The devil is in the detail when it comes to getting through a start-up’s ‘rocky first year’, according to Beatrice Bartlay, managing director of specialist staffing firm 2B Interface.
From monitoring stationery orders to maintaining a tidy desk, Bartlay says Britain’s innovators need to look beyond the necessary business plan to see the pay off.
“It is during the first year when start-ups are most likely to fail,” she says. “There are some essential things that can be done in those first 12 months to avoid some of the biggest, and less obvious, pitfalls.”
Bartlay’s top tips are:
• Get your staffing right. The people make a brand, the people are the ones delivering excellent customer service and it’s the people making sure that customers get exactly what they’ve paid for.
• Prepare for the unexpected. From losing your broadband connection to accidents, you should use risk assessments and take expert advice to ensure you can take the hit.
• Raise your profile. Show your passion for your industry and engross yourself in networking. Attending conferences, awards ceremonies and exhibitions relevant to your industry may be time consuming, but the people you meet will be invaluable contacts.
• Get SMART. Set personal and business goals using the SMART methodology (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timed) and revisit them on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to dream big, as long as it’s realistic, and don’t pin the entire business’ survival on one achievement. Also, if you’re overachieving, be critical and make your goals bigger.
• Account for every penny. Budgeting is a no-brainer, but a back-up source of revenue is strongly advised. Cost control can be the difference between success and failure. Set up purchasing policies to ensure you’re not blowing profits on ballpoint pens and don’t be bulled by late payers through the need for their business.
• Have a good day. Manage your and your staff’s time wisely. Only ever tackle one task at a time. It’s very easy to let stress get on top of you and then mistakes will start to creep in. Get lots of sleep, keep your office and paperwork tidy, but most of all enjoy the ride.