Money can be one of the biggest business challenges. It is often the reason as to why a startup up prospers–and why it fails. In fact, a lack of capital was listed as one of the top reasons why a startup fails. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to make a large number of decisions based on money. Should you outsource the software development or learn Python and do it yourself? Should you subscribe to X service for $49.99/month or stick with the free version for now? Should you buy into the accelerator that promises real results by the end of the program?
It’s all too easy to get stuck in the mindset that without a few hundred thousand, or million, dollars at your disposal, you’re not going to be able to get your company off the ground. However, this isn’t the case. From a pool of over 5,000 entrepreneurs, less than 10% were financing their business through venture capital or angel investors. Instead, almost two-thirds of companies were financed by personal savings, friends and family investments, or traditional loans. Don’t let the lack of capital cause you to give up or delay your idea. Make progress with what you have and be creative with finding financial solutions.
Time is money is doubly true for entrepreneurship. You’re racing against the clock, giving yourself (and maybe your team) deadlines, making plans, adjusting for blockers and dependencies, and the list goes on. There’s never enough time in the day for all that you need, and want, to do. Wouldn’t the world be better if we had 30 hour days?
Instead, learn to prioritize your time. Take some time to figure out what you need to do for each day and estimate how much time each task may take. Learn to delegate when possible and appropriate. Take control over interruptions by being protective of the time you’ve dedicated to your entrepreneurial responsibilities. Yes, sometimes this will get in the way of that virtual Pictionary game your friends wanted to plan, but the day will be less likely to run away from you without your tasks being completed. You can also use technology to your advantage in order to save time. We found some free tools that will help with time management and prioritization here.
Self-doubt can ruin a good idea before it can even be executed. Even if you’ve done the research and determined that your idea is worth pursuing, there may still be that voice of doubt. That voice can come from yourself, outside naysayers, or as feedback from a few members of your target audience. During your journey, you may feel discouraged over a perceived lack of growth or even a failed launch. However, it’s crucial to not allow your self-doubt to dissuade you from seeing the value in your idea.
One of the most effective ways of staving off self-doubt is by having a solid support system. This can be family and friends, a network of other entrepreneurs, or even a mentor or three that you can talk, rant, or sometimes cry to. Another useful tactic is by setting realistic goals for yourself. Instead of, “Make $10,000 in the first month”, consider: “Get my first client in the first month”. This will allow you to work towards a goal that’s achievable, but still requires effort to get there. And remember to always reflect on your progress. All too often, entrepreneurs forget to acknowledge the progress they have made, instead of focusing on how much left they have to do. Don’t hesitate to congratulate yourself on the milestones you’ve already accomplished.
4. Choosing What To Sell
“If I had a nickel for every idea I ever had, I’d have enough money to fund one.” You may often have a lot of different ideas bouncing around in your head. They all sound great, as your own ideas often do, but which one should you pursue? Which one has the potential to be a viable business? It’s difficult to determine which idea is worth your time, effort, energy, and yes, even hope. What niche is best for you to try to launch a business in? What problem should you solve? What product should be the solution? And for whom should the solution be? What market should you be in?
The best way to solve this is to do your research. Research the market, research the industry, research the target audience, research if the problem you want to solve is actually a problem to others, and so on. Research is your best friend when it comes to trying to start a business.
5. The Leap Of the Unknown
The unknown is a scary black hole due to its one defining feature: We just don’t know what’s in there. In entrepreneurship, there are often numerous unknowns. Do I have a good idea? How much time should I spend planning my business? Developing it? Marketing it? How much money should I spend? Did I choose the right things to spend money on? Should I quit my job to pursue my idea full time? When should I quit my job? When should I outsource tasks? Am I focused on the right aspects of my business?
The questions don’t end, partly because humans are curious and partly because there will always be questions with unknown answers. The suggested mode of action is to answer the questions you can, think about the questions you don’t have an answer to yet, but will someday, and to not stress over the questions you might never answer. Your time is too valuable to spend too much of it worrying. Pick which questions you’ll worry over, but don’t choose every question. It’s important to recognize which questions matter and deserve time and space in your brain.