If you’re an entrepreneur embarking on a new startup journey, you must know that regardless of where you live, starting up a business and growing it through its early stages is a challenging task. The first year in particular is very critical. It is a known fact that most of the startups fail within a year of establishing.

The bottom line about a startup’s first year is that it could get really scary. Apart from the fear of failure and financial fears, you might experience some extreme versions of fear. There are several stock pieces of advice you’re likely to hear. But you will soon realize that there are things that no one bothers to tell you, those are the most useful in the long run. 

1. Be Prepared To Bootstrap

Even when you have everything planned, it is not a good idea to rely solely on funding. Your first year is probably going to be a lot more challenging than you can actually think. Most investors want to see you hit milestones before they fund you. If you do get funded early – great, but if you count on it then you are probably going to pin yourself up against a wall.

2. Location Matters

Where your business is located could impact your success factor. But this does not mean that you necessarily have to be at Silicon Valley. Pick a location where you could find people who would be interested in mentoring you, funding you, networking with you and buy your product or service. Getting some early traction is very important. You could even have a virtual office and choose to work from your apartment. But base yourself at a location that would contribute in your startup’s success.

3. Offer A Niche

Be an expert at what you do. While it may take time to develop expertise, it will differentiate you from others and will help set you up as a go-to source. When you offer a niche product or service, you quickly gain a favorable reputation. Just make sure that your customers are happy with you. The word of mouth marketing is far better than any PR or Social Media Campaign.

4. Embrace The Fire In Your Belly

The most successful entrepreneurs are incredibly passionate about their work. Embrace your mission like it’s the only thing that matters for you. You won’t make it a success if you’re not genuinely excited about the work you do. If you believe in your idea then no one can stop you from being a success.

5. Don’t Forget The Paperwork

It’s important to comply with all regulations and file the necessary paperwork from the very beginning. It’ll save you from feeling overwhelmed months down the line. Hire an agent if necessary. This will ensure that your business runs smoothly and will free up some of your time to tend to other matters.