10 steps to success

The first year of building a business can be a minefield. Claire McTernan, a business growth exert, reveals 10 key activities entrepreneurs should be undertaking in their first year.


  1. Take total responsibility for the success of your business. Whether you make the money you desire or not is 100 per cent your responsibility and not the franchisor’s. The quicker you start to appreciate this, the quicker you’ll reach your goals.
  2. Get really clear on what you want to achieve, build a plan to achieve it and follow it.
  3. Know your strengths and weaknesses and use them to your advantage. Importantly, find ways to plug the areas you aren’t so strong in, ideally by outsourcing them. If money is tight, find ways to manage yourself to ensure your weaknesses don’t hold you back.
  4. Be clear on what marketing support you should be receiving from the franchisor and make sure you get it.
  5. Don’t rely on franchisor marketing support alone. There are loads of different ways to market your business and you really should use as many as you can afford to. The best ones to use will very much depend on what you are selling and who your target audience is. Too many businesses failed to make their target revenue because they remained a too well-kept a secret. Don’t be one of them!
  6. Make sure you know what marketing you can carry out without approval from your franchisor. In most cases the franchisor will need to approve the use of the logo/brand so be sure to keep them in the loop but don’t use this as an excuse to limit your marketing.
  7. Things will be slow at the start but don’t convince yourself that this is a good reason to put your feet up. In fact, do the exact opposite. Once the business starts to gather momentum you will quickly find that it’s difficult to carve out the time to work on growing your business. Use the quiet early months to do as much research and marketing as possible.
  8. Implement systems for your key processes. This means establishing a structure to proceed with everything from what to do when an enquiry comes in, through to how you ensure the cash you make gets put in the bank. At the beginning, when you have plenty of time on your hands, it’s easy to make do without processes in place but as you get busier this will not do. Without protocols in place mistakes will happen and key requirements will be overlooked. You will find yourself suddenly overwhelmed and you will have to spend significant amounts of time doing mundane activities, like bookkeeping. By putting simple processes in place at the beginning (when it’s easy) you will save yourself loads of hassle later down the line.
  9. Take continual action. When you start your business your main focus has to be on your marketing and getting your message ‘out there’ as consistently and continually as possible. Too many businesses do a bit of marketing and stop because ‘it didn’t work’. Research has shown that people need to see your message multiple times before they will make a buying decision so short-lived marketing campaigns rarely work.
  10. The actions you take will govern the success of your business. Don’t put yourself in the position of regretting your lack of focused proactive effort a year down the line.