Choosing to pursue a career in entrepreneurship is a decision that today’s professionals may make for any number of reasons. Some are drawn to it when they find themselves in awe of the incredible accomplishments of other entrepreneurs, some find that the typical 9-to-5 job doesn’t inspire them, and some are drawn to the risky adventurousness of creating a business from the ground up.
No matter their reasoning, entrepreneurs have one undeniable thing in common with each other: they all tend to face a similar set of struggles as they attempt to build a successful company. Listed below are four of the most common challenges that new entrepreneurs must overcome on the path to success.
Though entrepreneurs of all experience levels may find it challenging to finance their venture, first-time entrepreneurs can find it especially difficult. New founders often lack the professional connections of their more experienced counterparts, and may have a more difficult time finding investors or other forms of financing for building a business.
The first step that first-time entrepreneurs must take in securing the necessary capital is to evaluate the options available to them. Common ways that small business owners choose to finance their companies include taking out bank loans, long-term work at a typical job to build savings, attracting an angel investor, or seeking out investments from friends and family members. Venture capital may be an avenue for some entrepreneurs. Yet another form of financing that has gained popularity in recent years is crowdfunding through websites like kickstarter.com. Through these types of websites, entrepreneurs can lay out their business plan and solicit donations from anyone on the Internet. Once an entrepreneur manages to raise enough capital through any of these methods, they must create and operate within a responsible budget to avoid problems with cash management.
Hiring and developing a cohesive team.
Having the right team of professionals to run an enterprise is key to driving growth, and hiring the best talent to fill positions can be a daunting task for a new business owner. Not only do employees need to have the right skillsets to perform well, but entrepreneurs need to hire them at a cost that is affordable to the new business. It is also important for entrepreneurs to consider a candidate’s personality and work style to ensure that he or she will work well with other members of the team.
To build a great staff, entrepreneurs should think comprehensively about the specifications of the position they are hiring for, considering what they truly need from the person who will fill it. They should come up with a list of the nonnegotiable skills and attributes that are needed for the role, and think carefully about the ways they want the employee to impact their business. Doing so will help entrepreneurs develop criteria to evaluate candidates.
Additionally, entrepreneurs need to keep their company’s mission and core values in mind so that they can seek out candidates with similar perspectives. Entrepreneurs should also use a consistent interview process—for example, by asking the same questions in the same order, or administering the same test under the same conditions. A standardized process will allow entrepreneurs to more easily and objectively compare applicants to determine who will be the best fit overall.
Finding the courage to leave a full-time job.
Many entrepreneurs start their business while still holding down their full-time job in order to provide themselves with a bit of security. Though this is a good decision for people who lack the savings or support in the early phases of growing a company, there comes a point in a successful business’s growth when it will demand the majority of the entrepreneur’s time, beyond just nights and weekends. This can be an especially difficult challenge to overcome for first-time entrepreneurs who have only ever known the security of the typical 9-to-5 job.
While different people choose different times to leave their full-time job and focus on their new company, there will come a pivotal moment when every entrepreneur must find the courage to do so. Entrepreneurs should think carefully about the right time to leave, making sure that they have a financial plan in place. Health insurance and debt can be big factors in this decision. Entrepreneurs should also be comfortable with the fact that, going forward, they’ll need to plan for life with a higher degree of flexibility and stick to a stringent budget until the business takes off.
Grappling with self-doubt.
To enjoy life as an entrepreneur, you must be tenacious and able to move past doubt and negativity. Starting your own company is a gamble, and it is easy in the early phases of business development to succumb to fearful thoughts that leave you questioning your abilities as a business leader. Self-doubt is common among first-time entrepreneurs, but those who are successful in their endeavors are the ones who learn to mitigate the inevitable, stress-induced uncertainty.
The best ways to overcome self-doubt as an entrepreneur are to remember your past accomplishments and have an excellent support system in the form of family, friends, and business mentors. Additionally, learn how to gracefully accept and move past the mistakes you will inevitably make in the process of establishing your company. An entrepreneur who cannot accept his or her failures will be plagued by anxiety, which can lead to crippling indecisiveness. You can overcome self-doubt by acknowledging mistakes when they happen and applying the lessons you learn from the experience to avoid similar missteps in the future.