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5 common problems faced by startup entrepreneurs, and what to do about them

Posted by Shivali Anand

March 7, 2022    |     3-minute read (544 words)

Getting a startup off the ground is an all-consuming affair and an extraordinary achievement for any entrepreneur. That said, even after launch you will have to work equally hard to keep it running. Maintaining the company requires managing a slew of challenges and to-dos.  

What will make or break your startup, and what determines whether it will be a success? Below are some of the most frequent problems startup founders grapple with.

1. Identifying a real problem – One of the first hurdles to overcome is determining whether the market genuinely needs your service or product. If you create something that no one wants, it will not sell, wasting time and money while generating nothing in return. The way to avoid this is by becoming an expert in your area and by talking with your target audience.

2. Identifying a solution that meets the needs of all consumers – Finding a genuine market demand isn't enough; the entrepreneur must also identify the best solution. This is why validating a company idea before committing a significant amount of time and money into developing a product or service is advised.

Idea validation is the first stage in determining if an issue is worth tackling with a solution that has been inspired and approved by prospective consumers. This step involves interviewing individuals to see whether a hypothesis is true or false, and it's usually done before significant investment in product development.

A technique for assessing the problem-solution fit is by running presales. If a startup's product or service achieves traction, it's an indication that it's time to move on to the MVP stage. If not, they might refine their product and seek market input once more. It is better to undertake any revisions during the presales stage, as making significant modifications after the product is in production can be quite costly.

3. Raising money without losing focus – Obtaining funding is the next obstacle for a startup entrepreneur. They will want to obtain financing once they begin developing their product or service and expanding their business.

Finding investors is daunting enough, with VCs funding less than 1% of startups according to Forbes. But an even bigger challenge is running and developing the firm while fundraising. Startup owners should never put their business on pause until they can secure funding, because investors are drawn to startups that show actual results.

4. Hiring qualified employees and creating a good business culture – Once it’s within the budget, hiring the right people can help make or break the startup’s success. People are the most valuable asset in any company. Finding the right employees also contributes to a productive startup culture.

On the other hand, founders have to be careful to refrain from hiring too many staff too quickly. "Hire slow, fire fast," says the old business concept. "To hire slow means to hire with intention, not reaction … To fire fast is to acknowledge that we're all human and make mistakes," reiterates Forbes.

5. Finding a happy middle ground between work and personal life – Few startup entrepreneurs struggle to make time for their personal lives. While revenue growth is the priority for an early-stage firm, taking care of one's physical and psychological well-being pays off in the long term, both personally and professionally.

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