As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand the challenges of running a successful business. In fact, the first three years of my company were very challenging. I was running through money at an alarming rate. Also, I knew very little about marketing, and my sales were dismal. My business almost failed on three different occasions. I knew if I was going to survive in business, I had to do something drastic. We often go into entrepreneurship full force without truly counting up the costs. It is not important that you know everything; however, sometimes what you don’t know can be the death of your business dream. I have learned a lot since that time.
So many entrepreneurs today have the ambition, but they don’t understand the challenges of entrepreneurship in the 21st Century. I want to explore some of the challenges and also leave you with solutions to overcoming these challenges. I am living proof that you can overcome any challenge and build a very successful business.
- A false expectation is one of the obstacles to business success. Most entrepreneurs come in with a great dream, but they underestimate the dedication that it takes to make a dream a reality. It takes more than a great idea to build a successful business. It takes persistent execution of an idea to succeed in business. Don’t assume that a great idea will create automatic cash flow in your business. You must be willing to put in the time in order for your business to succeed. Research has proven that it takes almost five years for a business to truly become profitable. Personally, I didn’t even begin to break even until around the third or fourth year of my business. Understand that building a business will require effort, diligence and patience. The conservation of your business will be contingent upon your commitment to the business.
- Having no true sense of purpose will destroy a business faster than anything. When you set out to start your business, proper planning is vital. Be sure that you have a clear vision and mission statement for your organization. Cash will never flow into a business that does not have a clear concentration. You should devote ample time to developing your product or service and defining your market niche. It takes concentration to set yourself apart from the competition. If you cannot find a way to differentiate your product or service, your business will not survive. Also, creating a product or service that nobody finds useful will cause your business to be unsuccessful.
- Poor organization will kill your business dream. Leadership requires organization and responsibility. If you don’t focus on maintaining order in your business, you will burn out and break down. Also, you must be careful not to spread yourself too thin. While you might not be able to hire full-time employees in the beginning, consider investing in a virtual assistant who can assist with the day to day operations of your business. This will give you the ability to focus on revenue and product creation.
- Trying to be a jack-of-all-trades is a huge barrier to business success. I believe in doing one thing well and focusing your time and energy on that one thing. In a recent study by Bain and Company, research concludes that diversification can be the detriment of a business. First of all, diversification shifts the attention of the business away from its primary course. Secondly, diversification depletes time and resources. As an entrepreneur, you must focus on your core business if you want to maintain an advantage.
- Lack of support is one of the greatest challenges to business success. Entrepreneurs are built differently. Many times we expect family and friends to understand our drive. Yet while others might be critical in the beginning, you must stay focused on building your business. Also, I encourage you to network with other entrepreneurs online or in your local area. Building community will give you the support you need to push through seasons of difficulty and uncertainty in your business.
- A negative mindset is the greatest barrier to business success. Early on in my business, my thinking was my biggest threat. Many times entrepreneurs think too small when it comes to business. In addition, we assume that replicating the models of others will produce revenues. Entrepreneurs understand that time is a tool that we use to leverage for money. Successful entrepreneurs realize that when you provide value through your product or service you are rewarded. One of the greatest things entrepreneurship has taught me is that you have to be a giver. Entrepreneurs are consumed with solving problems and meeting needs. Entrepreneurship is not just about getting paid but about providing value. You must lose the employee mentality if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. With the right mindset, entrepreneurship is an investment that over time yields a favorable outcome.