Business Resource Center

How to Succeed in Business Your First Year

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A business plan isn't something you should write once and never touch again. Instead, reassess your plan periodically to better guide you as you grow.


Monitor your cash flow

One of the keys to success as a small business is appropriately managing your cash flow. As a business owner, one financial statement that you should get used to reviewing regularly is your cash flow forecast. A cash flow forecast monitors cash that is received and spent by your business. Even if your business is profitable, there can still be points where you aren't able to pay your bills; for example, if you have invoices that you expect will be paid next week but you don't have the money to make payroll tomorrow.

You can use this forecast to predict what cash flow will look like — when money will be received and when it will be spent — to see if there are any points at which you won't have the cash on hand to cover your bills. Knowing your cash flow forecast can help you make better spending decisions and help put plans in place to avoid having a bank account that hits $0.


Listen to your customers

While you may have spent years dreaming up the perfect business that you're incredibly proud of, it's vital that you listen to customer feedback. Learning what customers like and dislike can help you continue to refine your product or service. You may also get insight into other problems they experience so you can continue to grow your business by offering new products and services to meet their needs.


Find support

Being a business owner is exciting, but it can also be lonely and stressful. All of the decisions to make for your company are your responsibility. It can be helpful to find mentors that you can go to for advice. Business owners who know what you're going through and can give you advice and offer a different perspective to challenges you're facing. If you don't know anyone who can fill that mentor role, consider working with SCORE.3 They have volunteer mentors that can help you as you guide your business.

The first year of your business will be exciting and challenging. But the actions you take during this first year can set a solid foundation for strong business growth in the years to come.

Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Survival of Private Sector Establishments by Opening Year," accessed January 11, 2021. Back
  2. SCORE, "Marketing Plan Guide," published May 30, 2016, accessed January 11, 2021. Back
  3. SCORE, "Find a Mentor," accessed January 6, 2021. Back