Business experts across the globe have hailed 2016 as the year of the entrepreneur. In today’s world, it is becoming possible for people to turn their passions into businesses. But many who choose this path have little or no formal business training. Even those with business training encounter obstacles when trying to apply their knowledge to emerging ventures. Here are several challenges that startups frequently face, and how to overcome them.
1. Stunted Growth
All startups must undergo the sometimes grueling process of growing their customer base. Needless to say, no matter how great a product seems, it is useless if no one is around to buy it. It can be difficult for small, new companies to make themselves stand out from larger and more established organizations.
The best way to grow your customer base is to reach out to your community. At this point, your company’s small size is an advantage because it allows you to foster stronger relationships. Make a name for your company by using promotional events and marketing to make real connections with your desired client base.
2. Weak Teams
Choosing who to employ can be difficult. It may be tempting to simply hire anyone who roughly fits the specifications so you can quickly move forward. But, this is not good practice. Your team members must be passionate enough about your vision to work hard through the difficult and less prosperous times. They must also have the talent and abilities to help pull your company through those times.
Recognize how important the players are to your startup, and accept that you will need to dedicate time to building the team. To find passionate people, participate in development workshops in your area. To find talented people, have your potential hires demonstrate their skills during the interview process.
3. Behind the Market
The market changes rapidly as technology advances. New needs are created while old ones diminish or change. Startups need to stay informed of these changes and incorporate them into their business strategies. But, this is easier said than done.
Fortunately, there are resources available to address this, including websites created by Worldwide Express founder David Kiger. The unique thing about David Kiger is his willingness to share his success to create a community of other successful entrepreneurs. He has created platforms where people can keep track of market changes and learn ways to implement these changes into their plans. These websites also provide additional information about management, marketing, and other business concerns.
Many people who are attempting to start new companies already have day jobs, families, and other obligations. There is a prevailing notion that working nonstop will inevitably cause you to see results faster. In reality, never taking the time to rest could cause you to burn out, quenching the spark that makes your ideas special.
To keep the flame alive, include breaks and relaxation time in your schedule. Even ten minutes with a good book each night can help you recharge. Furthermore, stepping away from a problem for a little while often creates a fresh perspective upon your return.
5. Poor Planning
If your business plans are not specific enough, then you will soon be in trouble. You need a concrete roadmap to accomplish your goals, and your potential investors need to know that your plans are well-thought-out before they commit to you.
Include milestones in your business plan to give investors an idea of when they will see returns on their investments. Set these milestones using real data, not just wishful thinking. You need to be realistic and honest with yourself about when you can expect to make progress.
6. Product Issues
Not only does your product have to work, but it also has to fill needs. Many startups have worked hard to bring their vision to fruition, only to discover that they have created a product that no one is going to buy.
To combat this unpleasant outcome, make sure you are in touch with your market throughout the development process. There are a number of ways you can do this. You can use focus groups to test prototypes. You can attend conferences patronized by your client base. You can also ask any current customers you might have for feedback. You will not be able to follow every single suggestion, but the important thing is to listen to the overwhelming message and for the ones that speak to you.
7. Success Requires Passion and Proficiency
Most startups are driven by passion, but many are defeated by the technical details of creating and running a business. Taking control of your dreams is undeniably the greatest part of starting a company, but to be truly successful you must also take care of the nuts and bolts. Being aware of potential challenges before you get started and arming yourself with strategies to overcome them is an essential part of your company’s ultimate success.
Do you have any tips for startups that we have missed? Let us know in the comments section...