The following is a guest post by Tiffany Rowe. Tiffany is a Marketing Administrator at Seek Visibility, where she assists clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web.
When you decide to become an entrepreneur, you know that the path ahead isn’t easy. Business is nearly synonymous with risk, and achieving stability and success takes an extraordinary amount of time and effort. Still, with the help of mentors and helpful entrepreneurs on the internet, you can get a good picture of the biggest challenges you will face when starting your startup, to wit: finding funding, team building, attracting customers, and managing cash flow. If your business plan addresses these issues well, you should be on the road to small-business growth.
However, a business can trip over more than just major obstacles. Sometimes, the small snags can rip and tear a business apart. In the interest of preparing for every problem in your startup’s future, you should know about these less pressing difficulties you don’t often hear about.
You need to rent business space. You need to pay your employees. You need to buy products, and soon, you’ll probably pay for marketing opportunities. If you’re a smart entrepreneur, you’ll be diligent about researching costs and planning for them with pricing. Yet, even the most meticulous budgeter will encounter unforeseen expenses that throw off margin estimates and endanger the business. Therefore, you must be flexible with your budgeting and allow your startup some wiggle room – or else shatter at the first surprise emergency you experience.
If your startup starts with just you, a computer, and a dozen responsibilities, you will quickly get your logistics down to a T. However, once you add your first few employees, you should expect those logistic processes to begin to vary. As an entrepreneur, you simply don’t have time to write guides for completing each necessary task, and you have even less time to enforce your methods on employees who can be just as effective with their approaches.
Still, you should strive for consistency. A startup won’t be hindered much by informal varied processes, but a big business can slow considerably thanks to inefficient functioning. From the beginning, you should use tools to regulate methods and ensure efficiency, such as inventory management software for more accurate stock tracking and project management software to keep everyone on task.
You might strive to look for the best in everyone – but some people just look for the biggest dollar-signs. At some point in your startup journey, someone will try to take advantage of you. Your customers might abuse your return policy; your business clients might refuse to pay invoices; your employees or competitors might take you to court to squeeze pennies from your pockets. You should be aware of common scams, even after your startup has grown into an SMB. Additionally, you should be aware of potential fraud you might be committing and change your actions as soon as you recognize unlawful behavior.
Startups demand long hours, working weekends, financial stress, and more. If you aren’t working hard to see your startup succeed, you’ll probably experience total failure soon. Still, plenty of entrepreneurs are aware of the trials and tribulations before their startup starts, yet logical preparation does nothing to mitigate the impact when the stress actually hits.
The key to overcoming these psychological obstacles is motivation. You must find a way to keep you and your employees engaged and eager. As the leader, it’s your job to keep motivation alive – and there aren’t any shortcuts or secrets to true motivation.
Your startup is your baby; there will come a time when you must relinquish some control over your budding business, and then you will relinquish more. Every time you hire a new employee, you are entrusting your business in someone else’s hands, and many entrepreneurs are utterly unwilling to give others such responsibility. However, by refusing to delegate, you are ensuring your business’s downfall. Because you will only accept greater tasks in the future, you must give your subordinates the smaller, day-to-day duties you can no longer handle.
As a startup entrepreneur, you are an incredibly important person who makes incredibly important decisions. You will command respect and admiration – but likely, you will feel incredibly alone. Your startup will eat up much of your personal time, preventing you from receiving the social fulfillment most humans crave, and your position as company leader precludes you from speaking comfortably and forthrightly to anyone at your business.
The solution here is assuring social contact in one way or another. You might need to schedule one complete startup-free day every week to spend with your family and friends. You might even need to seek professional help through a therapist or psychiatrist. Whatever you do, you can’t let loneliness eat away at your startup dreams.