It wasn’t that long ago that statistics presented an alarming picture about the survival rate of first-year businesses. However in a 2015 publication from the US Department of Labor, the survival rate has been revised upward to show that about 75% of new businesses are able to outlast the trials and tribulations of their first year. With a little luck and dedication to sound business principles, your small business can also join the ranks of first-year business survivors.

Prepare a Solid Business Plan

Without having a well thought out, well documented business plan, your chances of first-year survival decrease dramatically. Any new startup company should strongly consider the first three years of business, and probably even the first five. The things to take into account in this five-year business plan should include all of the following: a strategy for any necessary funding, detailed descriptions of your products or services, company description and mission statement, an executive summary, research on your intended market, marketing and advertising plans, and financial projections over those first five years.

Put Metrics in Place

If you don’t measure the progress of your business, you’ll never know if you’re advancing toward your goals and objectives. Make sure to have a set of long-term objectives in place, as well as short-term objectives, and regularly compare your actual progress against them. When you fail to match up with these stated goals, you may need to make adjustments in your business strategy before it’s too late.

Remember the Importance of Content

One of the things that has the most impact on your company’s brand, your overall mission, and its value to customers is content marketing. Especially in that first year, it’s extremely important for you to get your message out in the most concise way possible, and engage customers with your company, so as to develop long-term relationships.

Don’t Overlook Customer Service

With startup companies emerging by the hundreds and thousands, there are very few new products or services being offered to consumers. Very often, the only thing that differentiates one small business from another is superior customer service. To help you survive that first year in business, you should do whatever it takes to provide the absolute best customer service possible, so that you can distinguish yourself from competitors.