“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs
The timeless art of taking an idea residing in your head has never been something man has wanted more than now. The information era. In a time where intangibles like software have made countless billionaires over the last decade.
Now is the time to create your startup, whether it be a product people buy, a service people hire, or something entirely different like selling slots on the first civilian interstellar leap to some far off planet.
There are a number of challenges all startups will face along the way. Here are 8 of them:
1. Spotting a gap in the market
Often the biggest challenge in launching a startup is finding a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. What makes us better? This question can make or break your marketing ability and eventual success if you can’t find a way to meet people’s critical needs while being unique and memorable.
“You will never become a leader by following another leader’s tracks in the snow.” – Unknown
2. Overcoming limited resources
This isn’t as big of a problem as it was 20 years ago. New startups have unlimited access to free and affordable software and apps that can take a huge weight off the team when it comes to product development, marketing, and securing funding for growth. Still, the problem of networking and procuring expensive equipment is still always a prevailing problem.
3. Finding investors
Finding rich folks willing to shell money out on your idea should definitely fall on a startup’s top three list of mountains to climb. The problem with finding investors often falls on companies that aren’t very successful in bootstrapping the company long enough to prove their concept in the marketplace, and secure a viable customer base to approach ever-skeptical investors with.
4. Relying too heavily on scattered advice
When you start spreading the word that you’re launching a startup, everyone and their grand dad will have advice for you. Even a little constructive criticism if you’re lucky. The tough part is figuring out who’s offering the best advice, and how to keep them close by throughout your entrepreneurial journey.
“If we listened to everyone, we’d be chasing our own tails.” – Jukka Laakso
5. Putting together a winning team
The startup team doesn’t need to be filled with the best of the best in their given specialty. However, you do have to find the right people to make a team that’s perfect for your specific company to thrive. Your people are your company. This is the same way that television sitcoms become either winners or loser with audiences: the popular 90s show Friends is a great example of the right people coming together at the right time in history.
“It’s not what you know but who you know.” – Unknown
6. Deploying successful ideas
If you’re a big toy company like Hasbro, you can afford to put out a few games or toys that kids won’t play with now and again. In fact, the world’s biggest successes put out multiple ideas yearly that just don’t work out. In the startup stage, overcoming the failed execution of your ideas can be staggering, both financially and emotionally for everyone involved. This can make it hard for startups to move on to the next idea quickly, to keep reaching to find those winners.
7. Putting failures into perspective
Failure is a big dirty word. Nine out of ten startups fail. You must fail more to succeed more. Our culture is flooded with this word and it appears we all must suffer through it to succeed. What most startups who eventually close their doors fail to understand is the need to celebrate failures for the information they can offer to help move the company in the right direction.
8. Maintaining vision when trends keep changing
Everyone in business quickly learns the importance of adapting to market trends, giving the buying public what they’re looking for now, and doing away with that which they don’t. However, it’s just as bad when a startup allows their vision to get distracted with every little change happening in the market, to the point where they’re trying to be a one-size-fits-all; or worse, a company suffering from analysis paralysis. Startups need to have a solid vision and capture a niche for themselves before attempting to diversify.
“One way to boost our will power and focus is to manage our distractions instead of letting them manage us.” – Daniel Goleman
Putting it all together and overcoming the challenges laid out on this page won’t guarantee your startup any success. However, ignoring them or looking for shortcuts will make the road less traveled much worse than it needs to be