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Starting your own business can seem challenging and confusing for first-time entrepreneurs. No wonder, when you launch your new company you have to wear many hats, controlling numerous areas of your new start-up: financial, marketing, management, human resources, legal, administration to name a few.

Although businesses tend to go through bad and good times, the first year will be one of the hardest for you as an entrepreneur – after all you are diving head first into a new and unexplored field. Here are some of the core principles to help you ease into a startup landscape.

1. Choose your field carefully

Make sure that you know a great deal about the industry for your startup. It will be much easier to keep your head above the water when you know what you are dealing with. Carefully research the product or service, ensure that there is demand: you can only count on investors if your company has a lot of potential for growth and development.

2. Do not become “jack-of-all-trades”

Whether you have opened a new restaurant or a small law practice, you need to delegate day-to-day tasks to qualified employees. Often first-time entrepreneurs try to do everything themselves, from phone calls to management. This micromanagement approach will keep you away from doing what you are supposed to: developing and growing your new business. Rather invest into qualified staff from the beginning and devote your time to the most important tasks that require your attention.

3. Utilize technology to its full potential

While splashing out on costly backend systems is not recommended in your first year, there are a lot of relatively inexpensive technologies that can help your business grow. For example quality website, convenient customer service software and VoIP are the tools that can make your business much more prosperous.

4. Keep track of your finances

Many seemingly successful startups fail because the entrepreneurs do not keep toll of all their income and expenses. Watch your balance sheet like a hawk, avoid any costly liabilities in your first year, stick to your budget and try to set aside some money every month. Savings can be a lifesaver when you hit road bumps. Orlando business broker Cress V. Diglio recommends holding back on any unnecessary and costly investments in your first year. Although there are examples of companies who invested heavily in their first year and succeeded, most startups that ‘go for broke’ fail, leaving entrepreneurs in less than pleasant circumstances.

5. Monitor your competitors

Ongoing research of new products, services, developments in your marketplace will help your business stay relevant and keep it from stagnating. As surprising as it sounds, your competition can deliver a wealth of ideas for business growth and development while learning from the mistakes will help you avoid pitfalls in the future.

6. Put your customers first

There are plenty of large companies that owe their success to the customer service they provided when they first started out. Never take your customers for granted: you need to make sure that your first clients sing your praises. Always address any issues and go extra miles to show that you care. Remember that earning good reputation might be hard, but fixing bad reputation is even harder and sometimes impossible.