Step 5–Your new company's first year
For many businesses, the first year of operation can be very tumultuous. But planning ahead, reaching out to obtain the resources you need and surrounding yourself with the right people can ease some of those growing pains.
Here’s advice you can follow to have a successful first year in business.
Grow your business
Day-to-day operations will take up a great deal of your time as you start your business. But as the owner of a small business, you also have to manage your company's growth. This means learning key skills that make your business stand out from the pack.
- Check BDC’s Manage your growth hub for helpful information on growing your business. You can also check out this infographic on the do’s and don’ts of successful businesses.
- Effective financial management can help you avoid many common mistakes that cause otherwise successful firms to run into difficulties. To get started, download our free guide Taking Control of your Cash Flow. You can also apply for a line of credit and a working capital loan to complement it.
- To find out how you're doing in comparison to others in your industry, you'll want to use financial ratios. Ratios can be calculated using BDC's financial ratio calculator. You can then use the Statistics Canada and the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada websites to compare your ratios with those of other businesses in your industry.
- Check the Canada Business Network’s Day-to-day operations webpage for advice on managing your finances, supply chain, risks and other operational challenges.
Prepare to hire employees
As your company grows, you may need to hire employees. You can visit BDC’s Employees page for an introduction to recruiting and managing employees.
- Are you having trouble finding the right candidates for the jobs available at your company? Check out this BDC article on recruiting.
- If you want to advertise a job posting, try the job bank offered by the Government of Canada. Also try listing on private websites such as monster.ca, workopolis.com, jobboom.com, indeed.ca or CareerBeacon.com.
- For an overview of your obligations as an employer, check out the Employees page of the Canada Business Network’s website.
- You can calculate your payroll deductions using the Payroll Deductions Online Calculator on the Canada Revenue Agency’s website.
- Why not hire a student? The federal government’s Young Canada Works program could give you access to wage subsidies and talented employees.
- If you need a complete and customized HR plan (for example, to handle rapid growth), check out BDC’s HR management solutions as well as this article on creating an HR plan.
Focus on customer services
A 2015 BDC survey of growing companies in Canada found that nearly all of them (99%) mentioned that having a good grasp of client needs and satisfying them was a decisive factor in ensuring their business’s growth. Serving your clients well and adapting your products and services to their needs is a proven way to increase your sales to existing clients and attract new ones.
- Read this article to find out how to put customers first in your new business.
- The key to good customer service is to understand your customers and differentiate your business. Conduct market research and create a marketing plan to tackle these challenges.
- Consider investing in a free or low costs customer relationship management solution and implementing a customer loyalty program.
Perfect your Internet strategy
Now that you have a business, creating a great website should be one of your main priorities, if you haven’t done so already.
Here are some tools that can help you explore Internet marketing and e-commerce.
- Head over to our Marketing hub to discover how to implement a digital marketing strategy
- Watch this video for tips on how to successfully grow your online presence.
- You’ve built your website and now you want to know how it measures up? This free and easy website assessment tool will provide you with professional feedback on up to 5&pages of your website and provide you with a personalized PDF report instantly.
- Discover how to grow you e-commerce sales with our free guide Succeed with E-commerce.
- Learn more about using online marketing to propel your business forward with our free guide Attracting and Selling Online.
Networking is an essential part of success for entrepreneurs. Networking provides an excellent opportunity to get away from your daily routine, to meet other dynamic young professionals and even lay the groundwork for partnering on a future project.
- Read BDC’s article “6 strategies for improving your business networking skills” to make the most of your networking opportunities.
- Contact your local chamber(s) of commerce. Your municipality may have a list of local business associations on its website.
- Also think about contacting the local branch of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, Futurpreneur and other organization to find out about interesting events happening close to you.
- Visit industry trade shows and conference to meet other entrepreneurs and experts in your field.
- Have you getting a mentor? BDC has a Business Coaching program that could be right for you. Futurpreneur Canada also has an excellent mentoring program for young entrepreneurs.