What Start Up Problems Do Most Entrepreneurs Not See Coming?
Have you watched the hit HBO show Silicon Valley? It’s a comedy about a young coder, Richard Hendricks, who designs a revolutionary algorithm, and decides to use that coding to startup his own IP. Along the way, he schmoozes investors, recruits talented employees, and fights off the advances of his competition all while dealing with massive anxiety and insecurity. Critics have praised the show for its unique perspective, and for spotlighting the unforeseen problems entrepreneurs face. However, how real these problems for actual startups?
The Unexpected Problems Entrepreneurs Don’t See Coming
- Balancing the Money– One of the first things that most entrepreneurs expect to deal with is cash flow, so they prepare exhaustively. But cash flow problems are very fluid, often ebbing and waning not only with your product’s market, but also with the availability of resources, and the company’s own success. A huge order can kill a company as soon as bolster it because the funds or resources necessary to fill the order might not be available. This makes moderate growth and saving capital essential for most businesses before they can go all in with a huge order or expansion, and few expect to have to resist the temptation of undertaking an order that is too large to handle.
- Relationships– Just like your dating life, there are going to be good relationships and bad relationships when handling business. Company founders need to get along while still setting a good example of leadership for a company. Investors that share your vision for your company are needed, otherwise they could try to take over and steer your business away from your original goal. Employees need talent, work ethic, and the personality to get along with their coworkers. All these elements have to be managed, and you also have to remember that buyers or your products, and suppliers of your resources have their own separate business plans and agendas. That requires a certain adaptability.
- Being Alone– When running things from the top, it can be lonely. Everyone in the company is looking to you for guidance, and there often aren’t any answers to be had in a book somewhere. You have to blaze trails and make decisions, and you often can’t rely on your usual sources of support for help. Spouses are dependent upon your guidance in what is usually shared risk in a new business. Family members, who may have invested in you could see your need for support as risking their investment. Employees look to you for leadership when things get rough. This is why many experienced entrepreneurs enlist the help of an advisor or counselor unattached to their business. It may seem like a stretch for a fresh startup founder to consider such a measure, but when the chips are down, having such an autonomous sounding board could be invaluable.
Other areas that can sneak up on fresh entrepreneurs are business law, planning, and taxes. These areas often take a particular specialization, and with so many other aspects of the business occupying the mind or a startup founder, it may be better to ask someone with experience for help. There are many things that can sour a business, don’t let the law be one of them.
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