Top Entrepreneur Challenges

Since I started my entrepreneurial journey, I ran into one issue or another. I became curious as to what challenges the other entrepreneurs are facing. My research and interviews with others culminated in this list. They are not ordered in any particular rank as each one of us will have different priorities based on what our personal strengths are and what phase of the entrepreneurial journal each one of us is at.

Lack of Capital/Cash flow

This came up many times in my research and interviews and is probably the most obvious one. One advice I’d give to budding entrepreneurs is to focus on this item before you start your journey. Do you have adequate capital or access to adequate capital to sustain for at least one year? Just like building a custom house, building a business will take longer and more money than you have put aside. Based on my experience, I can vouch for the adage ‘cash is king’. Enter your text here...

Marketing & Advertising

Marketing / Advertising can take many shades and my own business didn’t need much of advertising but needed a focused marketing effort for the intended audience. My business plan evolved over a period of time and I struggled to identify the ‘ideal’ customer for my business. Just in case you are curious, my ‘customer’ is a senior level executive who can make decisions on their company’s digital transformation efforts. Once I identified my customers, I focused my marketing efforts on conferences, speaking engagements, writing & distributing strategy papers.

It seems like many business owners also have issues identifying their ideal customer. The marketing / advertising plan becomes relatively easy (still not very easy) once they know what problems the business owners are solving for their customers that the customer would be willing to pay. Please spend adequate time solving this puzzle first.

With so much focus on social media management, I fell into the trap of making that my primary ‘marketing & advertising’ channel initially. I engaged with couple of firms who educated me on managing social media in a smarter way. Depending on your type of business, social media can be a big item on your list but please always take a long term approach to social media management.

Time Management

By far, this has been my biggest challenge. As I started as a solopreneur, I had to initiate and track everything: Company formation, accounting / financing, learning new things, web site, collateral, content creation, marketing etc. Very quickly, I realized that I can’t do everything by myself and started engaging freelancers and outsourcers to do many of these things in parallel.  

Even after outsourcing, I needed to spend time program managing many of these tasks and at times doing it again. As an example, I outsourced my web site creation but realized that the actual copy / content on the website didn’t reflect my personality. So I decided to get that portion in house and outsource only the technical aspects of the web site.

You can look at the list of my recommended tools and resources in this area.

Recruiting & Retention Of Employees

One of my businesses had no employees and everything was outsourced. It may sound easy but recruiting the right vendor and making sure that they can stay with me throughout the projects was not easy. Other business owners mentioned that this is by far their most difficult task and especially when economy is doing well. These startups and small businesses were competing with large companies who’d offer more perks and also people who are more comfortable being freelancers.

I do not have much to offer in this space other than to say that you should have a clear purpose and passion towards your business that you can communicate to your prospective employees.  Many times, I found people respond very favorably to passion and purpose in addition to salary and perks. I know I swayed at least two by talking about my passion and why I am doing and what I am doing.

Administrative Work & Payroll

This one was relatively easy challenge for me as I decided early on that I’d sign up with Quickbooks for accounting and rely on outsourcers for mundane admin work. Of all the challenges, I believe that this is something that can be solved relatively easily. One word of caution though is keeping an eye on your finances. Please make sure that cash flow is happening relatively smoothly (i..e. Not many pending invoices etc.) and you’ll always have adequate cash to stay alive for next 6 months at least.

About the Author Ramesh Dontha

I am an entrepreneur, writer, and blogger. I build businesses and love to share my experiences of my successes and failures. My mottos is: Live with purpose, Be Passionate about that purpose, Persevere through ups and downs and keep exploring Possibilities.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: