Like any new endeavor, entrepreneurship isn’t easy. You’re on your own, calling your own shots, and while you get into it with the best of intentions, the outlook isn’t always as rosy as you’d like it to be. Unfortunately, when you’re first striking out as an entrepreneur, you spend a lot of time navigating difficult situations, often on your own and without any sort of map or manual.
There is good news, however, and it’s that you’re really not alone. While there are hurdles, many are frequently occurring ones faced by just about every entrepreneur in his or her formative years. Here are four of the most common hurdles faced by new entrepreneurs, along with some tips for getting past them.
- Bringing in the money.
You could have the greatest business idea in the history of mankind, but if you don’t have the money to take it from dream to reality, you’re probably not going to get very far. Courting investors is never an easy proposition, as venture capitalists have tons of investment options, and entrepreneurs aren’t always natural salespeople who can pitch their ideas to those with deep pockets. Many entrepreneurs have turned to crowdfunding on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise capital for their businesses, but successful crowdfunding projects still need a real sales angle.
To get past this issue, spend a lot of time culling down and working on your pitch. Develop the best angles for presenting your idea, keep your presentation simple, and then practice it in front of a trusted mentor until it’s convincing and appealing.
- Analysis paralysis.
Running a business is a never-ending series of decisions. From strategy to operations to what exactly it is you’re selling, every day means more choices to make. The stakes are always high (it is, after all, your business), and the pressure to make the right decision can be intense — so intense that it can make the most confident entrepreneur freeze up.
Analysis paralysis is real, but it can be overcome. Listing pros and cons can be helpful, as can talking over your big decisions with an advisor, mentor, or someone whose business acumen you admire. It’s also important to trust your instincts and your ability to follow the right path. That said, accept that you won’t always get it right, and remember that making the wrong choice can be a teachable moment; you grow from your mistakes if you allow yourself to learn from them.
- Finding enough time to do it all.
With a new business, there’s so much to do and never enough time in which to do it all. Plus, we hear a lot about companies promoting work-life balance, but what if your work is your life? It’s always a time crunch: your to-do list grows, but the number of hours in a day is a constant.
So, prioritizing is key. Make sure you are making the best use of your time by ensuring that everything you’re doing will help you reach your goals. Delegate or hire out tasks that might be done better by someone else, and cut out tasks that are less necessary. Finally, working hard is crucial for entrepreneurial success, but taking an occasional break is essential for life. Find time to step away from your CEO duties when you can to reconnect and recharge.
- Doubting yourself.
Look: we all have moments when we think we’re not doing it right, and we get scared. But what makes you different — what makes all successful entrepreneurs different — is that you are able to rise above these negative feelings. Yes, you will have setbacks. Yes, you will face failures. Again, successful entrepreneurs learn from them rather than let them define you and your new business.
When you get stuck in a quagmire of self doubt, remind yourself why you decided to strike out on your own in the first place. It’s because you have great ideas, you are motivated, you are committed, and you can envision the success that’s coming your way.
As any entrepreneur can tell you, the path from idea to thriving business is not a straight one, and it’s full of challenges at every turn. Being able to anticipate even a few, such as the four we’ve discussed here, can help you move forward a bit faster and with more confidence. Good luck!