To say that running a startup is fraught with challenges might just be an understatement. Every new day at a startup brings along new challenges and obstacles on the road to success. Well, most startups thrive on uncertainty which invariably leads to the major startup challenges. If you ask any startup stakeholder (founder, employee, investor, etc) if they face any challenges in the day- to- day operations as well as the larger functioning, you will hear a unanimous yes! One of the major reasons that startups face challenges and obstacles is because there is no single process that has been charted out for startup success.
Each startup has to navigate its own way to reach the top and thus, the startup challenges are unique. Invariably, the unique nature of such challenges makes it a big effort on the part of startups to identify the best solutions or the way out. Undoubtedly, there are a plethora of challenges that startups face. However, quite a few of them may be domain or industry specific. Let us throw light on some startup challenges that are common to all-
Cut throat Competition
One of the first startup challenges that deserves recognition is the prevalence of cut throat competition. Irrespective of your domain of work or industry, you are bound to face competition from big and small players both. You may be a pioneer in your domain on day 0, but soon, the field will be full of competitors. Therefore, high competition is a fact of life for startups. While competition also affects big brands, the impact is higher on startups. Obviously, you cannot change your domain everytime competition comes your way.
However, there are several hacks out of this challenge. To begin with, startups that are facing the brunt of severe competition, need to focus on what differentiates them. Put simply, startups need to highlight and showcase what is unique about them. Secondly, tackling competition requires customer success. Even if there are a lot of competitors in the market, focus on client orientation and you will come out of the competition fix with flying colors.
Strategic Decision Making
Next in line comes the challenge of strategic decision making. More often than not, entrepreneurs and senior leaders in a startup lose focus of their initial vision and make decisions with a blue sky thinking approach. While this may be sustainable for a while, it gradually poses a challenge for the whole brand identity. Other than that, decision making in terms of partnership also poses a great challenge. Deciding who to bring on board as a partner requires strategic intervention, which often gets blindsided in the face of emotions and friendships.
Well, the way out of decision making related challenges is manifold. Firstly, all decisions need to have a strategic motive and alignment. This means that every decision should have supporting arguments. Right from buying the first piece of furniture for your office to deciding what services and products to offer, all decisions must align with your vision. In short, don’t lose your vision in the process of day- to- day operations. Secondly, when it comes to partnerships, be conscious. Your decisions about who to partner with must not be based solely on economic considerations or emotional appeal. Make sure any partnerships you engage in are in support of your business only.
Hiring, or more importantly, right hiring deserves a special mention in startup challenges. While most companies struggle to bridge the talent gap in their teams, startups have a harder time. Well, this happens for a couple of reasons. Firstly, startups rarely have clear cut roles. More often than not the responsibilities are overlapping without a clear definition. Secondly, the culture of work is quite different in startups. While some just adore the flexibility a startup provides, others despise the unstructured functioning.
However, startup hiring can be a breeze if startups focus on a few major aspects. On the one hand, startups need to focus on attitude over aptitude.this means that so long as a person is willing to commit to your organization and comes with a passion for what you do, technical qualifications, experience or alma mater don’t rule the game. Secondly, look for those who come with a hunger for learning and seek a steep growth curve. You need to filter out those who seek a structured work life from those who are up for a new day new learning approach and pick the latter.
Scalability, expansion, growth, whatever nomenclature you use is what is one among the next startup challenges. Why most startups struggle with scalability has to do with a couple of factors. Firstly, startups have a hard time getting the right talent. But we have got you covered for that. Secondly, there is a resource constraint. We will cover that shortly. Finally, the leadership team comes with a myopic vision. The last one is actually the fundamental barrier to scalability.
The way out of this one is no rocket science. Firstly, founders and other leadership members need to have a clear vision which is highly aspirational and a plan to go with it. Unless you have a larger than life vision, scalability will always be a far fetched dream. Secondly, after a due course of time, leadership members need to start working towards scalability rather than simply focusing on the nitty gritties of everyday work. Therefore, the imperative for scalability needs to come from the top and trickle down to the bottom.
Finally, the most oft mentioned among startup challenges is the one that revolves around resources. At any given point of time, startups are struggling with resources, both financial and human. Every startup, at least in the beginning, struggles with making ends meet. There are salaries to pay and other expenses. This challenge doesn’t need much elaboration, let’s jump straight to tackling it.
Firstly, startups struggling with financial resources need to add more revenue streams to their operations. They need to identify ways they can bring in more money to the business. Secondly, there is a need to reduce costs as well, cost saving methods can be an effective way to deal with the challenge of limited resources. Finally, startups need to come up with innovative ways to efficiently allocate financial resources to maximize their return on investment.
Startup Challenges: The Way Out
Obviously, there is no single way out for all startup challenges. Nevertheless, we can help you with going resource lite and solving your hiring challenges. Reach out to us if you are looking for pre assessed and qualifies technical talent to boost your technological footprint.