assess your business performance

Before you can think about making further plans for the next phase in your operations, you should make it a point to understand your business at this specific time. This means doing an evaluation and assessment of your business performance and checking how your enterprise has been able to measure up to your initial plans and projections. Go over your business plan again and compare what is stated in the document to how your enterprise is really doing. Pay particular attention to your financial forecast – knowing whether you have missed it or exceeded it will help you determine your next course of action and set your priorities as you move forward.

Assess – and understand – what you have discovered

During your first year of operations, you will find out a lot of things about your industry, your own business, and even yourself. If you are looking for the right path in your next phase, it is important to analyse what you have learned and discovered and try to understand it as best as you can. For instance, after beginning your business, have you seen any strengths and weaknesses in your business model which you did not anticipate? During your first year, have you identified some new business opportunities which you may want to learn more about in the future? What challenges or obstacles have you come across, and how have you been able to overcome them? By asking yourself these questions, you can get a much clearer idea and understanding of your business performance and you can make more insightful planning for the near future.


Continue to grow and establish your roots

One of the most common dilemmas you may experience in your second year of operations is the fading away of the initial excitement. The honeymoon period is over, after all, and now you have to get down to the ‘nitty gritty’. Your second year will be more about making sure that your business plans are being followed through and proving and establishing yourself in your niche.

This is also the time when relationships begin to assert their importance. Establishing – and maintaining – a network of contacts and clients should also be your goal at this point, so don’t neglect to realise the importance of the community that surrounds you. You should continue seeking help from the experts – in fact; you need them now more than ever. Rely on experts whenever possible and let them take care of the essentials, such as for accounting, bookkeeping and payroll, experts in IT, personnel for website development and digital marketing, and the like; leaving you time to focus on core business activities and growing your business.