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If you are of the entrepreneurial mind, it only takes a quick online search to find stories of people like you that turned their dreams into a reality. However, it also only takes a quick look at the statistics to see that the failed ventures significantly outweigh the success stories. Ultimately, there are many obstacles to overcome en route to success.
As such, you need to equip yourself with a winning plan of action that tackles each of those potential problems head-on. Here are 10 of the biggest issues that you’ll need to consider, along with the best ways to prevent them from disrupting your progress.
The stumbling blocks in business surface long before you’ve launched your venture. A lack of money is something that stops many startups in their track. The harsh reality is that gaining funding via standard business bank loans is unlikely in the current economic climate. Therefore, alternative ideas like crowdfunding and private investment need to be considered.
Perhaps most importantly, though, you need to keep the costs down. If possible, working from home is a fantastic way to reduce the overheads, especially during the infancy. If providing hairdressing or similar services, visiting clients in their homes can be your USP. Alternatively, retailers can use pop-up stores and converted shipping containers to keep the costs down.
Raising money is tough while spending it wisely is harder still. Get it right, though, and the venture stands a far better shot at success.
It’s one thing to have positive figures in your profit and loss accounts. However, maintaining a positive active cash flow is far more important. Essentially, if you do not have access to cash, it will prevent the business from continuing along the right path. Business credit cards can be a great starting point, but they’ll only get you so far. Not least if you’re dealing with big sums of cash.
If the business offers repayment programs to clients, it may be wise to think about an invoice line of credit. This can remove a lot of the pressure and ensures that you’ll always have funds for key business purchases. However, you must do credit checks on customers. Otherwise, bad debts could cause a lot of damage to your company in the long run.
Conversely, if you can complete purchases on credit agreements or deals where you’ll pay in a few months time, this can serve you well.
In truth, a perceived lack of time is the most common hurdle that entrepreneurs are likely to account. It’s not all about selling your products and services, and you’ll soon discover that a lot of hard work goes in behind the scenes. While you won’t want to commit yourself to huge expenses, the fact of the matter is that you will require the support of a winning team.
Modern tech and communication has opened the door to an array of different recruitment methods. From using contractors to hiring full-time home-based employees, the versatility work in your favor. You still need to ensure that everyone you work with can represent the business in a positive light. When they do, there’s no doubt that their work will lead the venture to better outcomes.
Moreover, you’ll be in a position to place a greater level of focus on your specific tasks. This should make the work far more enjoyable on a personal note too.
Keeping your business in great health is hard work. So, you simply cannot afford to let someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing hold you back. Putting the right insurance policies in place is vital. And it should protect you against vandalism, accidental damage, and other issues that could hit your pocket hard. This should cover assets like vehicles as well as the premises themselves.
There are many types of businesses on the market. If your startup provides a contracting service of its own, your clients are essentially short-term employers. You trust them to provide a safe working environment. If they fail to do this, you must speak to specialists about workers compensation claims. After all, the injuries sustained on a company’s grounds could cost you other projects.
Essentially, if you’re not at fault for the sudden inability to work, you shouldn’t be made to suffer the financial consequences. It is that simple.
Accidents, including injuries, occur. While you still need to respond in the correct fashion, it’s OK to accept that those issues will happen. What you shouldn’t accept, however, is theft. Startups already face many difficulties. And that’s without worrying about the damage caused by fraudsters and thieves. The key thing to remember is that prevention is the best protection.
Investing in the right surveillance and digital data protection is vital. Then again, you must not forget that intellectual theft is the most damaging outcome of all. Talk to copyright experts to ensure that your innovations and branding are protected. This is key to safeguarding the business on a financial front and will also prevent the threat of having your reputation destroyed.
Frankly, if you allow your business to remain in a vulnerable position, you’ll only have yourself to blame should things go wrong.
It would be a little simplistic to suggest that the success of a business is solely based on sales revenue. Nonetheless, it’s impossible to downplay the importance of this factor. Assuming that your products and services are of the desired standard, the route of your problems lies with marketing. Fix this, and you should see a noticeable difference in the interest levels and conversion rates.
As a new business, you’ll be eager to reach the biggest possible audience. In truth, finding your place in the market by having a niche demographic is a crucial step en route to success. Once you’ve done this, creating marketing campaigns is far simpler. Likewise, you can use social media influencers and affiliate schemes to hit your audience with far greater impacts.
Just remember that marketing endeavors need to be financially efficient. Getting $50,000 of added sales is futile if it cost $60,000 to get them.
Getting the sale is vital, but it counts for very little if customers return their goods. While you can expect the occasional dispute, keeping them to a low is vital. Of course, providing a winning service time and time again should be top of the agenda. Still, setting a fair returns policy is something that every startup needs to get right from the very start of their journeys.
Additional steps like using social media responses and placing FAQs on your site can aid the cause. Crucially, though, unhappy clients need to have a chance to contact your quickly and in a convenient manner. When this is followed by a fair and friendly service, customers shouldn’t get too frustrated. In fact, rectifying those issues may be a key step towards gaining their loyalty.
Then again, some clients will try to take advantage. So while you should remain fair, there’s nothing wrong with being firm if they’re in the wrong.
As already mentioned, the significance of your team’s performance is massive. While finding the best people and treating them well on an individual level is vital, you must not overlook the team vibe. Without a winning company culture, the entire operation can fall away at the seams. Conversely, a team that works together is destined to achieve great things.
Team away days are a great way to improve the atmosphere and encourage the formation of winning relations. As the owner, your main job is to stamp out bullying or inequality within the team. Creating a happy and level playing field is the only way to achieve the results that you crave. Then again, a few group staff perks will go a long way to aiding the overall mood.
Remember to be involved in this too. While you need to establish the hierarchy and authority, being a personable boss is vital.
When first launching the business, it’s OK to have modest goals. Breaking even or making a slight profit will probably signal a job well done. However, true success is defined by longevity, which is why you will need to plot the future steps too. Then again, you must learn to run before you walk, which is why timing those moves is vital.
It’s better to take baby steps as this reduces your risks. If you’re planning to sell online, why not use eBay and Amazon to start? Or if you’re looking to open a new offline store, short-term contracts and pop-up stores will be your best bet. Even when adding new products and services, a short run followed by in-depth analysis will help you decide whether it’s a long-term option
As with most major issues in business, finding the right balance is what will separate your venture from the rest. Do not forget it.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle when starting a business is that other people will try to knock your confidence. Frankly, your response to them should be two words long. And the second is ‘off’. You have the ideas and the motivation to make this work. Believe in yourself.