With so many challenges facing every startup and every business owner, you might wonder if it’s even worth the trouble of being an entrepreneur and running your own business. After all, wouldn’t it just be easier to work for someone else and have less to be stressed about?

Perhaps, and certainly, for some people, it doesn’t make sense to be a business owner, but others can see beyond the trials and tribulations, and they know that, despite the challenges, there are rewards waiting for them in the end. If that sounds like you, you’ve definitely got the entrepreneurial spirit, and that’s a great start. Something else that will help you, though, is understanding what challenges a startup business might (or will) face so you’re prepared and know how to get past these obstacles. With that in mind, keep reading to find out more.

Financial Constraints

If there is one thing that could make or break your new business, it’s money — or a lack of it. Business owners often find themselves in a bit of a catch-22 situation, where they need money to get started, but they can’t get funding because there’s no proof they’ll be successful. There are so many things you’ll need to buy as well, from equipment to vehicles to premises, as well as potential staffing costs, and of course, your marketing can’t be taken off the list. You might even find that you don’t need too much money, to begin with, and you can make a start, only to find that you’re successful much sooner than you thought you’d be and you need to scale quickly to meet demand — which also costs money.

Although it might seem like an impossible situation if you don’t already have some money to use, the fact is there are a few different ways to get past this challenge and move forward with your business. One thing is to have a few additional funding sources rather than the traditional lenders (who, we’ve seen, might be hard to persuade). This could mean speaking to angel investors, organising crowdfunding, or perhaps using investments to bring in some additional money; click here if that could be an option for you.

You can also run what’s called a ‘lean business,’ which essentially means you prioritise cost-savings above everything else. This isn’t always an easy business model to follow, especially if you want to push forward more quickly, but it can be exactly what’s needed if you want to grow more slowly (and some would say more safely) or if there’s no other option. Besides that, saving money in business is always a good route to follow no matter what the reason for it.

Dealing With The Competition

Another big challenge that a lot of startup businesses face is the competition in the market. This is something you’ll need to deal with no matter what sector you’re in, and even if you have a unique business, there are still going to be other businesses that sell similar things to you — they don’t have to be exactly the same to be your competition.

The problem is that both well-established businesses and new ones can all be your competition, and that means difficulties from all directions. The more well-known companies will be competition because people will already know about them and perhaps use them, and you’ll need to work hard to show those customers that you’re worth spending money with over and above the established business they’ve been using for years (maybe even a lifetime). New businesses are a problem because they can have more money to put into marketing, or they might just capture people’s attention at the right time, leaving you struggling in the middle of it all.

This is definitely an issue and a challenge, but once again, it’s certainly not one that isn’t fixable — you can get past this. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to show how your business is different to everyone else’s, old and new. The great thing about this is that it can be literally anything, from your products and services to the way you package your goods to your eco-friendly credentials, and so on. Whatever it is that makes you unique, that’s your unique selling point or USP, and using that fact in your marketing to ensure you get noticed can really help.

You can also choose to focus on truly niche markets or areas that are traditionally underserved and underrepresented. If you can find a specific but overlooked product or service or even a whole sector, if possible, you’ll instantly stand out without having to do anything at all. Of course, you’ll need to market your business and do all the usual things, but you’ll get off to a flying start that will ensure you’re noticed. Plus, even if other startups realise what you’re doing and start to copy you, you’ll have established yourself as the original, and that counts for a lot when it comes to customer loyalty.

Finally, if you want to get ahead of the competition so they’re no longer even something you need to worry about, you’ll have to keep pushing forward and innovating. Startups that stay still and don’t try to move on will soon get overtaken by other businesses, and in the end, they’ll get totally lost in the crowd, at which point it can often be too late to get back on track.

Finding Good Employees

Although you might not need employees right away, if you want to grow your business it’s highly likely that you’ll need to hire people at some point, and here is another challenge that startups (and all other businesses) have to face: Finding good employees.

One issue is that the best employees will automatically want to work for the bigger, more well-known companies, as they’ll feel it’s better for their career progression or that the job is more secure. But you’ll need as good a team as these other businesses if you want to grow as big as them, so it’s a puzzle you’ll need to work out.

The key is to make your startup as attractive as possible to anyone who might want to work with and for you, and creating a positive company culture is a big part of that. That means having good values and ethics, treating your team well and fairly, and basically having a positive attitude towards work and helping people within the organisation. The more you can do to make your business a good one to work in, the more people will want to work there — word will spread (and word will spread if your company is negative as well, so it’s crucial to get things right).

Plus, as much as you might prefer not to think about it, the money you pay employees is always going to make a difference in whether or not you can not only attract but keep the best workers. It’s true that startups might not be able to match the salary offered by a large corporation, but you can offer other incentives, like stock options, bonuses for good performance, or perhaps flexible work arrangements, which can be exactly what the right employees are looking for. Even if you’re paying less than other companies, these extras could make up for it.

Of course, once you have your team, you’ll want to keep hold of it if it’s a good one, so you’ll need to think about this aspect of having employees as well. Think about offering rewards for good work (or at least acknowledging it), and offer training as well. When employees know their career development is being taken care of and taken seriously, they’ll be more likely to put the hard work in and stay with you for the long term.

Mental And Emotional Strain

While it might be the usual challenges of money, employees, marketing, and much more that come to mind first when you’re starting a business, it’s important to remember that all the hard work can take a toll on your own mental health as well, and that’s a challenge you’ll definitely need to deal with as soon as possible. If you don’t, this can lead to burnout, and when that happens, you’ll be too exhausted to work on your business; it could even fail because of this.

Self-care is therefore a good idea and something you’ll need to work on if you want to make sure you and your business can thrive and be healthy. In other words, make sure you have time to do things other than work so you can relax and recuperate from the hard work and long hours you’ll be putting into your startup. Go for a walk at lunchtime, get an early night, go and see friends and family at the weekends, and so on. Plus, make sure you eat well and exercise, as a healthy body can definitely improve your emotional and mental health, and it could give you some extra protection against burnout.

And, if you do need extra support, make sure you get it. Talk to a therapist or a loved one, and let them know what you’re struggling with. They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and it might be they can help you get back on track.