The problems faced are many, and it varies based on what industry your startup is in. Every situation is unique but it seems to me that 99 percent of issues come down to just a few simple things.
As someone who has had experience consulting multiple companies, all I can say is, take it from me – if you don’t plan for failure, and hope for success you WILL fail, don’t get that backwards.
A few years ago I watched a business which was producing close to $500,000 per month (in profit, after just 1 year in business) go belly up and have to restructure everything in the company.
As a result, the company had to start from scratch simply because I didn’t recognize the importance of having systems in place to do things efficiently.
In my eyes, and in my experience, it all comes down to this: Time, People, Systems, and Money.
If you do not have time to read the entire article, read this section on the summary points:
- Lack of resources (budget / people / time)
- Increasing visibility and generating quality leads
- Choosing the right social media platforms
- Consistent execution of marketing activities
- Producing and delivering content
- Keeping up with trends and technology
- Who to trust when outsourcing marketing activities
Time is of the essence.
I’ll start with time because time is the most important asset of all, even more important than the money or people, because without enough time, you just will not complete anything you want to do.
Organizing your time and making sure that you use your time wisely is more than just good old folk sayings. It is VITAL when operating any business venture. T
here are going to be many things that you’ll think you can do yourself, and you might come to make yourself believe that only you can do it correctly.
This is flawed thinking, and can land you in hot water. If you think that some obstacles are in the way, especially when running your business, read this article on 6 myths about starting your own business.
By correctly leveraging your time, understanding what things you can do on your own, and what you are better off sourcing out to others to get done, you can avoid a ton of problems.
Even if you are someone who thinks they can keep track of everything in your head, do yourself a favor, start a calendar, and start writing things down.
Set deadlines and meet those deadlines and make there be consequences if you don’t. Learning to properly manage your time can solve more problems before they start than you’ll ever know.
In addition, know that the web has plenty of resources to help you along the way and you can start with this comprehensive list of 150 free resources for startups
Do you have the right people in your team?
- People with the correct skills to do what you need.
- People who can see the same vision you have.
- People to fund your vision.
- People who are willing to put in the long hours for not enough money.
- People who are not just showing up to collect a check.
- People who want your startup to grow just as badly as you do.
People People People. People are the most important resource you have in this world.
There are so many out there who need leadership, use that to your advantage, there are SO many people who are willing to follow to the gates of hell, you just have to give them the leadership to take them there.
Remember, business is not personal, that is where the saying “it’s just business” or “it’s not personal, it’s business” comes from.
Anyone who runs a business by nature uses others and uses those around him. That may stimulate something negative inside of you but remember, people want you to use them, and using someone is not always a bad thing.
Don’t be a sociopath, but know when you have to make the hard calls, and don’t be afraid to tell someone not to show up to work any more because they’re fired.
If you’re afraid of firing, you will fail.
Conversely, if you’re afraid of finding new people you will also fail. I
n my eyes, there is not a single business that can run as a one man show, however that goes to my mindset in life.
Always look for ways to put the work which is the core of your business onto others.
Make sure that whatever work you are paying others to do (whether it be to source product, or perform a service) is going to bring your enterprise more money than you are paying that individual.
This can become something that is difficult to judge, and it is only refined through many years of experience, so don’t expect to succeed every single time.
Take your failures (and the failures of the people around you) and turn them into successes.
Learn to bend your definition of perfection, because not every persons is the same. Babe Ruth didn’t just walk out on a baseball field and hit all those home runs. He practiced. That is life, you must practice, and so must the people who are around you.
So have patience, but not to a fault. To brush up your own hireability, read How to Ace Job Interviews like a Pro.
To sum up my point about people, and why they can be problems, is because people are flawed, and so they WILL inevitably cause problems. Just try to remember that without them, you will do nothing but spin your wheels.
Do you have the right systems in place?
Another thing to mention, is that in my experiences, a big problem that you might face is consistency in operations, with employees, customers, and anyone you do business with. Implement systems and rules in order to have guidelines to follow for when stuff comes up.
Do you ship your product?
If so then maybe you need to worry about what happens if you have a damaged shipment, or if one get’s lost. Long shot you say?
What if you succeed and ship 10 million of those widgets a month?
There is going to be a percentage with damage and that go missing, and you need to have a system in place to handle it before you have to deal with it.
If not, you’ll find yourself underwater in issues that will be very hard to keep from drowning.
If you have a product and or service which is not ready to hit the market, and you think it is, or you need it to be (for that ever needed cash flow) and you launch it; get ready to face a living hell.
You need to have systems in place to deal with customer issues effectively.
Making sure that you have guidelines about how to handle issues that you expect to come up, and writing guidelines about dealing with the unexpected issues is very important.
That way you have a consistent way of doing business, and don’t end up losing your shirt while trying to please someone who will never be happy.
Taking the systems from conceptualization to reality is sometimes a nightmare but again, if you get point one and two right, this point will be a cake walk.
Money is and will always be an issue for startups.
You either need funding, or need to be able to produce cash flow quickly. There isn’t much that moves forward in life without money, however if you have the first two points down, it will solve a ton of dilemmas when it comes to this point.
Other than that, I’m not going to elaborate here because we all know why it is an issue.
“The value of an idea lies in the use of it.”
Lounging on bean bags and sipping cups of coffee when an idea suddenly strikes your mind and you itch to start your business.
You know that your product and your service can make a huge difference to the market. Yet there are certain questions nagging your mind.
We have listed out these questions and at the same time answered them for your convenience.
What business structure should we opt for?
The first question that pesters the mind of any start-up enthusiast is the kind of structure that their business should be based on.
Those who are just starting out and are enthusiastic about flying solo should opt for sole proprietorship. The expenses and income of the business are included in the personal tax return.
If you are someone who aims for a double century like the flamboyant Virat Kohli, then partnership is the best option for you. When it’s a business partnership, the responsibilities get shared and it becomes easier to pursue the business goals because of the ever present support structure.
A startup that plans to be a high profile venture should opt for a corporation. A corporation exists as a separate legal entity from the owners, making the corporation only liable to the board of directors.
Looking to escape the burden of double taxation? Then opt for a limited liability company. The earnings and the losses are included in the personal tax returns.
If you’re worried about someone stealing your idea, then a company is the best option – read more here – What if someone steals my startup idea?
Why taxes are eating into my revenues?
While it is a general idea that whatever revenue that is earned is sucked through taxation, in India however, the government has tried to create stable ecosystem for start-ups.
The Indian budget 2016 introduced a goodies bag for the start-ups. It was announced that start-ups will be able to enjoy a 100% tax exemption for the first three years of their launch except for MAT (Minimum Alternate Tax).
However this is applicable only if they are launched between April 2016-March 2019.
I want to focus on ideas, not on compliances
Complying with compliances is one of the concrete issues that a start-up faces. Compliances are usually overlooked by start-up founders in order to focus only on executing their plans.
Ignoring this internal process however means there is a risk of your business running into trouble and even closure in a few cases.
The best way to focus on your business and at the same time keep an eye on the compliances is to hire someone who will take on your compliance headache for you.
An all-rounder is all you need to ensure that you can keep your eyes on the future while at the same time fulfilling your current requirements.
I want to scale up but need a right partner.
As a start-up with a vision, you certainly want to reach greater heights. The intention is to focus on the core ideas and core functionalities.
But the subsidiary requirements in terms of compliances, taxation, registrations etc. tend to divert the focus.
This is the point where you clutch your hair out and wish for someone to come to your rescue.
Maybe someone as all-rounder as Filingenie who will ensure that you concentrate on the work, while the paperwork is being done by your partner.
Getting past the Circle of registrations & licenses
One thing that never seems to end in India is the multitude of registrations. It’s also in the other countries.
Registration for NBFC, FSSAI and Factory Licenses etc, Shops & Establishments; these entire take up a lot of time and distracts focus from expanding the business. But there is no way of avoiding these licenses and registrations as without them the very existence of a business is in danger.
Making the path of registration easier for you Filingenie, the all-rounder which deals with all the issues related to a Start-up.
I have set up my business. Now what?
Everything is all set-the office space, registration, licenses, agreements and compliances are being well looked after.
The business is also all set to go yet there are nagging doubts at the back of your mind. The doubts maybe anything and everything related to business.
These are the moments when one wishes to have a few business advisors around them. Do not fret too much; all you need to do is contact Filingenie which has a number of subject matter experts for your help.
Most importantly, find the right mindset.
Finally, be sure when you are starting your startup, not just to find financial success, but because it is something you enjoy.
Make sure you understand how you define success, and what are your goals.
Be willing to change those definitions and goals, and learn to accept that while I can’t tell you every issue every startup will face (nor will anyone be able to for that matter,) I can tell you one issue that if you don’t learn how to deal with any issue at the drop of a hat, you will fail.
That issue is learning to adapt, being flexible, and becoming a class A salesman, and problem solver. In the end, most problems your startup will face (if you have a solid product or service) can be solved by selling someone on something.
I firmly believe that being a great salesperson is innate in many people, I do think that everyone should try to continually improve as almost every skill in life comes back to selling something (whether an idea, product, service, mindset) to someone.
Do your best to learn the psychology of sales, and of people, and you will do fine.
If you’re interested in starting your own business, be sure to read this guide to building your own startup.