Everything in life has challenges — including leaving a salary-earning job to run a business. This shouldn’t scare you, though. It is just a fact.
You have figured out what business you want to venture into. You have even started on a small scale with the support of family and friends. They are commending and encouraging you to take the next bold step into making proper money from it. Making it a full-blown business and you wonder, “What and what do I need to prepare myself for?” or “I really want to quit my regular job and venture into my own thing. What then are the hurdles I will/might face as a new entrepreneur?”
Experienced entrepreneurs have to deal with obstacles, no matter how long they have been in business; from trying to establish a brand, to adjusting to match or exceed the competition, down to keeping their business profitable.
Here are 5 huge challenges you will face as a new entrepreneur.
1. Financing the business
You are a new entrepreneur, aspiring to run a business which would earn you a lot of money like Dangote and Otedola. Yet, Nigeria today has its exchange rates fluctuating every day like a yoyo and the cost of production rising. Financing a business is not easy, experienced entrepreneurs will concur. As a new entrepreneur, you will have to start from the scratch (most times with savings from your previous job which might not be enough) or from your current salary (which is also not enough even for you and all the expenses that keep piling up). Banks and individuals nowadays are not eager to invest in a business which is just starting up.
So what can you do? Two things: Borrow or Bootstrap. Borrowing might be very stressful, especially when you are just fresh into entrepreneurship and it seems no one, including the banks, wants to lend to you. The present state of the economy being stated as a cause by friends and family.
Bootstrapping involves finding a creative way to get your business going using only a small amount of money.
2. Choosing when to quit your day job
Yes, you have decided to quit that job, but you still have bills to pay. The salary is helping to grow that business you want to start in some way. When exactly should you quit? This is a major challenge as you would be tempted to enjoy the supposed “job security and benefits”. It is scary leaving the safety of one’s job and assurance of having a steady income. So yes, choosing when to leave is a huge challenge.
The right time to quit your day job is when you have a foolproof business opportunity or you have enough money in the bank that you can work with on your business and not be evicted from your home. You need to have money to survive, thus, quit when you have a little money to work with and have a real business plan or when you are already making an income from your entrepreneurial gig.
3. Dealing with the stress of not having a steady income and managing what you have
You were living large when you were working in Chevron, now all of a sudden, you have to manage. It is stressful not having a steady income to look forward to at the end of the month. You want to buy that Gucci handbag you saw, but you can’t. Why? because you don’t have enough. You already put all your money into your business and you are not sure when you will make adequate returns. Some days you will have a lot, other days, you will be close to kobo-less, if not kobo-less in fact. This you might feel like you can’t deal with but it would pass eventually, so be prepared for that time. Living like that can be extremely stressful, therefore, you’ve got to have the mental fortitude to power on, keep working, never give up and never go back to a “safe and secure” 9 to 5 job. Plus, manage what you have by not spending too much, especially on unnecessary things.
4. Dealing with loneliness and self-doubt
It’s a rarely mentioned problem of entrepreneurship, and many new business owners aren’t prepared for it until it happens. Being an entrepreneur is lonely. It’s a singular position, so you won’t have teammates to rely on most times. You will be working long hours, thus, you won’t be seeing your family as often, and your employees will be forced to remain at a bit of a distance. Yes, you will feel lonely most times, BUT you have the choice to remain lonely.
Everyone, including entrepreneurs, feels self-doubt at one point or another. “Oh, will my business do well? what if they don’t like my product? what if that client I sold to asks for a refund? she proved to be difficult the last time, etc.” An easy way to conquer self-doubt is to take a look around you and see all the people who have given up and ask yourself if that’s how you want live.
5. Building a team
Even if you are a one-man show, you will need to employ people eventually. As the workload increases, so will the need for extra hands. Thus, in order for you to be able to concentrate on the business and making sure it runs seamlessly, delivering on its name and reputation you will need to put together a team. This can be difficult sometimes since people come from different backgrounds and environments, with different work ethics and styles. Finding the ones that will fit into your vision and won’t scam you or up and disappear into the blues one morning might take some time. As a small business, it is wise to hire freelancers and contractors rather than hiring traditional employees. It would save you some costs.
Apart from these challenges, what other challenges are you facing as a new entrepreneur? Are you an experienced entrepreneur? What are the challenges you faced when starting off? Do share in the comments section.