Many people have a clear picture of what success would look like when starting a business. They can see how they would enjoy it and what they would do with it. Some even go as far as imagining themselves on a podium giving a talk as a successful entrepreneur. This picture of success contributes to the motivation and excitement of starting a new business. And that is a good thing.
However, we get carried away by the euphoria that we do not see and accept the reality of challenges and what these challenges can do to us and our business. I mean, you know that challenges will come, but at this point, it is just head-knowledge. You have not accepted or prepared for it. But you have a plan of how to live your success.
I think you need a break from the dreamland. Challenges are real, and they can be very hard. They are also unavoidable, but they can be managed, well managed, especially when expected. To help you have a balanced picture, here are five areas you are likely to face challenges. And you better prepare well for them.
Businesses don’t struggle with funding after they have started; the struggle is with sufficient funding. The ones with funding problems remain as a business plan. You would think you have enough until you start and get stuck. But this doesn’t have to be the end.
Get a loan if you can, and only if you can afford to pay it back, considering your current cash flow. You can also get new investors or take on a partner. There is the option of picking up an extra job or doing an independent project to raise money. If you still cannot get the money, pause the project for when you can.
These are not decisions made in the spur of the moment. They can drain you, and that is why you have to prepare for them. Dealing with a financial crisis is way more frustrating than any article can ever explain. Be prepared.
Quality and Pricing
When starting, you would likely be following the textbook advice of offering quality at an affordable price. But you will soon realise that quality and the so-called affordable price don’t always go together. The definition of affordable for business owners is different from that of consumers.
Customers want quality, but at the lowest price they can get. And there is always a competition willing to offer them that price. Assess the market, understand what is obtainable - what has come to become the standard, and let it guide your decisions.
Government Policies and Regulations
You would think you can endure anything until it comes to government policies and regulations. You launch a product or invest today, and here comes a policy restricting that activity or banning it the next day. It is legal one day and illegal the next.
No business is consulted before this happens, and yours will not be an exception. Be sure you are up to date on all policies and regulations guiding your industry, and get innovative when it doesn’t favour your business.
Humans are one of the biggest and most constant problems you will have. As your business grows and your team expands, you will have people who think and behave differently on the team. Some will even try to harm the company deliberately. Not everyone will be like you and share your vision. Some only want a job that puts food on their table. So you will have issues with the commitment and actions of these people. Preparing for this challenge would include taking a leadership course, sharpening your people skills, getting someone to manage the increasing staff body, and very importantly, paying attention during recruitment.
It is good that you are not starting with the intention to fail. That is a commendable mindset. But it is also beneficial to prepare to face challenges. That could mean getting an extra hand, doing a little more market research, stocking more or less, getting more suppliers, and the list goes on. The truth is, you cannot be too careful, and even after all that, have it in mind that you are to keep going even in the storm.