Understanding that these hurdles exist is the first step to overcoming them, so here are a few common challenges start-up owners must face and the methods that can make them conquerable.
Most Common Challenges Faced By Start-up
Start-ups need investment to get off the ground, but even if you do secure a cash injection in the early stages, there is still no guarantee that this money will guarantee success.
One of the likely stumbling blocks will be failing to properly account for all the costs that your start-up will need to bear as it grows. This article from Foundr explains the main outgoings that must be factored in to ensure that financial pitfalls are avoided.
Maximising Marketing Impact
Start-up owners can get fixated on the process of perfecting their product or service, only to find that by the time it is ready for release, there is no audience primed to embrace it with open arms.
This comes down to overlook the importance of marketing, even when there is still much work to do in other areas.
The good news is that there are so many more marketing tools available to start-ups today in the digital sphere. From harnessing AI to building buzz on social media, the sooner you start thinking about how to promote your start-up, the better.
Getting Talented Personnel Onboard
Slaving away on your start-up concept solo can only get you so far; eventually, you will need to recruit other people to take it to the next level. As with other aspects of business ownership mentioned so far, if you do not plan for this inevitability early, you risk wasting time and money further down the line.
Set out a strategy for recruitment that will ensure you have access to the most talented people in key roles at a time when it is especially important for your business. This is additionally advantageous because it means that you might realize that some roles you initially assumed were essential, or indeed unimportant, are actually at the opposite end of the spectrum.
Coping With Competition
Unless you are uniquely innovative or incredibly lucky, you will likely be pitting your start-up against established rivals in whichever marketplace you choose to enter.
It is all too easy for emerging businesses to crack under the pressure of trying to find space for themselves amongst their incumbent competitors; perhaps a partial explanation for why 9 in 10 fledgling firms fail.
Rather than obsessing over what these rivals are doing, it pays instead to switch your perspective and consider what customers want and where their needs may not be fulfilled at the moment. This will give you the insights you need to give your business the edge, even if there are much larger players already on the field.
Start-up owners often need to turn their hands to a lot of different things in order to make their business work. However, this is not always ideal if you are at the stage where it is possible to delegate certain duties to others, as your weaknesses and blind spots will become amplified if you are insistent on micromanaging every aspect of the organisation.
This can manifest itself in various ways, so it is important to know your limits, set boundaries to suit and never overstretch yourself if the results of failure could be catastrophic.
For example, if you are not a stalwart when it comes to pitching, perhaps this should be left to someone with more skill for presentation. And with most pitches getting under 4 minutes worth of attention from investors, being realistic about your abilities here is paramount.
Establishing Achievable Goals
If your start-up is already up and running, having secured the first big win that brings the tantalizing scent of mainstream ascendance with it, then the temptation to make wild predictions and set your sights on ambitious targets can be strong.
This is all well and good if the stars align and your lofty expectations are exceeded, but for most this is very unlikely to occur.
With that in mind, making sure to establish achievable goals within realistic parameters is important at every stage. That is not to say that you should not dare to dream of big things, but rather that you have to look at all of the available data in order to balance what you hope to achieve against what you can expect to achieve.
Much of the value of your start-up is likely to be tied up in the IP that you are developing, so it is necessary to secure it against exploitation.
This applies not only to products and services but also to your brand identity. Filing patents and registering for trademarks will give you recourse to act if something goes awry.
Building A Culture
Start-ups often set themselves out as offering an alternative to the traditional world of work, with cultures that are committed not only to innovation but also to making employees feel like they are part of something special.
This is all well and good, but be sure to keep any theoretical company culture at the front of your mind when you make important decisions, as otherwise, it might end up being an empty promise that leaves others disillusioned.