Starting a business is never easy. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, patience and expertise. It also causes a lot of stress, anxiety and in turn that can have a knock-on effect to other areas of one’s life.
For many, in fact, it can spiral into the likes of alcohol or drug abuse in an attempt to keep going, particularly in industries such as hospitality and white collar businesses. Visit any alcohol rehab UK based and you’ll see the trigger work-related stress can have on people’s mental health and addiction.
Of course, that doesn’t happen to everyone and by being prepared for what lies ahead in a first year of starting a business can also be helpful in managing expectations and reducing stress.
So, what are the biggest challenges and stress points that can be found in the first year of starting a business?
1. Financial Uncertainty
Naturally, one of the biggest stress points will revolve around finances. Becoming profitable is a gradual thing, often taking two to three years, and in that first year start-ups can often face unpredictable revenue streams.
It can be a daily challenge so it’s vital that you find support and utilise stress management techniques, whether that be daily exercise, yoga, or talking regularly to mentors, friends or family.
2. Customer Acquisition and Retention
Starting from scratch is exactly that, so you need to start building your customer base and, most importantly, ensure you retain them.
There’s a huge amount of pressure on sales and attracting new business, which can cause stress, particularly if you have multiple customers dropping off at similar times.
Establishing a solid marketing strategy early on, even before you launch, can be an effective way of easing stress around this, while employing a marketing agency will also do the same if you have the capital for that.
3. Operational Challenges
Business is never smooth sailing, whether you’re in your first year or 21st. But it’s in that first year when you’ve yet to experience the daily hiccups where it can be the most stressful.
You’ll regularly encounter unforeseen obstacles, but it’s all about remaining calm, showing resilience and using problem-solving skills to get things back on the right pathway.
Again, leaning on mentors and support networks can be a great starting point for this.
4. Time Management Struggles
There’s no doubt you will be run off your feet in that first year. It’s what gets on top of most people and why they begin to struggle with their mental health.
From running a business to strategising, keeping customers happy, gaining new ones, there’s a huge amount to be getting on with, which can see time management become a real issue. Learning to delegate and prioritise effectively is hugely important and valuable here. Take a step back, look at your time and how it can be best filled and that will help ease that feeling of overwhelmingness and stress.
5. Legal and Regulatory Compliance
Finally, it could well be the first time you’re dealing with the legal elements of starting a business, which can almost always be confusing and stressful.
Whether it be registering the business, adhering to tax regulations or ensuring all compliance and HR regulations are in place, not only is there a lot to do, it can be so overwhelming. What’s more, not do it correctly and there can be severe consequences too.
Getting help with this and delegating it to someone who has experience in this is by far the best method rather than struggling with it alone, taking a huge weight off your mind and allow you to concentrate on all the other areas you need to manage in that first year.