Starting something new from the ground up is always a challenge. But when it comes to business, especially if you haven’t done it before, the amount of work it takes to get it started and keep things running can be overwhelming. It’s even more true if you’re wearing many hats like I did when I first began my software company.
Here are some of the challenges I faced when I started my business:
Time management has been one of my biggest struggles. When you don’t have a project manager to keep you on track or a team to delegate to, it’s very easy to waste time. You can get distracted by one task rather than focusing on the right things.
Jocelyn K. Glei, the author of Manage Your Day-To-Day, has some great tips to help you be more productive:
- Work on creative tasks first (like programming and writing) with your phone and email turned off. Then move on the reactive work second (like answering people’s emails).
- Sleep is more important than food, yet we frequently give up one hour of sleep in exchange for an extra hour of work thinking it will make us more productive. You really need around 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
- While it feels easy enough to put one task on hold to start another, studies show that humans find it very difficult to let go of unfinished challenges. Those unfinished tasks continue to draw on our mental resources even after we think we’ve switched focus. What’s more, attempting to ignore this mental tug drains us even further, so it’s best to just finish the task or find a good stopping point on a project before moving on.
Funding Your Startup
The Small Business Administration published findings from the Kauffmann Foundation which state that the average cost of starting a business can exceed $30,000. However, because every business is different, that amount could be way off for you.
The costs will be much lower for home-based businesses. The SBA also notes that a low-cost option for starting a company is through a franchise agreement. According to the SBA, “While your average Main Street franchise may require a larger investment, home-based franchises can be started with as little as $1,000-$5,000.”
So where can you get that money to fund your startup? SBA loans are one option, and they can include the following:
- General small business loans (the most popular)
- Microloans that provide small and short-term funds
- Real estate and equipment loans
- Loan programs to help you expand your business
Another option is Crowdfunding, which has become a popular way for startups to raise funds for their small businesses in recent years. Using these platforms gives startups and even existing businesses the chance to get validation from consumers before committing large amounts of money.
When you first start your new venture, you’re excited, motivated, and see a future full of possibilities. But after spending long hours without seeing progress, or planning a launch that didn’t achieve the results you hoped for, your motivation might start fading.
One piece of advice I have is to surround yourself with motivated and high energy people and resources. This includes the friends you hang out with, the shows you watch, the books you read, and the podcasts you listen to.
Realize that the headline-making stories of billion-dollar startups are not the norm. It takes many founders between 5 and 10 years for their companies to become massive successes. Biz Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, has pertinent advice about this: “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”
Another technique I’ve found helpful is accepting that some things will go wrong, and that’s okay. Sometimes we beat ourselves up too much trying to please everyone, including our customers, but the reality is that at some point, somebody is going to get mad or wind up disappointed. One of the balls you’re juggling will fall, but your business will survive. A customer might give you a bad review because your product didn’t meet their expectations… or just because they’re angry. And that’s okay. Just learn from it and move on!
Adopting this mindset will help you survive and overcome the challenges you’ll no doubt face in making your dream a reality.