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The 3 Biggest Challenges You Face When Starting a Business

All entrepreneurs should be prepared for these obstacles.

Westend61 / Getty Images
Westend61 / Getty Images

We all know that starting a business is risky. Being in a stable job where you’re getting a paycheck every month is so much easier than leaving and doing everything on your own.

But despite its ups and downs, starting your own business provides you with opportunities and rewards that being a cog in the wheel at another organization just can’t.

When I was working for mostly corporate companies like Google and Amazon, my job was, in large part, to do what I’d been told to do. But I was a self-starter, even inside those companies, and I enjoyed doing that more than just completing tasks and meeting others’ expectations. So I decided to take the leap and start my first company.

I quickly realized that when you start a business, there’s no one to tell you what’s right, what’s wrong, and what should be done — you just have to experiment on your own and go forward with it.

To me, that’s exciting. Getting an idea, then implementing it and seeing it through — that’s the best part.

But with the thrill of starting my own business also came a lot of challenges. These are three major obstacles to starting a company that anyone taking the leap into entrepreneurship should know about.

Challenge 1: There’s no organization.

Because there’s no one there to tell you how to structure your big idea, you’ll likely find that you’re completely disorganized at the start. It’s important that you get this under control first thing.

There’s no single blueprint of how to build a startup — it’s different every single time. And building your company can be especially difficult in the beginning because everything will feel like a priority, but you might only have yourself to rely on.

This is normal.

But as a business owner, you need to be able to have a basic understanding of everything. Even though you don’t know all of it — I’m not an expert at accounting, for example — you need to have the desire to quickly learn something and incorporate it into your company.

Keeping things organized from the start — whether it’s the documents you have, your storage system, or how you track invoices and deadlines — will only help you in the long run when you’re in the middle of what feels like chaos.

Challenge 2: There’s no staff.

Initially, you’re going to start out either alone or with maybe one or two other people. But as your business grows and your needs increase, you’ll bring on new staff members. Depending on your industry, it might be difficult to find these people. Blockchain, for example, is so new that finding qualified applicants was a challenge for me.

But you might get lucky and find some really good candidates who are perfect for what the business needs in the moment.

Unfortunately, once that talent comes on board, you might find you don’t work as well with these newcomers as you did when it was just you manning the wheel of your company’s ship.

One of the challenges will be learning to work with different people in order to accomplish the greatest amount of good for your new company.

Plus, hiring on more staff will allow you to have varying viewpoints for tackling problems. Having multiple people to vote on conflict resolution was critical to our success at Bee Token.

We had founding-team meetings where we’d decide on major decisions through a vote. If we didn’t get a unanimous vote, then we’d discuss the issue until we could come to one. Resolving conflict in this way challenged us to describe the problem and what the best solution moving forward would be.

Challenge 3: There are no defined roles.

In a startup environment, it’s helpful to have people who can do just about everything your business needs. But as time goes on, you’ll want to solidify each role and its expectations. Not only is this harder than it sounds, but it can also create major conflict within your company.

Although creating more defined roles might spur conflict, it’s crucial to move forward with a plan that accounts for this so that your business can stay afloat as it scales.

No matter what kind of business you’re in, one of the best things you can do when starting out is ask for help, especially when it comes to navigating challenges.

A good place to look to is other founders. Experienced entrepreneurs want to help you succeed and are usually more than happy to share what they’ve learned, even if they’re in a different industry.

In the end, the only way to learn something is to do it and see how it goes. It might pay off or it might fail, but you’ll never know if you don’t take the leap. Be willing to take the risk.

Originally published at medium.com

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