Young Upstarts

All about entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, ideas, innovation, and small business.

5 Problems Entrepreneurs Face In The First Year

Entrepreneurship isn’t for the squeamish, cautious, or faint-hearted. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions that will quickly squash anyone who isn’t up for the challenge. And while great successes can be enjoyed, they typically don’t happen right away. Struggles, failures, problems, and friction are very common in the early days.

The road to entrepreneurial success is littered with stumbling blocks and potholes. As you launch your startup, be prepared to face the following:

1. Product Validation.

“I’ve seen many startups rush into development of an idea before truly understanding the requirements for a successful product and before validating the financial viability of the opportunity,” says entrepreneur Brandon Hoe.

Hoe believes that you can avoid issues with product validation by asking yourself three questions before launch:

  • How well do you know the problem or industry?
  • Why would someone trust you to deliver a solution?
  • How will you monetize – and will it be enough to cover your expenses?

If you don’t have clear and concrete answers to these three questions, then you need to continue brainstorming and optimizing.

2. Cash Flow Problems.

Cash flow is almost always a sticking point, particularly when it comes to bootstrapping a startup. If you’re committed to not giving up equity in your business, you’ll need to get creative with how you manage your money.

A cash loan can supply you with some money in your personal life, which will allow you to continue running your business without pulling out a paycheck. However, this isn’t sustainable forever. You’ll eventually need to scale your business to the point that you’re able to earn a little money.

3. Limited Time.

You can’t be everywhere at once, yet you’ll find that – particularly in the early stages of growth – you’re being pulled in multiple directions. One solution is to be more diplomatic with how you schedule your days and break things down into digestible tasks and goals.

As one entrepreneur explains, “You should have a list of lifetime goals, broken down into annual goals, broken down into monthly goals, then broken down into weekly goals. Your weekly goals, then will be broken down into specific tasks by day. In this manner, what is on your task list in any given day is all you need to do to stay on track with your lifetime goals.”

4. Talent Acquisition.

You can only be a one-man operation for so long. Eventually, you have to bring other people on board so that you can grow. But if you don’t have a background in talent acquisition, onboarding employees can be extremely tough.

For major corporations with hundreds or thousands of employees, a single bad hire isn’t a disaster. Sure, it’s a waste of time and money, but it’s not going to impact the bottom line tremendously. For a small startup with just a handful of employees, a bad hire can wreck the entire operation. If you don’t feel equipped to do the hiring yourself, a consulting firm may be your best bet.

5. Work-Life Balance.

If you thought you struggled to achieve good work-life balance in your previous role as an employee of a company, wait until you launch your own startup. Startup founders find it nearly impossible to achieve optimal work-life balance within the first couple of years. Finding ways to address this challenge will prove fruitful.

Embrace Your Challenges.

In the words of a famous Teddy Roosevelt’s speech, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…”

As an entrepreneur, you’ll face many challenges within your first few years of building businesses. Instead of fleeing from them, why not face them with vigor and excitement? Why not be someone who tries, even at the risk of failing? Whether it’s this business or your next, you’ll eventually find great success.

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Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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