The 5 most common challenges every startup faces in its first year
In this article, we have gathered five of the most common challenges freshly born startups face in their first year of being “afloat”. If you’re an entrepreneur who is on the verge of starting a new business then this one's for you!
Being in the startup field is never easy, especially when you have just started swimming in the big sea as a small fish among sharks.
“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor'', as Roosevelt said, and we can’t help but agree with that! The challenges along the way are what help us survive and develop ourselves into successful business owners.
1. Financial problems or managing cash flow
Unless you are one of those lucky individuals who happened to be able to launch a business with financial stability or at least support, it is most probable that you don’t have a large preliminary budget or big investors at the very beginning. It is also very likely that you are inexperienced with financial and cash-flow management.
But you have to be able to develop a cash flow projection for at least three or six months, or even a year ahead and take into consideration worst-case and best-case scenarios and adjust your strategy regularly according to previous results.
So the key formula here is always to plan to a maximum level.
Take us for example! In the beginning we didn’t even have a billing process set, let alone a financial plan for the year. But once we started growing both our team and network, we were able to get the ball rolling and start effectively managing our cash flow. Now, three years later, we have set ourselves monthly, quarterly, and even yearly goals. So, never underestimate the power of trial and error!
2. Creating the team
Being financially stable while trying to grow your business is very fundamental, but so is having the right human resource and being able to create a stable and effective team with it.
It’s very difficult to predict what exactly you can expect from an employee or a partner in the very first stages. However, your teammates are those who will define your organizational culture and predetermine your future success.
That is why it’s not only about finding the most qualified professionals but they also have to have the right mindset. Every company creates their own unique environment that comes with its own set of values, work ethic, and expectations and it’s important to find people that are ready to embrace and share them.
At StanVision, we have always said that no matter how fast we need to scale, if we don’t feel like we’ve found the right fit for our team, it’s better to keep looking then to waste both our and the wrong candidate’s time.
Most startups feel pressured by their investors to grow their team at any cost but sometimes it’s better to take a step back than to rush in with the wrong hire.
3. Lack of experience and portfolio
Clients are always searching for some kind of guarantee or assurance about your product quality, especially when they are about to make a big investment with you. The best way to show your startup’s expertise is through your previous experience. But, when you are just starting out, you may not have a brilliant work portfolio that you can automatically present. And so you may also find yourself feeling like you can’t compete on the fiercely competitive market.
The best way to gain customer trust even if you lack the experience is to establish and provide an all-time custom-centric work philosophy while trying to keep up with your mission and vision.
4. Dealing with clients and establishing partnerships
Following up with the previous point it is also good to mention that professional relationships are not easy at all, they can be even much harder than personal ones when the stakes are very high. Customers are demanding and partners are unpredictable, but the truth is that you need both of them.
So, building an appropriate business attitude when communicating with clients is a very important task in the early days of your startup. There are certain rules and generally accepted norms that you have to follow to create and maintain partnerships and business relationships.
The key to creating and maintaining good relationships with your clients and partners is communication! It might sound simple but in reality, the most successful startups and businesses are those that prioritise communication over everything else.
Trust us, we have learned this the hard way!
A good tip we can share about communication when you’re just starting out is to set reminders for yourself when you need to email a client or follow up on a proposal you’ve sent. Your future self will definitely thank you :)
5. Online presence and branding
We live in an ever more digitizing world and therefore you can see that all of the big companies have an enormous online presence which gets updated daily.
We are talking about well-known businesses which still find that it’s worth distributing a big part of their budget or funding for online marketing campaigns and social media presence.
It doesn’t mean that you have to give away thousands to be recognizable, but simply to start from somewhere - be it a local business listing or social media profile that represents you and your product.
To have all this you also need great branding design.Your brand should be something which suits your vision and embodies your style, something that sets you apart from everyone else in your industry.
We at StanVision are professionals in understanding one business’ character and needs and creating a unique design that can win every customer.
Having built our own brand from scratch, we’ve learned what a startup needs in terms of clean and modern branding. The key here is to focus on simplicity rather than going over the top with picking fonts and colors.
Interested in creating your own startup’s branding?
Get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting us through our social media channels:
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