The coronavirus pandemic has created unique circumstances for entrepreneurs. In many ways, now is the ideal time to start a new company. This is because of the availability of talent, customer willingness to try new things, and the affordability of loans.
Despite the many advantages of starting a business in the current climate, entrepreneurs still face the typical hurdles involved with creating a startup. These hurdles are universal, which means that an extraordinary number of people have already surmounted them and are now able to give excellent advice on how to overcome them.
Some of the major hurdles that virtually every entrepreneur will face include:
1. Dealing with budgetary constraints.
Even startups with a decent amount of cashflow will feel like they have a strapped budget. Ultimately, no matter how much money a company brings it, it will always feel like more could be accomplished with just a bit more capital. To deal with this hurdle, entrepreneurs should focus less on increasing capital and more on maximizing the money that is already available.
In general, startups should prioritize marketing or whatever else actually helps bring more money in and then reserve the rest for operations and experimentation. Entrepreneurs should also pay close attention to the budget and figure out where they can save money.
At almost every startup, there are opportunities to streamline budgets and cut out unnecessary expenses. Learning how to run a lean business is extremely important. Even if it is not necessary to peel away every unnecessary expense, having financial priorities in place in case of emergency is crucial for success.
2. Overcoming self-doubt.
Entrepreneurship is a difficult path, especially in the beginning. All entrepreneurs will feel discouraged at some point, whether because things have gone wrong or they just are not going as well as expected. Eventually, self-doubt creeps in. Entrepreneurs may feel like giving up if they do not know how to handle this emotion.
To overcome self-doubt, a strong support system is very important. Friends and family can provide emotional support. Mentors and professional peers can offer career guidance.
However, entrepreneurs also need to build their own sense of resilience. When feeling down, it can be helpful to prioritize tasks according to long-term goals and revisit how much has already been accomplished. Everyone tends to lose sight of progress, especially when there are bumps in the road. A quick reminder can help restore your motivation.
3. Managing time efficiently.
A significant challenge for any entrepreneur is time management. Too often, it feels like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done, especially during the early stages when the founder wears several hats at once. Entrepreneurs need to learn to be smart with how they spend their time.
Goal lists are a great way to organize and prioritize. Lists can help people identify the tasks that need to get done immediately while keeping an eye on upcoming items that will need attention. When a list is handy, entrepreneurs have something to refer to, which can help them determine whether what they are doing is working toward one of the goals and shift gears if the answer is no.
Also, entrepreneurs need to learn how to delegate work effectively. Founders can never do everything themselves and delegating is the only way to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
4. Marketing the company effectively.
Bringing new products and services to the market is stressful since it is impossible to know the best approach. Entrepreneurs need to figure out the best media to use, the message of the campaign, the features to highlight, and the individuals to target. Overcoming this hurdle often involves consulting with someone with substantial marketing experience.
Great marketers can provide input on the best approaches to start with given the budgetary constraints. Then, laying close attention to results is the best way to guide future efforts.
Entrepreneurs should know exactly how they will track results and analyze impact of different campaigns so they can create an approach that is as effective as possible. In the earliest stages of a company, marketing is typically very basic as experimentation is a bad idea. Later, after they have more data, entrepreneurs can be more creative with their approach.
5. Raising sufficient capital.
Entrepreneurs constantly wonder about getting enough capital to grow the business effectively. Too often, individuals get caught up on one option instead of exploring the variety of different ways to raise money. The ideal approach to raising capital for a company is creating contingency plans with different strategies.
While traditional bank loans are not always an option, entrepreneurs can consider crowdfunding, venture capital, and angel investors. Also, many entrepreneurs do not actually need large injections of capital to build their companies. Focus on delivering a great product and continually improving it over time while also concentrating on excellent customer service.
This can fuel slow but steady organic growth that allows companies to reach goals without massive upfront investments. All these options have their own specific pros and cons. Exploring each rather than getting fixated on one is the best approach.