The hardest things about starting a business and how to you overcome it
Starting a business can take many forms, and not every way is best for every entrepreneur/industry/situation. We've gathered together an ever-growing list of entrepreneurs, and they have agreed to share the hardest things about starting a business and how to you overcome it.
Understanding The Next Steps
Aashni Shah - Hype Docs
"One of the hardest things I overcome with HypeDocs was understanding what the 'next steps' were after I launched our initial product. We launched as a B2C product, had great traction, and were getting steady users and feedback, however I was stuck. Eventually through conversations with our users, I realized I wanted to implement a B2B approach - but before building anymore I wanted to get signed deals. Learning the concept of "Sell before Build" has been extremely hard, but also so rewarding!"
Communicate Your Differences
Timothy Partasevitch - Smart IT
"The hardest thing is probably figuring out what can you do for the market that no one else can (or does yet) or what can you do better than everyone else. And even more important is how you can communicate it to the world. Differentiating yourself from the crowd through services offered or marketing is crucial. Contrary to what people think, superior products don't sell themselves. You need to have a clear message that resonates with people."
Getting The Product Out There
Kevin Bees - Profit Hive
"Having worked with 10,000+ business owners internationally, I recognise that there are 5 hard things that all need to be overcome - summarised by the acronym 'COACH'. 1. C - is CLARITY - who will you serve and how? Usually defined by asking yourself 'how can I use my skills and abilities to the highest advantages of others?' 2. O- is OFFER - how will I package up my offer to make sure it is compelling for the customer and profitable and fulfilling for me to deliver? 3. A - is ATTRACT - how will I generate qualified prospects who want to have conversations about working with me? 4. C - is CONVERT - how will I have the right conversations in the right way to help people decide that working with me would be very beneficial for them? 5. H - is HELP - how do I deliver and fulfill on my promise in a way that is high quality, scalable, and attracts high volumes of referrals? Recognizing that business is multifaceted and that you need many skills is probably one of the biggest barriers, and the best way to overcome those obstacles is NOT by trial and error - it is by finding a resource (book, course, person etc) that can show you a proven methodology that will save you time, energy and stress by giving you what works."
Getting The Product Out There
Daniel WeHunt - D & C Designs
"Getting the product out there. Letting people know it exists. We started going to trade shows and working with large retailers with longer reach and they helped us reach our audience."
Having Enough Cash
Brock Richards - Mayflower Construction Group
"One of the hardest things about starting a business is having enough cash to keep things going. It takes money to create a product or provide a service but it's key to keep your overhead or costs as low as possible. This means working out of your home, a storage unit, or the corner of a friends warehouse as long as possible. Everyone loves the nice big corner office and glass conference room but those things can wait. Best of luck!!"
Business Plan & Identifying Risks
Slava Podmurnyi - Visar Tech
"When it comes to setting up a new business, it’s crucial to keep two things in mind. The first and most complex one to consider is creating a business plan and identifying the risks. Start with calculating financial projections and the chance of your business taking off. Once it’s done, you'll have a clearer vision of how to operate the business, and which strategy to choose. Secondly, focus on your clients' needs to provide the highest value possible. Namely, analyze the market demand and come up with solutions to cover it. Your clients' support could help you to go through uncertain times and overcome hurdles."
No Nest Egg and No Investors
Nadya Rousseau - Alter New Media
"Entrepreneurship sort of fell into my lap, and I grew my business intuitively and with determination and hard work. One of the hardest things was going all in without much of a nest egg and no investor, but I overcame by being strategic, building relationships, and building a clear purpose which was to help as many mission driven companies as possible achieve their goals while making a difference in the world."
Overcoming The Down Days
Jeff Greenfield - Provalytics
"The hardest thing about starting a business is overcoming the down days, when things aren't working out the way you planned. When you have a new business, there's lots of ideas and all of them look great on paper. But, the reality is that most of them will fail. The key to success is moving quickly through your ideas ("failing fast") and keeping your focus on the ones that work and quickly tossing out the bad ideas."
Convincing Customers To Trust You
Patricia Thaine - Private AI
"Convincing your first customers that they can trust that you won't go out of business. A lot hangs on the line for the people who decide to spend money on a new product - in some cases some even risk their jobs. The toughest part is convincing companies to purchase your product when you are just starting out. Often, instead of a contract, we got acquihire offers so we could continue building the product internally within companies. It's about being persistent and lucky enough to find the companies who will take a chance on you because they are so desperate to solve the problem, despite all the risk it brings to them. There are few things one can do at the very very early stages to help drive some level of comfort from prospects that you'll be around in one years' time. One example is putting your code into escrow. Ultimately, this is a problem time, growth, and backing by the right names does solve."
Choosing The Right Time
Kyle Roof - Kyle Roof
"Choosing the 'right' time to start a business. There's never a right time as there will always be a compelling reason for not starting a business. Don't be foolhardy, but at some point you just have to bet on yourself and jump all in."
Dale West - Mad Scientist Web Design
"My experience was that cash flow is always an issue and marketing is paramount. The main thing that got me through was having a support system. You need people that you can bounce ideas off of. Someone who has a different perspective can help you void missteps and keep you focused where you need to be. Having people support your ideas and keep you going when the going gets tough."
Understanding Your Roots
Michael Wall - Bottle Breacher
"The hardest part about buying or starting a business is the expensive mistakes and making sure you give yourself grace when making these mistakes. My wife always says, 'we fail fast,' and this means being willing to fall flat on your face and quickly get back up and do something different. This mindset is critical to being fluid and reaching your goals."
Understanding Your Roots
Janice Taylor - Ahava
"The hardest part of starting a business is to understand the roots of your own story, to get out of your own way and to let the outcome go. Each person has a gift to give, starting your own business is the closest example of sharing your gifts. Take the leap and then let go of HOW it will happen."
Finding the Strength
"The hardest obstacle we had to overcome with starting our business is finding the strength within ourselves to make it a reality rather than taking that leap to make it a reality."
Late Night Market Research
Cheltsie Johnson - Meraki Mosaics Co LLC
"A strategy I learned was how to do market research. Market research helps you to decide which niche is the most lucrative so that you aren’t putting all of your energy into a niche that is over-satuarated. This is a very in-depth process that took me several months to learn, working until 3 AM most nights. That was very hard hard work and had I not known the payout in the end, I probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as I did."
Explaining the Risks
Angela Thurman - Thurman Co
"Explain to prospective clients not only what what project management is, but what the risks are for NOT having a professional project manager assigned to their projects."
Having Enough Conviction
"Either having enough conviction to wait up every day and continue to push the ball up the hill with all your might, or having too much conviction, so much so that you become blind to gaping holes in your business or your understanding of the market that completely undermine your value proposition causing you to waste time and energy and money."