An entrepreneur specializing in social media marketing for small businesses, a corporate social responsibility advocate, and investor.
Entrepreneurship is a field unlike any other. One of the things that I learned early in my career as a self-employed business person is that, while every day presents new opportunities, there are new challenges to contend with as well.
It wasn’t until I really had a chance to put things into perspective that I realized that all (or most) of these challenges could be broken down into one of two categories: temporary or recurring. Let’s look at six recurring challenges that you’ll likely face as a business person and how you can overcome them.
Handling Investment Shortages
Contrary to what many may believe, being an entrepreneur isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes time to get your product or business off the ground and even longer to turn a profit. Indeed, it could take years of losses before you see your first profitable year. Since you could experience a cash crunch, in the beginning you’ll need to get creative about coming up with the funds. You could apply for a business loan, borrow money from friends or family, use your savings and money from a second job, or create a Kickstarter campaign.
I gained my first bit of startup money from a business owner who I decided to work for at no cost for three months. With the dedication, hard work and results that he saw I could provide, I had the opportunity to ask for a seed investment.
Just remember that the absence of ready cash should never stop you from achieving your business goals. Furthermore, given the many possibilities available as it relates to securing startup funds, you should be able to organize more cash than you bring to the table yourself.
Getting Resistance From the Competition
When you start your business, competitors in the field won’t be happy. They could easily decide to push you out of the market or look to impede your progress by developing similar products and services. Aggressive competition is a norm in the business world, and you’re going to need thick skin if you intend to survive.
Fortunately, the more you rile up the competition, the better the outlook for your business. Resistance from competitors simply means that you are being noticed. It also signals that your direct competition sees you as a threat. Being on the receiving end of competitor envy is a good sign. You should worry only if your competitors are ignoring you or, even worse, not noticing you at all. If they are worried about you, then at the very least your startup is on the right track.
Overcoming Unpredictability and Uncertainty
Being your own boss, setting your hours, and putting in work for your company’s benefit can be exhilarating. But unfortunately, at least in the beginning, it doesn’t come with a steady paycheck. Entering the unknown as an entrepreneur is a far cry from the predictability that comes with a day job. When you add this to the understandable apprehension about abandoning the accomplishments of your former career, it can be a source of anxiety.
It is important to stress the positive aspects of entrepreneurship when faced with this inevitable. Yes, you are abandoning the sure thing of a steady paycheck. But the eventual payoff for launching a successful business can be far greater than anything that you could ever receive from your day job.
Recruiting Your Dream Team
Having a trustworthy and dependable staff is half the battle for most entrepreneurs. From partners to full-time staff members and vendors, a solid team is the key to success. Recruit individuals you already know from your professional life and who you feel are dependable. You can also use these individuals for references for further staff members should you need them. After all, if you can trust an employee, then chances are you can trust their recommendations as well.
Dealing With The Unknown
Starting a business can be scary. Success is never guaranteed, and market shifts and other unknown factors are always lurking on the horizon. When faced with this uncertainty, keep in mind that the vision of your business still rings true. Try to stay close to your initial excitement at the prospect of starting the business. If you took the time to strategically plan the venture, you can step into the unknown with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have all your bases covered and the vision to see it through.
Accounting For Long Hours And Detailed Planning
Nights, weekends, holidays: You may have previously taken vacation days or paid time off for granted. But as an entrepreneur, you can no longer do so. I remember spending months pitching ideas to investors without any foreseeable success. Accept the notion that the success of your business depends on your persistence. Sitting around doing nothing will not help you accomplish your goals.
Creating the long-term plans needed to achieve your goals is different than simply identifying them. Jot your goals down on paper, then draw up a list of underlying tasks that you’ll need to accomplish to achieve your core objective. Once you have completed this objective, you will be in much better shape to turn your venture into a success.
Every entrepreneur faces such challenges along the road to a big vision. And for every one of us, those challenges will be different. Every success I have had in entrepreneurship originated from a previous project that didn’t work out. It is in this stage where you are prone to build new ideas. The knowledge that hard work leads to success allowed me to overcome those hurdles and forge ahead.