It would be nice to think that running a startup was as simple as getting a good idea, putting it in motion and then sailing smoothly through everything that follows, but you are bound to encounter some challenges along the way. The secret is not to avoid every difficulty but to be agile and prepared to meet those difficulties as they arise. The tips below can help you with that preparation.
One of the biggest challenges you will face is finding the right tool to solve problems. Talking with other business owners and with experienced staff you have hired may point you in the right direction if you are unsure how to proceed. If you run a tech startup, you may not be familiar with accounting software and how it can automate many of your systems. Another area where this may be the case is in fleet management. Having tachograph software and online payments software available can help you ensure compliance with live tach status and remote downloads.
Angel investors and venture capitalists who want to invest in your business are not easy to come by, and in many cases, your business might not be the type to attract these types of investors. Grants and loans are also potential sources of funding, but for many of them, your business needs to already be up and running. You might need seed money. You may need to look into creative options, such as self-funding, possibly keeping your day job, or crowdfunding. Another thing to think about is how you will manage cash flow. Even if your business is in good shape on paper, you could end up in a situation in which you don’t have the cash on hand that you need. You need to plan for this possibility ahead of time.
The ability to learn from failure is a critical component of startup success. Startups that survive don’t do so because the owners never failed; they succeed because the owners studied the failure, figured out why it happened and persisted. However, even persistence is not always the right response. One thing you will also eventually learn from failure is when to abandon your current strategy, shift tactics, and go in a new direction. In addition, being comfortable with the idea of failure means you won’t be afraid to take risks when you need to, which is also important. If all this sounds overwhelming right now, don’t worry. You’ll learn as you go. The key is not to be discouraged when the path gets rocky.
One problem many people run into when they are running a startup is that while they may be very good at the thing their company does, they may not be very good at managing people. Read a book or two about being a manager. Hire a human resources manager. Hire someone to manage your teams so that you can be more hands-off about this element if you need to. Your employees are a valuable part of your business, and they need to be supervised thoughtfully if you are going to retain them.