An entrepreneur is someone who manages, organizes, and assumes the risks of starting a new enterprise or business out of an idea, regardless of their age. These are individuals who have little to no knowledge of how to build a product or find a market for it, generate a customer base and start selling. Needless to say, each of the domains mentioned here requires skill and expertise for a successful business to be built.
To be an entrepreneur means to be an individual who takes on challenges. It is synonymous. It also means to be someone who is a problem solver. Someone who knows what lies ahead is only half the battle. Below given is a list of the major difficulties faced by entrepreneurs at different stages.
Fundraising is the first major hurdle that an entrepreneur needs to overcome. It is one of the biggest challenges as finding an investor is easier said than done. Raising funds is not just about asking for money from potential investors. It is an extremely tedious job to come up with a pitch that will make investors believe in the potential of their idea. It is also vital to master the art of storytelling when it comes to fundraising.
Raising a round of funds can take anywhere between 6 and 12 months. Even the best startups have faced several rejections before securing funding.
There’s a history of entrepreneurs going broke as they end up taking debt in the form of funds and are unable to meet their anticipated sales target.
The next major roadblock is developing a product out of an idea. When it comes to product creation and development, technology plays a critical role. Typically, entrepreneurs have an idea and vision of a product, but they’re unaware of the technological expertise needed to build the product. A lot of times, entrepreneurs fail to acquaint themselves with the relevant technology.
There are quite a few instances where entrepreneurs managed to raise a lot of funds but did not have any knowledge regarding the technology that is required to develop a product that would work like a magnet to attract customers.
Marketing and Sales
One could have developed the best product in the world, but if the product has been advertised in the wrong market, it’ll never be successful. Finding the relevant demographic target place for a product and creating a loyal customer base is a complicated and integral part of an entrepreneur’s work.
To make sure that the product sells and reaches the right customers, in-depth market research and assessment of product competition are crucial. Additionally, ground-level sales work is known to offer positive results. Once the groundwork is done, it is time to introduce the product and then, an experienced and proficient network of marketing and sales professionals should be in place to take it forward.
There are so many different products hitting the market that entrepreneurs find it difficult to keep up with the changing market needs and rate of growth. This is why it is crucial to always bring forth one’s A-game where marketing and sales are concerned.
Building a Team
Gathering the right team for the job is a tricky, yet important part of building a business. The biggest challenge here is finding employees who would be willing to work with you while keeping your hiring costs low. The next challenge is building a team that can work really well together. So, this process is actually more than just finding people with the right skillset. It is about hiring enthusiastic people who are flexible and bring a vast array of perspectives and ideas to the table.
Delegation of Tasks
Delegating or outsourcing tasks is another major difficulty that entrepreneurs face. It seems that most of the time, something or the other gets messed and the entire task has to be redone. This leads to delays and failure to meet deadlines. Successful task delegation comprises providing the authority and resources to enact specific tasks and also finding the right team of employees or outsourcing partners. It’s a bit of a trial and error process.
Some people are naturally indecisive, but even those who are not saved from having to make some truly painful and difficult decisions when running a business. It’s never easy to make business decisions, regardless of one’s leadership skills. Some entrepreneurs consider themselves to be leaders and they make all the decisions themselves. They don’t consult with anybody or have a team to help make all the vital decisions. While others believe in being a team player and discussing with the entire team to listen to their vital inputs. That being said, there are times when businesses actually work out better if one person is making all the decisions, rather than having a committee. But, this works only if the entrepreneur can understand the weight of the decisions and is prepared to be blamed in case of failure.
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to decision-making and one has to decide whether to be a solo leader or a team player.
When starting with a new business venture, time management is one of the biggest difficulties faced by entrepreneurs. As newcomers, they take up multiple roles and don as many hats as possible. They have to accomplish so much in a limited amount of time, and therefore, they’re always running from pillar to post.
While the limited funds and time are something that cannot be controlled, having a strict schedule that allocates money and time to each task is achievable. Entrepreneurs cannot afford to lose money or waste time, especially during the first few years of being in business. They have to be extremely smart about allocating each penny and minute. This can be done by creating a goal list that is divided into weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.
All these challenges seem daunting and even the most prolific of businesspersons can face setbacks caused by these. However, it’s crucial to note that every problem has a solution, and there’s no success without trial and error. So, if there’s something in your mind that you think is worth doing, go for it. Dreams don’t just come true, you gotta make them happen.
This article is a slightly edited version of the article I wrote for VGo Global in 2020, when I was working with them as their Campaign Lead / Blogger.
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