Estimated reading time: 7 mins
Starting and growing a business is full of challenges. It’s not an easy path to take, so it’s always important to be up for overcoming obstacles and putting in a lot of work to do so. Even though when you’re struggling with something, it can feel like you’re all alone, you can guarantee that many businesses before you have gone through the exact same struggles. In fact, there are many more experiencing them at the same time as you. Linking up with other business people can help you to learn how to deal with anything that comes your way. This guide can also give you some hints on where to start with tackling common challenges if you’re trying to start or grow a business.
Defining Your Business and Brand
One of the most important things you need to do for a new business is define it. What do you do? What’s your USP? If you haven’t pinned down a niche, a target market and a brand for your business, everything is going to be kind of all over the place. It’s important to define your business so that everyone working on it can take a consistent approach to everything you do. If you hire a marketing company to help you advertise, you need to be able to tell them what your brand stands for and how they should speak to your audience. You should spend some time making decisions about your business and brand, and perhaps get some expert help if you need it.
Presenting an Alternative to the Big Brands
You’re the plucky new guy on the market. You might not be a big business, but presumably, you have something that people want. The idea of competing against big brands can seem frightening, but if you’ve started a business, then you should already have identified what your brand has that others don’t. It’s also a good idea to remember that you’re unlikely to be directly competing against the global corporations. Your direct competitors are likely to be brands that are the same size as yours, or perhaps slightly better established. You should make sure you do some research on your competitors to see who you’re up against. You might want to compete with the huge brands eventually, but you’re probably not there just yet.
A Lack of Funding
Not all businesses need a lot of capital to get going. However, it’s often difficult to grow your business well if you don’t have any funding. You might be able to expand, but it’s usually a very slow process if you only have your profits to funnel back into the company. Being able to secure other funding from various sources is a huge benefit if you want to grow your business faster. There are several traditional funding routes you could take, but many new business owners do end up looking into alternative routes. You might consider asset funding from a lender like Nucleus Commercial Finance. This can be useful because it allows you to secure your loan against the asset you want to finance. Other funding options might range from crowdfunding to even investing your own money in the company.
Sticking to Your Convictions
Many business owners want to start off their company on the right foot when it comes to espousing the values that they and their customers believe in. If you create your brand based on some of these values, it’s important that you try to stick to them. That can start to become difficult, however, as your convictions possibly start to clash with the opportunities you have to grow your business. If you find yourself questioning just how important it is that you follow through with the values you want your brand to align with, you need to think about what matters most. If you want to stick to your promises, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get anywhere. With the right attitude and a bit of creativity, you can fulfil your goals without bending the principles that you tell your customers are important to you.
Making Your Business Scalable
One of the struggles of growing a business is the actual growth part. Your business starts off small, and as it gets larger, there are various transitions you need to make. You can grow out of your previous ways of doing things, which can make things awkward to change. Aiming to create a scalable business can mean it’s easy to smoothly grow your brand. You should look for services and suppliers that can grow as you do. This is where using cloud technology may be helpful when it comes to software and other tools. You can often choose flexible plans that suit your business, and change plans as it grows.
Getting Your Budget Right
As well as finding the money you need, working out how to spend it can be tricky too. Many new business owners end up directing their money to the wrong things, leaving none left for when the most important elements. It can take a while to get your spending right and work out where your money should be going, especially when you’re still figuring out what works for your business and what doesn’t. Drawing up a proper budget is important, and you might feel like you can do a better job if you have some help from someone with the financial knowledge to get it right. Remember too that your budget can be adjusted.
Becoming an Employer
Many people who start a business can find themselves being the boss for the first time. You might have some experience being a manager or delegating to others, but being an employer can be a completely new thing. It can take a while to work out how to be a good employer and what style to take in your management of people. Alongside that, there are also the practical things, like recruitment and the legal responsibilities you have as an employer. If you’re preparing to become an employer, you can look for help from local resources, including government assistance and information. It can sometimes be helpful to get mentoring from someone more experienced too.
Trying to Do Everything at Once
When you start a business, it’s often just you on your own or perhaps a very small team of people. You’re desperate to grow, so you put everything you have into expanding your business. But this can quickly lead to exhaustion and burnout if you’re not careful. Pushing as hard as possible ultimately won’t help you or your business. You need to be able to work out when it’s time to take a break, how to delegate tasks, and when you are and aren’t capable of taking something on.
Balancing New Customers and Existing Ones
As you start to grow your customer base, it can be difficult to balance paying attention to existing customers and bringing in new ones. There are some business models where it makes more sense to concentrate on new customers and some where existing ones might be more important. But even if you sell a product that will last for years before someone needs a new one, you can still offer things like maintenance services or accessories. You’re likely to start out concentrating more on bringing in new customers, but it’s important not to neglect the ones you already have. They could turn into loyal customers who make you more revenue that your average new customer.
Keeping Up with Changes
Everything is moving so fast in pretty much any industry. It’s hard to keep up with new technologies and trends, and you can feel that it’s especially difficult for a small business. But just because your company is still growing, it doesn’t mean you can’t do your best to stay up to date. However, you do need to know where to draw the line. There’s no need to try out every innovation and do everything your competitors are doing. You need to work out what’s best for your business and what’s not going to benefit you right now. While it’s important to know what your target market wants, they’ll often expect different things from a small company compared to a larger one.
Facing Things That Aren’t Working
One of the most difficult challenges for a new business owner can be to face the fact that something isn’t working. Sometimes, the thing that’s not working is a large part of your product or the structure of your business. But even in these circumstances, you need to face the idea that it might be best to make some big changes and perhaps take a short-term hit so that you can be more successful in the long-term. This is a huge challenge because it requires not just working out practical issues but also admitting to yourself when something might not be working, and that’s often the hardest thing of all.
Any new business owner will come across a huge number of challenges as they grow their business. Being prepared for anything to happen can make it a bit easier to deal with anything that comes your way.