It’s easy to forget that 90% of startups fail, especially when you’re an entrepreneur. Part of the job description is keeping your eyes ahead of you and not giving up, but you’ll get to a stage of company development when you start to get existential threats hurled at you constantly. Keeping afloat in those moments of crises requires a strong mind, and adaptive and practical decision-making skills, which are greatly enhanced by awareness of the challenges you might face. To quote Sun Tzu’s Art of War: “The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand… many calculations lead to victory and few calculations to defeat.”
Startups exist in a hyper-capitalist world. The competition will be fierce, and it might not be fair. If you’re floating a startup, you still have room to pivot, something that you should be very open to doing. If you haven’t already, you should immediately and honestly conduct an analysis known as Porter’s Five Forces. This will help to guide you through the forces at work in your industry that erodes profitability; competition and entry barriers are two of these. If your competition has too much of a head-start or is likely to be incredibly aggressive, you might want to think about pivoting to a niche where the five forces are less overbearing.
You’ve made a brilliant product, you’ve nailed your marketing campaigns and you’ve got sold products ready to be dispatched. The problem many people don’t think about until later on is how their logistics are going to be managed.
If you’re selling B2C via an online platform, this might not be too difficult as there are plenty of companies that can do this for you (for a price), but most companies are B2B, and logistics can make or break a B2B company. Consider using a freight management tool like this one at cocoonfms.co.uk if you need to manage your own transportation.
Hiring the candidate who perfectly fits your company ranges from difficult to almost impossible. To do this effectively, you need to have a clear company ethos that you can easily convey to somebody who will ideally grow with the company, dedicate a good chunk of their life to it and be with you through the ups and downs.
Finding the perfect team member is one of the biggest challenges you can face and it should be a very thorough process. Don’t be tempted to rush it.
Take your cybersecurity very, very seriously. Most small businesses don’t view themselves as at risk because they don’t think they will be particularly valuable to a hacker. This becomes their downfall, as this false confidence makes them incredibly easy to hack and increases the value a hacker will get from them, as they don’t need to spend much time breaking in. Once there, they could either take money or data and run or wait until your company grows, harvesting customer data along the way. Some 43% of all cyberattacks target small businesses, so don’t take any chances.