Small Business Challenges: 7 Obstacles You’ll Face When Starting a New Business

by Team ZenBusiness

- November 19, 2019 7:00 am

Entrepreneurship is an endeavor that no one should take lightly. If you’re planning on starting your own business, especially for the first time, there are a few important things you’ll need to keep in mind as you get going.

Here are seven common challenges you should be prepared to deal with as you launch your business, along with some tips, suggestions, and resources to help you overcome them.

1. Forming a Business

One of the first challenges that an entrepreneur faces is the intimidating task of forming the business itself. A few common questions that you’ll need to answer at this early stage are:

  • What type of business structure are you going to use? Corporations and LLCs are great ways to reduce liability. A nonprofit can give you tax-exempt status. A sole proprietorship keeps things simple. You’ll need to choose which business structure works best for your situation.
  • What legalities are involved? Will you need to pay quarterly taxes? What legal procedures are required if you’re planning on having employees? Are there local laws or codes that apply to you?
  • How will you choose a name for your company? Do you have a name that distinguishes you from the competition? Is it descriptive or unique enough? Will it stand the test of time?

While you can slowly work your way through answer each of these questions, you may find it’s a wise move to enlist a professional or two to help you. Find a good lawyer to go to for counsel and an accountant to dot your i’s and cross all of your t’s. 

2. Securing Financing

One of the cornerstones of a successful business is proper financing. If you don’t have the funds you need to get started, your company will never get off the ground properly. 

In order to put yourself in the best situation to secure financing, begin by creating a comprehensive business plan that outlines your financial needs — for both the short and long term — in as much detail as possible. This will give you a professional appearance when you begin to raise funds.

Once you have your business plan and funding goals lined up, you can begin to raise funds by:

  • Taking out a small business loan.
  • Using personal savings.
  • Opening a line of credit.
  • Finding investors.
  • Crowdfunding.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your fundraising ideas.

3. Managing Time Efficiently

On a personal note, it’s critical that entrepreneurs learn to manage their time efficiently. If you’re not careful, a startup will take every minute you and your employees have to give to it. 

You must strike a balance between accomplishing what needs to be done and maintaining a life outside of work. Work-life balance might be unheard of for some new entrepreneurs, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You can find balance by:

  • Creating a well-thought-out work schedule for yourself and your employees.
  • Taking steps — like putting your phone on do not disturb — to mindfully disconnect from your startup and rest during downtime. 
  • Taking breaks when you recognize you need them — even when you don’t want to.

4. Making Decisions

One of the greatest challenges many entrepreneurs face is the daunting task of constantly making decisions. When you’re a business owner, the business doesn’t move unless you tell it to. You’ll address questions that span the gamut, from major financial quandaries to what color of pens to order for the office. 

While there’s no easy workaround for this one, it’s important to remember a few key tips to help as you make the hundreds and even thousands of decisions ahead:

  • Don’t micromanage: If you can delegate decisions, do so.
  • Prioritize decisions: Delay questions that aren’t urgent whenever you can.
  • Stay the course: Over time you’ll become more accustomed to making hard choices.

5. Dealing With Unpredictability

Even if you create an incredible business plan, find sufficient funding, and cover all of your bases as you form your new business entity, there will always be uncertain and unpredictable factors that remain out of your control.

You can’t predict the company’s future performance, nor can you know when the economy might shift or a natural disaster could become a cause for concern.

Whatever the issue is, it’s important to prepare yourself for the unpredictable moments. If you can’t go with the flow, you’re going to find yourself struggling with stress and anxiety as each new surprise pops up.

Take time to learn how to manage your work-related anxiety. Remember that, while you can’t control everything, you can certainly control your response to negative events.

It’s also important to maintain a largely positive perspective. For instance, the counterpoint to the thought that your business could ultimately fail is the very real fact that you could just as easily succeed beyond your wildest dreams. 

6. Finding Great Employees

While an established business can weather bouts of unprofessionalism, indifference, or disloyalty from its employees, the margin for error is much smaller with a startup. That’s why you’re going to want to choose your first employees with great care. 

You want to find people who are willing to stake a claim in your startup’s success. Try to hire individuals who are willing to pour themselves into building something alongside you. Look for candidates who are comfortable with the high-risk, high-reward atmosphere of working for a startup. 

If you choose your first employees carefully and thoughtfully, you’ll ultimately build a team you can trust as your business grows.

7. Growing the Business

Finally, there’s the challenge of growing your business. While it’s certainly a good problem to have, figuring out how to expand your fledgling company can be an overwhelming proposition. 

When it comes time to push for measurable growth, make sure you take time to create a clear vision and direction beforehand. Layout a strategy, set fresh goals, consider if you need new employees, and don’t be afraid to explore new ideas as you take your operation to the next level. Once you get to this point in your journey, the path ahead has no limits.

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