Overcoming the 3 biggest challenges to starting a business
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Leaving the security of steady employment and striking out on your own can be a daunting prospect. Starting a business from scratch is a challenge, particularly in the current climate of impending recessions, economic turmoil and divisive politics.
But no start-up comes without its unique hurdles and business acumen and hard work, along with a head for solving problems, can overcome even the harshest economic barriers.
So what are three of the most common challenges your new business is likely to face, and how can you tackle them?
Finding the funding to grow
‘It’s almost always harder to raise capital than you thought it would be, and it always takes longer. So plan for that.’ –Richard Harroch, Venture Capitalist and Author
If you want the resources to make your vision happen then you need the funds. Even your most revolutionary business idea may be a non-starter if you lack the means to fuel its growth.
Taking out a bank loan is the most obvious solution but can be a formidable prospect when your business only exists on paper. Raising capital from investors is another option, but comes with accountability and pressure to spend other peoples’ money wisely.
If banks and investors are not for you, there are other options. Dedicated organisations such as the Funder Finder engine specialise in helping businesses find alternative funding.
Be sure to talk through your options with an expert so you fully understand all the avenues available to you before making any significant financial decisions.
Managing your most important employee
‘We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of the time we put in.’ - Arianna Huffington, co-founder of The Huffington Post
This may be your first time embarking along the entrepreneurial road, but even if you’ve done this before, every start-up is different and comes with its own unique learning curve.
A common issue for new businesses is a lack of on-board staff. Lacking the luxury of a profit margin (at least to begin with!) you’ll probably struggle to employ all the hands you may need on deck, which means a lot of extra responsibility falls on your shoulders.
Be prepared to become a jack-of-all-trades, but also defer responsibility accordingly where you have the staff members to do so. Managers should be allowed to act independently and take charge of their own departments, but are likely to take their cue from you, so treat them as you would expect them to treat their own team members. Meanwhile, you will need to give some thought to how you intend to manage your company’s most important member – you!
While being your own boss may sound like a dream come true, working for yourself requires a surprising amount of self-discipline. With nobody else to shoulder responsibility for the ongoing life of the company, the buck is always going to stop with you.
Hard work is important, but at the same time, losing sight of your work/life balance can be a critical mistake and one that sees many CEOs and early start-ups crumble under the pressure of an endless working week.
Wrestling with changing business costs
‘At the end of the year, we see our income went up, but our expenses also went up even more and what we think was a great year turns into a disappointing one. Keep track of your finances and ensure that your costs don’t eat up your income.’ – Michael Brennan, Founder of Law Offices of Michael J. Brennan
With politics moving at a mile a minute in the run-up to October’s Brexit deadline, international businesses will find themselves facing additional challenges. The Pound has been under significant pressure as a result of political and economic uncertainty, and further exchange rate fluctuations are on the horizon.
As a fledgling business you’ll need to keep a tight lid on all your costs and maximise the value of your assets. For businesses that trade across international borders, exploring your currency transfer options is essential if you want to keep control of your budget.
Engaging the services of a specialist currency broker like TorFX can help you save time and money.
They can offer you more competitive exchange rates, fee-free currency transfers and access to tools like forward contracts – which allow you to fix an exchange rate for up to two years in advance of making a transfer.
As a new business you’ll probably face many challenges, but preparation, planning, research, and the support of industry experts can help you get ahead and conquer those challenges as they arise.
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