As entrepreneurs, you’ll always face challenges – it’s merely the nature of the job. Startups struggle for many reasons. Some even die, or never quite attain the degree of success they had hoped for. They may not have anticipated obstacles and may not even know how to respond to them
Here are some of the challenges that startups face:
The one thing that startups can’t afford to have is poor management. A team that worked well in the initial stages may find itself exposed as the startup expands, or may be tested by everything from poor sales or market conditions. Procrastinating won’t help. The issue needs to be tackled urgently before things get out of hand.
Lack of mentorship
You may have a great product or idea but lack the necessary guidance, market experience, and knowledge to move a step further. That’s where mentors come in handy. They have the wisdom and confidence to help you clear those roadblocks that are holding your startup back. Mentors can also help you to strategize better.
It is important to have somebody you can lean on when significant decisions have to be made.
No one ever said it was going to be easy, and despite your products or services being great, it’s a crowded marketplace. New rivals may have altered the playing pitch, so having the right strategy, or being able to think on your feet and adapt to the new reality will help you a great deal.
The competition is fierce, but if startups can find a niche market and differentiate themselves from their competitors, the reward is great.
Unwillingness to push yourself beyond the comfort zone
You as a founder or CEO may think you have all the answers, but do you really have what it takes to think and act outside your comfort zone? How much can you push yourself? Can you make a convincing pitch to potential investors when you need funding?
The ‘build it, and they will come’ approach doesn’t always work, so are you prepared to put in the hard yards to make your startup thrive?
Luckyyou, your products or services are experiencing phenomenal growth, but they are also causing you lots of headaches. It’s not just a question of adding a few extra employees; they must be in the right areas – perhaps administration, payroll, support, or even developers.
You may also need a larger office space, or you may need to set up offices in other cities or abroad. Such is the price of success. If you have a plan and the cash to fund all this, great. If not, then prepare for a painful process.
Hard to believe, but your cofounders may be part of the reason for your startup’s woes. They may have helped develop a great product, but lack the skills needed to help run the business. Startups may need new executives to spread the workload. Failure to recognize the problem may exacerbate your woes.
There’s never enough time. There are a million and one decisions to be made, so it’s better to start eliminating or minimizing distractions – anything that gets in the way of running your business. Prioritize decision making. Ask yourself what is essential and what can be postponed until the next day. Deal with the important things today.
Finding the right people
Certain skills are crucial not only for your business to survive, but also for it to grow. Knowing the exact skills needed and how to get those essential people may determine how well your startup thrives. Delays in finding the right personnel will not only eat up valuable time but also lead to severe bottlenecks, and perhaps delay the rollout of new products or services. These are delays no startup can afford.
You may also have hired the wrong people and their deficiencies may be more apparent as a startup grows, especially if they are in the wrong roles. This happens when a startup expands, and the cracks suddenly appear. However, finding the right people can also eat up valuable time that could be spent on other areas of the business
Lack of planning
It’s amazing how many startups falter because they forgot to plan. Or perhaps they did, but just never covered all the bases. Critical areas of sales, development, staffing, skills shortage and funding should be part of your business plan, and your plan should be flexible enough to cope if events take an expected turn.
Contingency planning is just as important as a proper business plan. If your plan is all optimism and fails to allow for surprises, then you might find yourself in big trouble. Get the details right now, no matter how small.
Neglecting marketing or sales
Some startup entrepreneurs encounter problems because they haven’t put enough resources into marketing and sales. Sometimes they ignore them completely and put their faith in word of mouth.
In a false economy, you put your faith in customers discovering you unless you make a concerted effort to grow them with a properly structured plan to promote your startup. It is money well spent.
Yes, you need money, and unless you’re remarkably lucky and the cash flows in straight away from sales or investors, you will be in trouble. Cash flow issues will hit you hard, either delaying the roll out of products, hiring key staff or fitting out new offices.
Money begets money. When income increases, the expenditures also increase. There is no doubt about it. It’s a fact that small startups rely heavily on financial backups from the so-called investors. At times, when there is a cash influx, startups tend to find it really hard to manage their finances because of consumer debts, and they get bogged down against the pressure of neglecting the factors that cause these consumer debts….so what are they?
Factors that cause consumer debt:
- Social and cultural factors and attitudes to spending
- A secure supply of credit and lending through enticing offers
- Cheap borrowing
- High levels of consumer confidence
The last thing a startup needs is to cut costs and shed staff, just when it needs to focus its energies elsewhere. But in case the worst happens, be sure to enroll to a good debt consolidation program on sites to get on your road back to solvency.
We live in rapidly changing times, especially for businesses. Challenges are everywhere, both in businesses in general, and startups in particular – they are not an exception to the myriad problems that business owners face today.