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5 of the most common challenges startups face

Posted by Neha De

January 13, 2022    |     4-minute read (615 words)

Getting a business venture off the ground is a significant accomplishment for any entrepreneur. However, keeping the company running successfully can be challenging. There are myriad difficulties every entrepreneur faces on many levels every day.

Let’s look at some of the most common problems startup owners need to frequently manage, along with some basic advice on how to overcome them.

1. Finding an actual problem – One of the first challenges an entrepreneur faces is figuring out what the market actually needs, because if they create something that nobody cares about, it is not going to sell. Doing this is also the fastest way to waste time and money with nothing to show for it.

Gaining domain knowledge and becoming an expert can help overcome this problem, and the best way to do this is by talking to the target audience.

2. Finding a solution that satisfies all customers – Finding a real market need is not enough; the entrepreneur has to find the right solution, too. That is why it is a good idea to validate the startup idea before investing a significant amount of time or money into building a product or service. (Idea validation is the first step in the process of establishing whether there is a problem worth solving with a solution inspired and agreed by potential users. This stage entails interviewing people to determine whether a hypothesis is valid or invalid, and is typically done before a major investment is made in product development.)

One way to measure the solution-problem fit is running presales. If the product or service gains traction, the startup owner can take it as a sign to move forward to the MVP stage. If not, they can iterate on their offering and try to get market feedback once again. It is best to do any iterations at the presales stage, because once the actual product is in making, it can become much more expensive to make substantial changes.

3. Raising capital without losing focus on the product – The next challenge a startup owner faces is securing funding for their business. Once they start building their product or service and scaling their company, they will find themselves in need of funds — most tasks are labor-intensive to handle by themselves and paying people (employees, consultants, experts, etc) requires money.

Even though finding investors to invest in a startup is challenging enough — only 0.05% of startups are funded by VCs — the real challenge is relentlessly running and growing a business while fundraising.

Therefore, a startup owner should never put their business on hold until they find funding, because investors are attracted to a startup that can demonstrate tangible results.

4. Recruiting the right people and building a healthy company culture – Hiring the right people for a startup, once it is affordable, can often make or break it. However, entrepreneurs need to be careful and not rush to hire too many employees too soon. 

Many leaders swear by the phrase: “Hire slow, fire fast.” According to Forbes, “To hire slow means to hire with intention, not reaction … To fire fast is to acknowledge that we’re all human and make mistakes.” In any business, its people are its greatest asset. And for a startup, finding the right first employees allows the owner to cultivate a positive and productive startup culture.

5. Achieving a balance between work and personal life – Lastly, finding enough time and energy for a personal life is a challenge most startup owners struggle with. And while for an early-stage startup, revenue growth is the focus, taking care of one’s physical and psychological well-being gives higher returns in the long run not only personally, but also professionally.

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