Starting a Business? Don’t Overlook These 7 Common Challenges
Starting a business is an exciting opportunity, but it’s also complicated and stressful—which is why most people don’t even make it past the business plan phase. Drawing up a business plan will help you recognize some of your biggest challenges, including what competitors are looming in the market, how your target market can and will respond to your product, and how you’ll eventually scale the company.
Finding solutions to these obvious challenges is important, but unfortunately, their visibility often causes other, less obvious new business challenges to go overlooked.
If you’re thinking about becoming a business owner, or if you’ve started a new business and want to maximize your chances of success, you’ll need to consider these pesky—and often overlooked—problems.
Taxes are complex, confusing, and annoying for business owners. You’ll need to plan for income tax, estimated taxes, employment taxes, self-employment tax (if you’re self-employed), and other taxes, depending on how you’re running the business. After first learning and understanding all these different types of taxes, your next challenge will be keeping track of all your paperwork; a scanner can make things simpler here, but you’ll still need to be vigilant about scanning things in. If you’re new, it’s probably best to hire a tax professional to help you navigate these waters.
How are you, personally, going to make money when you start your business? If you don’t plan to be profitable for a few months—like most businesses—you’ll need to find an alternate source of income. If you draw a salary from the business, how will that impact its financials? What other sources could you tap?
Hiring a staff of employees is both difficult and complicated; you’ll need to choose the right candidates for your open positions, optimize for long-term needs, and make sure you file the right paperwork and follow all relevant laws along the way. Hiring an HR manager with ample experience can help you delegate most of these responsibilities, and ensure you follow the correct process—so long as you can afford one.
Chances are, at least some parts of your business plan will become irrelevant after just a few weeks of operation, and even more will begin to phase out as time goes on. Your business environment will change dramatically, so if you want to survive, you’ll need to change with it. This can be stressful, especially if you’re heavily invested in ensuring your original idea plays out the way you envisioned it.
When running a business, you’ll spend long nights and weekends taking care of problems and helping the business grow. You won’t have nearly as much time to take care of yourself; you’ll probably sleep less, exercise less, and make less healthy food choices along the way. Carving out time and focus to keep your health in good order is imperative if you want to stay in decent shape.
Happiness and motivation.
It’s not just your physical health that can suffer from a prolonged period of entrepreneurship; your mental and emotional health are also in jeopardy. If you spend too many hours working, if you don’t spend enough time decompressing, or if you end up trapped with responsibilities that you don’t enjoy doing, you could eventually succumb to depression and burnout. If that happens, your productivity and health will sharply drop, and you may lose all interest in your business. Prevention is your best hope here; don’t work too hard and intervene before things become too difficult.
Expecting the Unexpected
Until you’ve had years of entrepreneurial experience and have the ability to stabilize your company, you can count on facing far more problems than you’ll be able to plan for. Between unforeseen obstacles, new conditions, and unaccounted-for variables, you can plan on being unprepared for the vast majority of challenges your company will face.
The best thing you can do is prepare to the best of your ability. And be ready to pivot at a moment’s notice.