Entrepreneurship has grown significantly in the US in recent years. Starting a business has been associated with being successful, as most successful people in America have businesses. However, this does not mean that businesses are for everyone, as there are many challenges that emerge in the first years of starting them. In this series of interviews, we ask entrepreneurs the most significant challenge they faced in the initial years of their business. Here’s what they had to say:
Title: Technical Manager
Company: Electric Scooter Guide
Establishing a good name.
Some business entrepreneurs begin in industries that are well-known, respected, and admired. Others must wear rubber boots and slog through the muck. For a long period, I worked in the moving industry. However, there was always a stigma attached. We must contend with the customer’s view that we are attempting to defraud them and that we are uninterested in their belongings. The most difficult thing I had to do was change that perception and establish a favorable reputation. Where people’s moving day was the best day of their lives. To do so, I had to put more money into my staff and work longer hours than everyone else. I had to go out of my way to show that I was genuinely concerned. It did, however, work.
We faced a lot of lack of confidence in our first year in the company. It’s easy to fall victim to self-doubt because of your own fears, criticism from others, or a lack of support from friends and family. You could be unsure if you’ll be able to succeed. These emotions might also arise if your target audience does not engage as passionately as you expected or if external factors stifle your company’s growth.
It’s critical that you dig deep and focus on your accomplishments to overcome a lack of self-confidence. Make a list of your accomplishments; this will help you see how much you’ve already accomplished and the obstacles you’ve conquered. It may also be beneficial to seek the advice of a business coach or mentor to help you overcome this mental barrier.
Company: Inyouths LED Mirrors
For many entrepreneurs, establishing a business is a tremendous accomplishment, but maintaining it is the greater task. There are numerous challenges that every firm, regardless of size, must overcome. These include recruiting the proper personnel, establishing a brand, and gaining customers. However, some of these issues are particular to small businesses and are ones that large corporations have long since outgrown.
As for my own experience, the greatest obstacle I had in establishing my business was a lack of expertise and experience. Inevitably, you will reach a point in the learning curve where you feel completely lost. Maybe you do not know how to build a new product or create an effective marketing strategy. Perhaps you lack experience with budgeting, negotiating, recruiting, and balancing the books. You may feel lost, but you’re actually just at the beginning of the process.
Spend some time learning how to accomplish things you’ve never done before. Instead than reinventing the wheel, consider what others have accomplished.
Title: CEO and Founder
Expectations that are unrealistic.
Success does not happen by itself. I believe it comes with it a set of expectations. Most of the time, these expectations appear practical, but they are only unrealistic in the true sense of the word. For nascent startups, the same principle applies. In my past experience startups frequently experience difficulties when they set “unrealistic expectations” during a period of rapid growth. Remember that success is fleeting and that expectations are endless. This is the point at which startups must translate what the true expectations are. The name of the game is sustainability. And long-term success necessitates regular efforts. Startups must have high but managed expectations in order to flourish in a competitive business world, taking in mind the resources available, the level of growth potential, and other market conditions.
Title: Chief Creative Director
Company: CJ Content
We launched our business this year and for us, our biggest challenges have been scalability.
We found that we were getting work faster than we were hiring. Originally, we had been pretty conservative in the people we hired, really only bringing on team members who had extensive experience in our industry.
What we ended up doing to get ourselves up to speed was to take time out to create an extensive training program. The training allowed us to bring on people who were newer to the space, and actually ended up being better in the long run since the team members we brought on were more coachable.
Ultimately, this has helped us keep up with an influx of work that’s constantly growing.
Company: Big Easy Roofing
When I started my roofing business, the biggest challenge I faced was acquiring my first customers. Obviously, we were not the first roofing company to serve the New Orleans market. When we started, we found ourselves in competition against entrenched businesses, many of which have been part of the city’s history for many decades. As a new entrant to the game, it was very hard to earn the trust of homeowners, especially because we didn’t have the kind of social proof that those older contractors had. During our first years, we really had to make do with a trickle of customers. That experience taught us to value every single client we have, and try our best to give them the best experience they can have with a roofing contractor. That ultimately paid off as those satisfied clients eventually gave us a lot of referrals that lifted our business to the next level.
The biggest challenge that came with the first years of building my business was learning how to fail forward. As an entrepreneur, you have to prepare mentally and know going in that it will be much harder than you think. You have to remember that when you feel like it’s time to panic, choose to pivot. Your greatest rule of thumb is that optimism is not optional, and that you have to get used to failing forward from day one.
Title: Co Owner
Company: My Supplement Store
The toughest part about starting up our business was differentiating ourselves from all the other retailers selling the same products as well. In order to do so, we joined groups and forums to find out what questions people had about purchasing supplements online and what needs were not being met. This took months to gather enough information. Throughout the process, we started building in these questions onto our product pages, into guides and video tutorials. These were all things that our competitors were implementing. Now customers come to us because they can get the answers they need and the products they want. Even when we are not the cheapest, they still buy from us, which is great and has made us one of the most successful supplement companies online.
Disruption creates space for entrepreneurs—and that’s what is happening. Crisis typically spark a wave of innovation, and the COVID-19 pandemic has proved no different. There is a veritable flood of new small businesses. The businesses that thrived were those that were able to react quickly to the changed environment.
Although businesses have always had to think about how the market is changing and what that means for their product or service, business model innovation will be more important in 2022-23 than ever before. The key to success this financial year will be refining the strategies that allow your business to continue generating revenue even when consumers cannot physically visit your business, or engage your services.
The biggest challenge I faced in the first years of building my business was in maintaining a work-life balance. As a seasoned entrepreneur, I faced many difficulties in maintaining a work-life balance. When I just started my business, I had no employees yet. I was faced with all the responsibilities and demands from my business. I always found myself on the computer throughout the day and spent another few hours at night trying to get a few more things off my plate. I suddenly found myself manic about business-related tasks and work that I was found wanting in other areas of my life. I barely had the time to spend with family and friends, exercise, or even sleep.
There is one factor that made overcoming the challenge of finding a work-life balance very difficult in my first year of business, and that was because I did not have the necessary funds to employ and outsource most of my business tasks at that time. Then when I finally did, finding the right talents was another big challenge.
Starting a brand new business has many benefits. Making something you love and getting customers to shop for the publication or agency you’ve created is incredibly satisfying. Building links and giving information to others can be another big rush. The following issues are part of the problems faced in the first years:
Understanding business demand: Understanding the market demand in our issue is an essential part of our business plan. Understanding our business demand is a huge challenge, and this is difficult to overcome. Without enough organized people to solve the problem or agency, our startup will not succeed, much less how awesome your idea is.
Inappropriate promotion: It can be obvious that finally giving today’s examples and cashing in on promotional techniques causes us to slow down more than we have prepared for quickly.
Getting grants: One of the challenges is to earn grants, but fundraising is the endeavor, and of course, it is difficult to figure out where to monetize our business.
Sign up with quality people: The people we sign up as salespeople influence the success of our startup. The bad delegate quickly ruins relevance and efficiency. Limiting to completing one person and having the wrong person for your start can be particularly risky.
Despite all of the benefits, establishing a business is not without its difficulties. These impediments might look greater than they are, and they can hinder us from fully pursuing an idea. Here are a few of the most critical issues I encountered when I initially began my business:
Funding: For me, one of the most challenging components of starting a business was determining how to fund it. Not every company needs a large initial investment, but I needed to be confident that I would be able to sustain the business in the long run.
Ineffective marketing- I became enamored with the latest marketing fads and overspent on marketing tactics that eventually cost me more than the sales I achieved.
Productivity and time management: Being able to efficiently manage my time was crucial while I was establishing a business. It was easy for me to become sidetracked and focus on the wrong things since I had to wear so many hats.
Health Consequences: Running my own business was not like having a 9-to-5 job. As a result of the extra work I had to put in to make this goal of mine a reality, I began to experience health issues. As a result, there were several hospital visits.
Company: Gig Wealthy
Hi, my name is Aaron Clarke, founder, and owner of GIG Wealthy, a platform for small business owners and investors to learn about the strategies high net worth individuals use to create lasting wealth.
The hardest challenge I have faced so far is that after about 7-8 months I found out that I do not have the ability to use a certain name for my company! I started my company and a few days later, unknown to me, someone else filed a registration for the trademark using the name which required a huge pivot.
The difficulty was that the person who owned the trademark wasn’t actually using it in public, only internally with her clients. So she had total right to want to keep it and I was trying to negotiate with her and it wasn’t going well at all. So since my specialty is as a private wealth adviser to high net worth individuals I had to involve a business attorney, and my web team to rebuild the whole website, and restructure the entities.
Though hard to overcome I think it provided a unique opportunity to improve the brand drastically and provided a lesson in the necessity to pivot when things aren’t always going as planned.
Title: Owner and Founder
Company: High Country Offroad
The biggest challenge was to get the word out there about my business and get people aware of my products. I’m operating in a niche market with very little to no traffic, and I didn’t have any connections to help me market. If a business has a great product or service, but no one knows about it, then it doesn’t exist. I had to figure out how to build my business brand and what make it stand out from the rest of the crowd. It was challenging to find a solution because there is no defined formula for success. I’m managing to do so by attending events, visiting websites and social media channels, investing in digital marketing, and meeting people face-to-face and word of mouth.
Title: Chief Product Manager
The biggest challenge I faced in the first years of building my business was finding the right people to work with. I had a hard time finding people who shared my vision and who were willing to work hard to make the business a success. I also had a hard time keeping people motivated and on track. I overcame this challenge by being very clear about my vision for the business and by finding people who were passionate about the same things I was. I also made sure to communicate regularly with my team and to give them the support they needed to stay motivated.
Title: Founder and Network Security Engineer
Company: Networks Hardware
Networking as an Introvert
One of the crucial skills necessary to be an entrepreneur is to have the ability to network. While I was a great student and I did my research properly, being an introvert can be a big obstacle in this world. I didn’t feel comfortable attending the networking events and no amount of research or funding can really help in this situation. It’s not like there is a switch you can use to turn off this part of yourself. This is a skill that’s not just necessary to find a partner or to collect funding, but also to find the right team members when you are expanding your business. Networking is also not just about knowing people, you do have to make an active effort to form a real bond.
I was running a one-man show at the beginning which made it even more difficult for me to overcome this issue. Fortunately, as I was doing my research, I started joining online communities while also talking to my friends from school and university. It can take a while to get there regardless of your networking skills but you need to be confident.
Title: Founder & Head Of Design
Company: Adam Fard’ UX Agency
Identifying Customer Demand
The most difficult aspect of starting our first firm was determining consumer demand. Define the problem, conduct multiple market surveys, combine the results of both primary and secondary data, and finally seize the opportunity were the proper measures to do. It’s simple: if you can’t prove that your product is needed through genuine data, it won’t reach the correct customers.
Gaining Customers’ Trust
The customer is king. And you’re totally correct. One of the most difficult issues that businesses in general – and startups in particular – confront today is gaining a customer’s trust. Startups can scale and move toward greatness if they have a satisfied and devoted consumer base. Customers are the driving factor behind the success of a startup. Their social media presence and word-of-mouth influence can provide Internet companies an advantage over traditional firms. Startups must strive aggressively to apply a customer-centric working philosophy to acquire consumers’ trust and loyalty, allowing them to thrive in their pursuit of the heights of sustainable growth and progress they desire in this tech-savvy and tough business world. This leads us to the conclusion of this blog. It is a fact that there is no one-stop solution to the issues that entrepreneurs face in this day and age. You don’t have a magic wand to help you answer the so-called obstacles in an instant, either. Startups must be resilient and focused on maintaining their integrity in the face of all difficulties in order to fight and tackle the so-called challenges of a violent business world. I’ve only touched on seven of the most pressing issues confronting today’s businesses.
Title: eCommerce Strategy Lead
Company: Code Signing Store
Having a Capital Financing Plan is essential.
Many aspects go into creating a fair and implementable business plan, including the management team, market analysis, competition, competitive differentiation, and product development strategy. However, the most important aspect to consider is your capital financing strategy. Ensure that the finance, scheduling, and source of cash are all in line with the plan’s requirements.
Making Partnership Decisions
The key to success is collaboration. This principle applies to both startups and established businesses. Startups are finding it challenging to find trustworthy partners in this ever-expanding and ever-changing digital environment, where enterprises must fight for existence. Today’s entrepreneurs face a significant challenge. And, in the case of IT firms, the stakes in a partnership are considerably larger. For startups, forming a partnership pays off handsomely, but they must evaluate a number of aspects before deciding to collaborate with another company in the same ecosystem. Startup businesses should seek out organizations with a strong market presence and a high reputation among industry giants if they want to get the most out of a collaboration.
In my experience, it is pretty hard to find the right people to work with you. But it is not impossible either. You need to be wise and diligent when choosing people who are eligible and hardworking. If you don’t have employees in your business who can contribute their best, then you alone won’t be able to reach the goal you have set. Having the right people in your business is a real challenge. You will overcome this if you have great leadership and planning skills. It is your business and you are the leader and you need such skills to grow your business.
Company: Joy Organics
When I have so much to say, one of my major concerns has been “how to keep it short and simple.” The more succinct and concentrated your plan is, the more likely you are to reach your objectives. Furthermore, having a realistic set of goals that are in line with your strategy is essential! –
Getting Over Your Fear
Fear appears to be the greatest challenge for most people establishing their first business. They have everything planned out, they see the ideal market, but they lack experience. As a result, people frequently listen to friends and family members who do not own a business and are aware of the risks involved. They get cold feet after that! Just go for it if you’re 70 percent sure. It’ll never be perfect, and by then, it’ll typically be too late.
Title: Chief Marketing Officer
Creating a Foundation
Getting my concept “on paper” was the most difficult difficulty I faced in my first business. I had so many brilliant ideas! So I created an outline based on my “rule of three”: three fundamental company description points, three reasons why it was different, and three core reasons why it made sense to go into the firm or invest. List three supporting justifications for each of those reasons, and so on.
Selecting Right Candidates
The synergy of the team is one of the most essential components that determine organizational culture in a startup. A team is made up of people who have comparable skills and a similar focus. Organizations in general, and startups in particular, must select suitable personnel in order to build a highly effective team culture. There is a large number of people who want to work in this field. Finding a suitable applicant who is a good fit for the job is a difficult process. It is one of the most significant issues that startups face in the digital age. One golden rule to remember when selecting a suitable candidate is that birds of a feather flock together.
Title: Founder & Hair Wigs Designer
The biggest challenges I have faced in the first years of building my business.
Managing your time.
You are not alone if you have ever felt that time was passing you by. Our poll respondents ranked time management as the third most difficult aspect of starting a small business (at 24 percent). Numerous distractions exist, including SMS, phone calls, and text messages, as well as hectic meeting schedules and last-minute deadlines. Not to add that many entrepreneurs wind up performing a variety of tasks. It is hardly surprising that time is an issue.
The hiring process may be a nightmare for the majority of startups. Sometimes, after completing all recruitment stages such as evaluating resumes and conducting interviews, they hire an inept candidate.
Executing administrative tasks.
Bookkeeping and payroll may not be your favorite tasks, but you must make time for them if you want to retain your talented personnel. 24 percent of small business survey respondents described administrative work as a significant obstacle to their daily operations.
Title: SEO Specialist at UNAGI Scooters
Company: UNAGI Scooters
We had a problem with not accounting for market shifts, particularly in terms of customer mood. When developing technology, it is necessary to be adaptable and versatile in order to meet the expectations of customers. We were able to make on-the-fly adjustments to deal with the ever-changing landscape because of the staff we had.
Cybersecurity is important.
The digital era has arrived. And, in order to survive the challenges of this era, small businesses – particularly those that operate online – must be extremely adaptable in order to combat so-called online security threats. Hackers are omnipresent, and they’ll take advantage of any flaw in a startup’s security mechanisms. In the last few years, the number of cybercrimes has risen considerably. In the following years, the percentage is also expected to rise. Online-active startups are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Unauthorized access to sensitive startup information, personnel data, bank account information, or any other related information deemed critical to a digital startup’s survival puts them in danger. Startups must have powerful and military-grade security mechanisms in place to protect any essential online data. A virtual private network (VPN) connection protects a startup’s data and employee records by providing much-needed encryption and data security to the company’s employees, limiting illegal access to organizational data via the internet.