The Three Biggest Challenges You'll Face As a First-Time Entrepreneur
If you are a first-time entrepreneur then you will learn very quickly that starting a new business is not going to be easy. Yet, how you handle all the obstacles that will stand in your way is a big indication of how successful you'll be.
Finding Your Balance
Before we get to the challenges that come with the territory of being an entrepreneur, I want to stress the importance of balance. Without some sense of balance you won't be able to persevere, and if you can't persevere, you won't be successful.
Let me explain.
As a first time entrepreneur, it may be hard to believe that the new business idea you are so excited about now may not work out... at least not in the way you envision it happening. It may not happen when you want it or how you want it. It may end up costing more to develop, build, or promote than you thought. Maybe you'll realize along the way that the market you've been targeting is wrong, and really another group is more suitable for your products or services.
Success so often depends on finding the balance between knowing when to persist versus when to let go... when to be exceptionally short-sighted and focused and when to be open and flexible... when to push yourself versus when to stop and take a reflective pause.
The following three challenges are ones that claim many a first-time entrepreneur. But finding your sense of balance is the common thread throughout all of them.
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The Challenge of Pivoting
Many of the entrepreneurs I've met and worked with didn't go into the startup process with the assumption it’s going to be easy; they made the assumption it’s going to be predictable. They thought that the path from A to B would either be straight or at least fairly straightforward. But in my experience no one ever gets to B. Instead, you'll reach a version of B, let’s call it B Prime or C, which is usually radically different than where you were headed in the first place.
Business ideas should be organic, not static. Successful entrepreneurs learn how to hold on to an idea at its core, while at the same time remaining flexible to the environment that they are in and to the information that the market is providing.
The Challenge of Monetization
Many entrepreneurs don’t spend enough time thinking about how to monetize the progress they’ve already made because they are too focused on their long-term goals. They are literally leaving money on the table that could be used to further their business while at the same time easing their reliance on outside financial backing.
Ask yourself, “what value have I already created that I can tap into now?” For example, when it comes to marketing, there is more to advertising a business than the pay per click model. There’s the power of the audience you already have and are building, and monetizing that audience has a lot of possibilities.
Related Article: Entrepreneurs: Channeling Passion to Sales
The Challenge of Reflection
One of the hardest aspects of starting a new business is that at the beginning the business is really centered around you. Even if you have a few employees, the ideas and key execution points are on your shoulders. You get in the habit of being in a perpetual state of crisis management that is difficult to scale. You don’t give yourself the opportunity to stop and think because you’re too busy fighting the next wave that is coming at your business. The problem with this is that your energy is getting sapped, and it's over the wrong things.
When I think about scaling up, it’s about building yourself the time and space to stop and think about where the business is going. To do that though you need to extricate yourself from the daily operations of the company. This process needs to start as soon as possible- even if it's just little things that you can take off your plate.
At the end of the day, building a new business from scratch is a process that's full of ups and downs, pivots, and outright changes. If you don't try to fight this reality and instead go with it, you'll have a more successful and enjoyable journey.