Seven Ways How Entrepreneurs Can Tackle Initial Challenges While Setting Up Their Start-ups
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Contrary to popular perception, being in the shoes of a start-up founder or owner is far from “glamorous” in today’s hyper-competitive landscape. Frankly speaking, the challenges that come up in the early days of the establishment of his/her start-up can be quite daunting for entrepreneurs.
When you decide to roll-out your idea and begin operations, it is just the first step. Unfortunately, your new business might not have any customers, brand value, contacts, income, and not even business cards! It may seem like an uphill task to generate profit, managing people and money, positioning yourself apart from competitors, and so on.
While it is true that every new business and individual would face one-of-its-kind difficulties while embarking on their start-up journey, the key is in identifying them and working towards overcoming these initial obstacles.
1. Stepping Out of One’s Comfort Zone
It takes a lot of grit and determination to develop and grow your start-up from scratch. You need to view your business as your baby and take complete responsibility towards its well-being. To achieve this, it becomes imperative to move out of your comfort zone, be ready to face the hurdles head-on and do whatever it takes to get things done.
As a matter of fact, in the early stage of your start-up, you may need to don multiple hats (multi-task and take responsibilities for HR, accounting, and other aspects of managing your start-up), given the lack of resources. The ultimate mantra here is to believe in yourself, rise above self-doubt, learn from your mistakes, adapt constantly to thrive, and most importantly, never give up.
2. Planning To Succeed
“If you fail to plan, then you are planning to fail.” This age-old saying holds extreme importance for your start-up journey; just like every other business, planning is more than a necessity for start-up owners to taste success.
In the first six months or one year, your business plan should cover key functionalities like product/resource development, growing sales, financing, innovation and skill development, funding, etc. Breaking down your roadmap into short-term and long-term objectives, and taking timely steps in accordance, will help you remain focused and passionate as an entrepreneur. Additionally, contingency planning is another aspect that needs to be taken care of.
3. Ensuring Capital Inflow and Generating Revenue
In the early days of your start-up, capital may be required to develop a product, create hardware or software, or hire a workspace. One of the easiest and most common ways to ensure adequate capital inflow in the initial days is to approach investors/venture capitalists. However, not every start-up is lucky enough to secure huge funding from investors, especially in its nascent stage. So, it is important to have a backup plan (such as starting an online fundraising campaign or applying for a small business grant).
Generating consistent revenue is another area start-ups need to lay focus on from early on. The best way to do it is to be at the helm of the sales function and adapt a three-point formula—know the funnel properly, embrace data-driven decisions to accelerate sales, and keep expanding and building a loyal customer base.
4. Finding the Right People/Team
Building a strong team is one of the most significant factors to attain triumph in the start-up ecosystem. Even though building a team can be somewhat expensive, it is worth investing in to achieve desired outcomes in the long run.
Although hiring a suitable team member for your start-up can be tricky terrain, you only need to trust your gut when it comes to taking people on board. Set the goals and expectations clear for the prospective candidate from the beginning, and create an inclusive culture for every employee. Once you have hired the right talent, delegate responsibilities to them (instead of keeping every crucial task to yourself).
5. Differentiating Yourself from the Competition
If you need an opportunity at winning the consideration of potential customers, you have to separate yourself from competitors in your domain. In such a scenario, what is the single most important factor that will set you apart? The answer is—innovation.
Remember, to remain aggressive in the modern business arena, you need to constantly upgrade your skills and think, develop and implement new ideas regularly. When it comes to innovation, try to bring to fore on technology and tech-oriented solutions for customers. If you can do it in-house, nothing like it, otherwise outsource.
6. Building Your Network & Finding Mentorship
“Your network is what determines your net worth”. To scale up, consistent networking shall play a prolific role. Whenever you attend a conference or event, carry your business cards, brochures, et al. Also, in the present era, online networking through LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. can be a great tool for marketing your start-up. Start-up founders should remember that when you are doing something disruptive, it is essential to inspire others and create a network of like-minded, positive people.
Also, it is as important to find the right mentor(s) for your business. As an entrepreneur, you are bound to make mistakes. However, having a mentor by your side (who has been there and done that) can help a lot to avoid unnecessary, destructive pitfalls. Even if you do not find a previously successful entrepreneur to guide you personally through the ups and downs, no one can stop you to seek wisdom from online articles, podcasts, books, etc.
7. Delivering Quality vs. Business Development: Balancing It Right
As business owners, we often tend to be worried about rapidly getting customers on board. However, in the hustle of chasing new customers or securing funding, never do injustice to your existing customers. Always maintain an appropriate balance between delivering optimal results to your present customers and acquiring new ones for developing your revenues further.