is the first year in business the hardest

Is the First Year in Business the Hardest?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

12th August 2020

It’s fair to say that nobody could have predicted the year we’ve had.  It is said that the first year in business is the hardest, and for business in general this one has been harder than most.

We started this business from almost nothing and at very short notice. It surprised me that we actually did it!

So how has the first year been? Have we achieved what we set out to do? What have been our successes? And is it true that first year in business is the hardest?

The challenges of the first year

I have been an accountant for over 25 years, advising businesses on what to do and how to do it. But when I started on my own, I entered a different world.

Dealing with clients, their finances, their business was the easy part, running a business is something else.

Running a business took up more time than I imagined, even when my ‘client work’ was relatively slack. Time spent on marketing, training, processes, planning, networking, research, websites and social media took up so many hours, and still does!

There is no doubt that the first year has been tough and there have been times (many times!) when self-doubt has kicked in. Those were the times when it was important to remember why I started in the first place.

That ‘why’ is vital to me. Without that purpose I may have given up. I think it has helped that my reasons were not only business related but also for my own personal health. I don’t want to go back to my old life and that has been an important driver in making the new life succeed.

Have we achieved what we set out to do?

I wanted to be a different style of accountant. To bring my own character into a business. To treat clients as real people and work with them, to explain things clearly. To give them an understanding of what their numbers really mean.

This may seem a strange statement from an accountant, but money has never been a big driver in my life. As long as I can be comfortable and have a work-life balance that is far more important.

So my success is not measured by how much money I’m earning, it is measured by the success of the clients I am working with.

To that degree I believe I have succeeded with the client base I have, and I am delighted that my brand is working well.

Promoting that brand to attract new clients and keep the one’s I have is also key. Here I have had to adopt a foreign concept to me – Social Media!

So far success has been mixed but I believe I am heading in the right direction and several new clients are coming on board. These things take time.

Our successes

Measurement of success is not just financial. I would have liked more clients, who wouldn’t? But my measurement comes down to other achievements.

  • I’ve learnt so much and I am now capable of doing so many things that I never thought I could.
  • Qualified as a Certified Xero Advisor.
  • Joined the ‘Small Business Saturday’ community to help promote small businesses across the country.
  • Had an article published in the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce newsletter. I consider that enough to allow me to call myself an author!
  • Signed up some new clients and the feedback from them has been very positive.
  • Met some great people who have helped me both personally and with the business.
  • Returned to living by my own personal values.
  • Most importantly, I am in a far happier place than I was a year ago. For all its trials starting my own business has been enjoyable. It’s been challenging but I like a challenge – something to get my teeth into.
  • Ida loves our partnership, working from home is great for her too.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”

I’m hoping the first year in business is the hardest. But I doubt it will be all plain sailing from now on. Business will always have ups and downs. Recognising them and dealing with them is all part of a business owner’s life. I am still learning to enjoy the good parts and not dwell on the bad. And to always remember why I did it in the first place!

Running my own business has taught me so much. I can also use this experience to help other new and growing businesses to succeed. If you would like some help why not book a complimentary discovery call with me?

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