5 Things People Won’t Tell You About Starting A Business
Starting a business is exciting, terrifying and exhausting all at the same time. Everyone will have an opinion about what you should and shouldn’t do to succeed, but no one, no matter their experience, is going to tell you about every challenge you’ll have to face. Even the most experienced entrepreneurs with several businesses under their belt won’t tell you about these five problems you’ll face.
Expect lots of long, lonely hours
Your 9-to-5 lifestyle is over. Starting a business is like having a baby. It’ll require your full attention. It won’t be able to survive without you, and it’ll probably keep you up at night for the first year.
The early days of your new business will be the most stressful. You’ll be getting your hands dirty and doing a lot of the work yourself, with almost no staff around to help you through the process. That’s if you have anyone to help. Starting a business can be isolating, and you could find yourself sitting in a small office for 12 hours at a time.
You won’t have much of an opportunity to get into big projects, a lot of the early days will be spent building relationships and getting the word out.
How to prevent this: Make sure your first hire is someone who can take the daily admin off your hands. An experienced assistant or secretary can make a huge difference with the day to day handling early on.
Business partnerships are hard work
Life-long friendships have crumbled under the weight of business partnerships. You’ll learn more than you ever expected to about a person when you start working with them, living through the same pressures in real-time.
Not every business partnership is going to work out. Your skillsets may complement each other perfectly, but you are individual people with different opinions and goals for the business. If the business is split equally you need to be cautious, making sure that the balance of power doesn’t tip one way or the other.
If you lose control you could find all your ideals sidelined and your place in the business challenged. Find a way to play to each other’s strengths without getting into major clashes on a consistent basis.
How to prevent this: You and your business partner need to see each other as equal. Before you start the business, consider developing a business partnership pre-nup to outline the terms of one of you leaving the business and to act as a reminder of your individual standings in the business.
You’ll have to make a lot of sacrifices
Making sacrifices is part of running a business. No matter how solid your business plan is, something is not going to go to plan. You could be a retailer who’s first hot product ceases productions right at your sales peak or a marketing agency who is about to launch a new campaign on the day the Facebook algorithm changes.
Be prepared to put some of your best ideas on hold, maybe indefinitely. Prepare to learn when to argue your case and when it’s best to step down. You may be wedded to some of your early ideas, but as time does by you’ll realize they were worth sacrificing for the good of the business. It could lead to you going down a completely different road entirely, which isn’t always a bad thing.
How to prevent this: Having a solid plan is great, but you need to back up your projections to make people respect your ideas. Apps such as Enloop will automatically project a number of business metrics for you, so you’ve got something to fall back on when the wolves are circling.
Managing a team is more difficult than managing yourself
Starting your own business gives you the chance to hire your dream team. You’ve probably imagined it sitting in your old job, thinking about how efficient you could be with the right people around you working towards a clear goal.
Unfortunately, it’s going to take a few years to get that dream team. A lot of your initial staff intake is going to be inexperienced and need guiding through the systems of the business. Building up inexperienced staff can help you build a loyal team, but it can mean your business takes a while to get up to full pace.
Managing a team requires so much additional care than just managing yourself and your own workload does. If you’ve never been a manager of any kind before it can be a huge jump. You’ll suddenly need to consider their morale and what benefits you will introduce to help their day-to-day.
How to prevent this: Find industry-specific perks that will make their daily tasks much simpler. Take a delivery business for example. Giving your fleet of drivers fuel cards such as the kind iCompario produce, you simplify the payment process for your staff and make it so they don’t need to carry cash or company cards for deliveries.
You will be short on cash at some point
Even the most profitable businesses have had financial low points. It’s become part of the learning curve every new business and startup needs to contend with. At some point, you will run low on money. You might only be strained for a month, or it might last a year, but it’s important to make it through and make sure the business survives.
You’ll find that often keeping your business afloat means investing your own money into the situation. It’s important to know your limits though, you can’t keep using your own money to fill holes in a sinking ship. It may be common for a business to falter because of money issues, but there’s no reason to put your financial future on it.
How to prevent this: Start small and test your business’ potential on a small platform. Stores such as ArtFire are brilliant places for creatives to sell their wares with little risk. From here measure your idea’s popularity and see if your side hustle could be a business on its own merits.
Starting your own business comes with a lot of challenges no one is going to walk you through. It can still be an exhilarating and life-changing experience though. Don’t be put off by the challenges, find sensible solutions and persist through.
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