As far as most people are concerned, we live in the age of entrepreneurship and it feels like everyone is starting a business. A lot of this has to do with the new avenues of business that have opened up thanks to internet, but it also has to do with the fact that people have become disillusioned by the traditional relationships where they work for the same employer for their entire careers.
And while starting one’s own business is an exciting and positive development for most people, we should not ignore the fact that running one’s own enterprise can be a spectacularly challenging experience. Entrepreneurs-to-be should be aware of the challenges ahead. Being aware helps them be prepared and face those challenges face-on.
1. Drawing up a business plan
Running a business is extremely complicated and in order to have any chance of actually making it, you have to have a business plan in place, a business plan that will make sense and that will ensure your company stays afloat.
You would not believe the number of prospective entrepreneurs who start with an idea and think that just because they believe in their idea, everything will work out.
We are not saying that an idea is not important, but you need to work on your idea, identify how you will be making money, who will be purchasing your product (or service), how much you will spend on running your company, how much you will pay in taxes and much, much more.
A good business plan will take all of this into consideration and once you have a positive outcome as a real, doable possibility, you have a business plan on which you can build your new company.
2. Handling the Paperwork
The World Bank publishes its Ease of Doing Business Index every year and while countries around the world will differ greatly when it comes to how business-friendly they are, the fact remains that starting up in any country will involve a whole lot of paperwork.
For one, you will encounter various federal requirements (licenses, tax categories, surety bonds in certain industries, legal requirements, etc.), as well as even more on the local level. And that is before you actually start doing business. Once you start taking on employees and dealing with various suppliers and partners, your paperwork will only grow. In short, before you know it, you will be spending a great deal of your time simply doing paperwork.
Of course, much of it will be mitigated by hiring accountants and lawyers (should the need arise), but you will still have to stay of top of things and take time to ensure you are handling red tape the right way.
For many a new business owner, all of this becomes overwhelming very quickly and they start hating their new endeavor simply because they get bogged down in paperwork.
There is no way around it, it is an integral part of doing business. The important thing is to know to expect it and to prepare yourself mentally for the challenge of paperwork.
3. Hiring Smartly
One of the more inconspicuous challenges of running a business and one whose importance only gets revealed down the line is hiring the right people. Namely, most people think that hiring the right people is easy and that anyone can do it if they apply themselves.
In reality, this is far more complicated than it looks. For one, job seekers know very well how to present themselves to potential employers (i.e. you). Soon enough, every candidate seems like the perfect one and it takes a great deal of experience to identify truly good ones. Also, some industries have huge problems with talent shortages and you may find it difficult to even fill a position.
The biggest problem, however, is that the wrong hires can be truly devastating for a fresh new company. You are wasting time and money on people who will never be what you need and whose job engagement will always be lacking.
You can learn how to hire smartly and you can always reach out to outside partners such as recruitment agencies. The crucial thing is not to underestimate this challenge and to be realistic about your hiring prowess.
4. Doing Cost-Effective Marketing
Running a company is about making a living and, hopefully, helping your employees also make a living. In order to do so, you have to have customers who want your product or service. However, in order to have customers, they need to know that your product or service is the superior one and that they will be well-off purchasing it. To be able to convince them of this, you need to do marketing.
If you were to believe all the “marketing experts” churning out a dozen marketing articles every week, doing great marketing is super easy and takes no time.
Anyone who has ever run a business for more than a few months will tell you that this is simply not true. Doing cost-effective and truly great marketing takes a lot of work, a lot of expertise and a lot of trial and error.
Even when we are talking digital marketing, it takes a lot to do anything more than dabble in it. It takes good strategy, efficient tactics and a massive amount of energy to do good digital marketing.
It is a challenge that can be approached from a number of angles, but you need to be aware beforehand that it is not a “doddle” like some people want you to think.
Starting and a running a successful business is riddled with challenges. It is what makes it so alluring and so exciting. The important thing is to be prepared for those challenges and not to panic. Hopefully, this article helps.