If you are the person who organises and manages an enterprise, especially a business with usually considerable initiative and risk, then you are an entrepreneur. And just like the challenges of any endeavour, entrepreneurs also have theirs. As an entrepreneur, there are challenges you will have to overcome on your way to the top. Entrepreneurs are commonly known as businessmen because they take the financial risk of running businesses.
When a person decides to start or run his/her own business, there are a number of entrepreneurial challenges that are likely to be faced. Real entrepreneurs who love what they do don?t let these challenges stop them from starting or running the business of their dreams.
You should not envisage smooth-sailing, even with a good business plan; everything proceeds with minor hitches. However, the implementation stage is mostly the real make-or-break point of an entrepreneurial business enterprise.
There are such a wide variety of skills needed at the implementation stage, that no one person can have the skills to manage all the functions well. The real talent is for entrepreneurs to recognise what they do well and then find partners or employees or sub-contractors who can fill the gaps. One way to look at this implementation stage is to look at how many different skills are involved in operating your chosen business, and that without a strong technical basis there is no business.
The challenges entrepreneurs face come from numerous sources including both internal and external. Common external challenges can be brought about by things like competitors; financial institutions that refuse to fund your business; Government in cases where Government agencies refuse to issue the required business licences — among other external factors that affect your business.
Internal challenges on the other hand are brought about by internal factors of your business which are far more crucial to the success of your business. Both internal and external factors require certain different strategies for them to be addressed adequately. Below are some of the most common challenges that entrepreneurs face or are likely to encounter:
A common denominator for all entrepreneurs is the challenge of starting a business, be it through inventing something, looking for a new idea within a business, finding the right opportunity to break into a business, or buying into a franchise. And all of these takes planning — organising all the aspects so that you reach your goal.
This is by far the greatest of all challenges facing entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs go into business with inadequate capital hoping to secure more once the business begins to grow. Self-made business-people often struggle to obtain loans from banks, grants from agencies and investments from individuals or organisations. Loans must be paid back and investors expect returns; even those providing grant-money need evidence of success to keep the money coming should it be necessary.
The real issue is most entrepreneurs face capital challenges a few months after operation. It is therefore important that entrepreneurs do the necessary research to be informed before starting a business, to avoid capital challenges before the first year of operation.
Sticking to a budget is one way of avoiding capital challenges. Also, starting small and letting a business grow at its own pace also ensures that the capital generated from doing business can adequately cover all operational expenses and future expansion plans.
Management problems are also critical internal challenges. Management of a business controls all the very important aspects of a business. And when the business?s capital is scantily managed it will result in a business failing within no time.
Becoming an entrepreneur requires you to be able to self manage. There is no manager or superior spurring you on each day to complete your work. You have to set your own schedule, make all the decisions and work all the long hours necessary to keep the dream of business ownership alive. There is also the need to maintain a professional attitude at all times, so that you are regarded as a serious businessperson rather than someone daydreaming about starting his/her own company.
Time-management is also among the common management challenges facing entrepreneurs. Most entrepreneurs tend to be reluctant in terms of observing the time they get to work or the time they dedicate to their business. Giving enough time to your business is important in ensuring that all aspects of your business receive the attention they deserve to grow and prosper.
Other aspects of management that can also affect a business include poor delegation of duties. Most entrepreneurs starting businesses tend to delegate crucial duties that should be done only by owners to others. It is usually advisable for a business owner to be involved in each and every aspect of their business when starting up to avoid management challenges brought about by delegation.
Amassing the right team in the course of developing a business is another famous challenge of entrepreneurship. The right Team is about “unique strategic business minded ?players?” that will put their hands to the wheel to brainstorm on ways to grow your business.
As an entrepreneur, a team is a necessity in your quest to build a business. Now finding a business team is just the first hurdle, transferring your passion and vision to your team is the real work.
You must strive to make sure your team sees the future you see. They must believe in your possibilities and must also be passionate about making that possibility a reality. Team-members can be made of trusted friends, mentors or professionals with in-depth knowledge of the field you venturing into. Just in case you are wondering how you will pay them, I suggest one of the best ways is bringing them on board as partners.
Most upcoming businesses are facing poor organisational issues, one of which is poor paperwork storage. Paperwork is very important regardless of the size of a business. If an entrepreneur isn?t able to organise their paperwork, then they are most likely to misplace valuable documents such as invoices, customer information and competition strategies, among many other vital operations of a successful business. As an entrepreneur, you must lead by example — if you are very organised your staff is bound to learn and do things the exact way they should be done.
The risks of entrepreneurship are many. You often gamble with your livelihood, other people’s money, your employees’ job-security and your reputation in the business niche you chose. Risks often transform into worries for the businessperson, who then has the extra challenge of rising above these stresses.
The small-business entrepreneur performs a plethora of duties. He is in charge of virtually every aspect of starting and operating a company. These responsibilities include budgeting, marketing, finding a venue, maintenance on the facility, purchasing equipment, and hiring and training staff. The sheer volume of work can be overwhelming to those not completely dedicated to their self-employment dream.
Marketing and public relations
Many entrepreneurs, though have full knowledge of their product or business, do not know how to sell or promote it. A good product is not enough if nobody knows about it. And this is a challenge the entrepreneur must overcome by learning to be creative in marketing, and targetting public relations to create awareness of their products and services.
As a new business, building brand equity poses one of the most challenging tasks of a business. If you do not have a tangible track-record of setting up other businesses or having handled similar projects, many people may not trust you and your company as you have not built up your reputation.
Competition is another challenge that most entrepreneurs have to tackle to attain business success. In this challenge, an entrepreneur must recognise competition as a benchmark for creativity, the main engine for innovation and quality products at great prices.
Competition can make your business lose its relevance in the eyes of your customers, which you should guard against. But without it there would be no innovation; and without innovation, the world would be stagnant. It keeps you on your toes and will drive you to constantly improve on your products and services.
Locating your market
Also important is the challenge of finding ?good customers?. In the process of building a business from scratch, you will come to find out that there are good customers and bad customers.
Good customers are really hard to find. A good customer will be loyal to your company and will be willing to forgive you if you make a mistake and apologise. A good customer will try to do the right thing that will benefit both himself and the company mutually.
A bad customer is just the opposite — they are responsible for bad debts.
This is another tough part of being an entrepreneur. Just at the point when your business is gaining ground, comes the challenge of delayed payments for services provided or products sold. You may have finished the work as planned, but for no apparent reason or maybe some kind of procedural issues, payment is delayed — especially if you are dealing with a large customer. Then there is the second challenge of how to pay your employees and vendors.
In spite all of these challenges, there are still many heroes and stories, entrepreneurism as an established field with a wide range of issues at all stages of the enterprise. Acknowledging these challenges makes it easier devising strategic means of solving or managing them. In the end, the scope of what entrepreneurship involves will continue to change and evolve as the world continues to change and evolve; and there will be some common issue — of how to start a business, how to finance the business, how to run the business — which can be shared and learn from each other.
Are you an entrepreneur in search of growth or aspiring to be that successful entrepreneur? Talk to us, we are here to help you. Thank you, and keep reading B&FT.
By Prince Etornam William Attipoe
PR & Customer Service Expert
NEWMAX COMPANY LIMITED
NewMax Company Limited is a Marketing, Public Relations and Business Advisory Firm
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