Thanks to the internet, it has become easier than ever for people to start their own business. Using e-commerce sites such as Shopify, or by creating their very own website using the web builders online, it is possible to set up a business within a matter of days, if not hours. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, of course. Challenges do await, and this applies to both the business newbie and the experienced entrepreneur. Thankfully, we are here to help. If you are thinking about starting a business, be that alone or with a team of others, we have some advice here to help you get over some of the challenges you will be facing.
Challenge #1: Finding funding
Some businesses can be started at a very low cost, while there are others where startup funding is indispensable. Considering the latter, we are thinking of the cost of equipment for starters, as well as any ongoing expenses to see the business through its early days before profits start to come in. However, it can be difficult to secure a startup loan or any kind of funding if you have no previous experience in business. You’re a risk, so you do need to show your credentials. We have some ideas for you here, giving you a fighting chance to help you secure the funding you need to get your business started. You should also have a business plan to hand; something to show your investors that you do (and we are sorry for the obvious pun) mean business.
Challenge #2: Surviving in the early days
It can take up to a year before profits start coming in, so you need to be prepared for the long haul. If you’re working alone and have a day job to fall back on, then this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. On the other hand, if this is a full-time proposition, and you are reliant on paying wages to others as well as to yourself, then cutbacks need to be made. You may need to let some of your team go, taking on some of their responsibilities yourself or delegating to others. On the other hand, you may need to schedule their time better, while optimizing labor costs with GetSling. There should be more of a reliance on second-hand equipment, rather than buying everything brand new. You may be able to purchase what you need for your business from wholesalers, buying in bulk which may provide you with a discount. You should also compare prices with your utility companies, whether you’re working from home or from a rented office space, saving money on those dreaded energy bills.
Challenge #3: Feelings of anxiety
Push aside those what-if questions (image)
Especially when giving up a full-time job to start out on your own, the anxiety you feel is perfectly natural. Those what if questions will formulate in your mind, buzzing around like some nuisance fly. What if my business fails? What if I don’t have what it takes? How do I manage my taxes? Help!!! Fears and worries are normal, but they can be alleviated. Provided you have a solid business plan, and the budgeting to match, you have a fighting chance of making things work. Taking a course in business management will serve you well, as will reading a few books or online articles for advice. An accountant can help you manage your taxes, and there are all kinds of other professionals who may lend a hand (for a fee) if you need any extra help. Hopefully, you will start seeing success, so don’t let your anxious feelings govern your mind, and don’t let them cause you to quit at the first hurdle. Starting and running a business isn’t easy, but it does get easier with experience.
Challenge #4: Facing the competition
The business world is cutthroat, and it’s unlikely your startup will be completely original. There will be competition, be that from smaller businesses such as your own, or those online giants that seem to rule the world these days, including Amazon and eBay. To survive, you need to face up to the competition and better them. By doing your research, you can get an idea of their business model, and make efforts to counter the threat. This includes upping your marketing strategy, ensuring the world hears about what you have to offer. You can do this cheaply, so don’t worry if you don’t have a huge marketing budget to play with. You should also consider your pricing, finding ways to undercut your rivals. You may be able to offer something they don’t, such as better shipping policies, better deals, discounts to regular customers, and more. To be in it for the long haul, you need a plan of attack, pushing yourself out there before the competition leaves you standing in their dust.
Challenge #5: Security issues
This is something relevant to every business, with cybercriminals and malware making light work sabotaging even the largest of businesses. This is something you ignore at your peril, so at the outset of your startup, you need to seal your defences to protect you. This naturally includes installing firewalls and anti-virus software onto your computer system. You should also consider keeping your website on an offsite server room, with 24/7 support to counter any threats. Then remember the employees you hire. While hopefully trustworthy, you need to ensure your systems are passworded so they aren’t tempted to access your system for nefarious gains. There should also be training in place to enforce good security practices amongst your team. Your business records and customer data are at threat if you don’t focus on security measures, and your business may fall if you fail to take any precautions.
Who said running a business was easy? Nobody, that’s who, no matter how relaxed Mark Zuckerberg always seems to be in interviews! It’s hard, but despite the challenges facing you, they can be overcome. Follow our advice, and commit to research to ensure your business has a stronger chance of staying open. We wish you every success.