Developing a start-up can be extremely rewarding. For entrepreneurs it's a dream come true fuelled by passion and constant learning. Despite the start-up journey being often a positive one, we rarely hear about the harsh realities of what this journey entails and what hurdles entrepreneurs face.The following top 10 hurdles should not be viewed as pessimistic and downbeat, but quite the opposite. By being aware of and knowing these hurdles entrepreneurs can not only be more prepared but also more enthused to soldier on.
1. Getting the idea right
Coming up with an idea for your start-up is hard enough. Coming up with the right idea is even harder. The first implementation of your idea will often be wrong. It can take entrepreneurs years to develop a start-up concept, with the best problems to solve often being the ones that affect them personally. Never the less, getting your start-up idea wrong is actually a good sign. It means you idea is evolving, you’re receiving feedback and your start-up is progressing!
2. Building the team
Very few successful start-ups are founded by one person. It takes a team of passionate and knowledgeable people, who offer support and contribute the their knowledge, to turn a start-up into a success. Building a team is difficult, as it takes a long time, requires an understanding of the type of skills you need and the acceptance that not everything cannot be done single handily.
3. Getting business exposure
Once you have your start-up idea, the time comes to share it with the world. Entrepreneurs often encounter difficulties in reaching their audience. Getting exposure is hard, as not all entrepreneurs have channels that allow them to excess, and let alone target, their audience. The development of business exposure strategies requires time, social engagement and creative thinking.
4. There is no such thing as overnight success
Building a business takes time, a lot of time. Entrepreneurs should be prepared to work on their start-up for numerous years, before it reaches a point of success. When developing a start-up things will (quite) often take longer than you expect. Real achievements in the start-up world are often a result of a marathon, not a 1km sprint.
5. Running out of cash
Start-ups commonly do not generate revenue until the later stages in their lifecycle. For this reason, entrepreneurs often face cash flow difficulties. Developing a start-up can be an extremely costly process that requires a vast amount of resources ranging from technology to human capital.
6. Financing your business
Following from cash flow difficulties, start-ups often face issues in financing their business. It is often difficult for entrepreneurs to find investors and costly to acquire business loans. Crowdfunding platforms are, however, beginning to ease start-up financing. The costs associated with acquiring capital and the difficulties in the actual execution of financial planning are one of the most tricky obstacles start-ups face.
7. Getting the right customers and hitting the right market
The focal point of start-ups are their customers. Due to this, it is important for start-ups to be confident in their target market and to have a deep understanding of their customer. Entrepreneurs are often too optimistic in assuming they have found their customers. However, this process is often difficult, lengthy and dynamic. It requires constant effort in learning who your customers are, what they want and what suggestions they have towards your business.
8. Getting the business model right
The business model is the heart of a start-up. It requires a deep understanding not only of the start-up concept, but also the financials and the planning behind it. When developing the right business model entrepreneurs commonly find it difficult to ground their business concept and develop appropriate forecasts for the future.
9. Dealing with forces out of your control
As the world is constantly changing, so is the environment of a start-up. Facing unforeseen circumstances, such as government interventions and market collapses, is part of the business world. Dealing with such roadblocks is often a challenging task for entrepreneurs. However, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger and the difference between an entrepreneur and a “want to be” entrepreneur is the drive and ability to find a path forward.
10. Belief and persistence
Last, but not least, after facing all the aforementioned hurdles, it is difficult for start-ups to not lose faith and continue to be persistent. After falling numerous times and encountering hardships, entrepreneurs may find it difficult to get back on their feet. For this reason, it is important to acknowledge that adversity and hurdles are ok. They make us stronger and more motivated to work towards our goals and our success!