There's a lot written about top challenges for entrepreneurs and how they get to experience them. When looking at what's going on out there it's easy to identify the real deal breaker challenges as well as the evergreen (things that never go away) challenges. What's the impact these challenges present to the bottom line and the psyche of a newly minted entrepreneur?
Let's take a look at the major challenges every entrepreneur will encounter:
Without marketing there'll be no business - some estimates share that this one item accounts for 60% of the challenges experienced by business people. To grow your business you'll need to sow the seeds that will grow into future sales and spreading more seeds. That's where your marketing comes in. When you spread those seeds around, you increase the opportunities for those seeds to grow into something fruitful. Those opportunities then turn into sales and you get to repeat the cycle. The idea that "I don't need marketing, or I don't need to spend money on marketing, I use (fill in the blank here) is short sighted at best and detrimental at most for your business. As the saying goes: As you sow so shall you reap. Another way this is often stated is: I don't have time to focus on marketing and I don't have the time to plan it either. If marketing isn't your strong suit, you need to get the help you need to create a workable plan, then work that plan. It's too important to your business to shortcut and your strategy (or lack of strategy) will affect every area of your business.
When considering marketing, there's also the issue of actually selling. Your most concerted efforts must revolve around these two activities: Marketing and Selling. If selling is something you're not comfortable with, you will need to work on this critical skill. There's no shortcut here. Starting a business out of interest, love or passion might get your doors open but if you don't or can't sell, it will break your business in the long run.
#2: Cash Flow
There comes a time when you must recognize the need to understand your cash flow. Calculating your expenses, your time and overhead will also impact the way you set prices and how you share that info with your client. You won't be just taking a job because someone offers to pay you someting and you'll be thinking and operating like a business. Over the last few years, many companies especially big ones), have moved to a more slow-moving approach to accounts payable. You will, of course, still need to get the work done yesterday making it a good idea to have a mix of clients and projects to be successful in your business.
Knowing and understanding the numbers in your business will help you move to financial success in your business. Set up simple ways to track and monitor activities, to know what's coming and going out is critical to a sustainable business. Get in the habit of paying attention to the money and you'll get to keep more of the money you earn. Not thrilled about this area of your business? Get the help you need but do as Oprah says: Sign your own cheques! Which brings us to the next item:
#3: Having to wear too many hats
In the beginning, you'll find yourself having to wear so many hats in your business, your head is constantly spinning: marketing, accounting, service provider, sometime web designer, answering the phone, paying the bills and more. This is going on while you are trying to grow your market share, manage your time and trying to walk fine line (really! is there such a thing?) between your business and real life. The truth is that there's also an awful lot of these things you're not that good at and the "many hats" syndrome becomes a major challenge. You can't let this situation hold you back. If you're just starting out, look to barter services to get your needs met and as you grow you'll want to start outsourcing those areas that are holding you back from doing what you do best.
One of the areas you'll need to master quickly is effective time management. With care and attention, you'll have the time to focus on writing that proposal and then implementing it, work on projects and get new business. Invest in systems to manage key aspects of your business and schedule everything you need to do. Give focused attention to the tasks you need to complete and keep your schedule (with built in flexibility of course) to keep you on track.
#4: Technology in your business
As you move forward, you may come to realize how much there is to learn. You'll need to time to stay on top of latest trends in technology - trends that can and will make your work and business more effective. A suggestion? Build time into your schedule every week to focus on learning how to use a new peice of technology you've identified for your business. Then, practice it so it becomes easy for you to blend it into your work day.
As you refine your systemsand the technology that supports them, you'll find this time valuable in learning and growing your capabilities so that when you outsource this aspect of your business, you'll be able to make a smooth transition.
So, those are the "big ticket" items relating to challenges all entrepreneurs experience. These are rounded out by the evergeen chart toppers we know and love and are shown on the infographic. When looking at these, you can see how they roll up into the four main topics shown above. When you tie these items together, you'll be moving to slay these top challengers for entrepreneurs and move your business into a new phase on your way to success.