Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t always as glamorous as it may seem. Some ambitious professionals are blinded by the desire to utter the words, “I’m a business owner”, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
Although being a successful entrepreneur comes with plenty of clout and financial freedom, it takes hard work to get there. You’ll also encounter a few irritating hurdles along the way. Some are to be expected, while other nuisances may surprise you.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most irritating things you’ll encounter as an up-and-coming entrepreneur and how to overcome them.
ARE YOU REALLY THE BOSS?
As a business owner and entrepreneur, you get to be your own boss, right? Not exactly.
This is one fallacy that many up-and-coming entrepreneurs face and when the harsh reality sets in, many aren’t prepared.
Being a business owner is risky. The lines are blurred. There are no boundaries between when your day starts and ends.
Entrepreneurship isn’t your normal 9-5 job where your role is clearly defined and you answer to a boss. You are the boss! And while this is attractive to some people, most ambitious business owners don’t realize the level of stress, responsibility, and uncertainty that comes along with being an entrepreneur.
Your livelihood hinges on the success of your product or service. Your customers become your lifeline. There are no guarantees in business and that means no protected income.
Not only are you dealing with the stress of paying the bills both at work and at home, but you’re now responsible for dealing with all the logistics.
These range from customer and client complaints to deadlines and negotiating with suppliers.
As an entrepreneur, you’re still held accountable but instead of answering to the boss (you), you have to answer to customers, employees, and colleagues.
One way to handle this nuisance is to surround yourself with reliable, like-minded employees that can help burden some of this stress and act as a buffer between you and unpleasant clients or customers.
JUST A FEW MORE DAYS
It’s no big secret that you need money to get your business off the ground. Planning ahead is a huge factor here. Getting adequate financial backing and putting aside an “emergency fund” before you launch your business can help.
Once things get going, you’ll rely on revenue and payments from customers and clients to cover overhead costs. This includes everything from payroll, rent and inventory. But what happens when your customers aren’t paying on time?
If your company bills its customers later or provides invoices, you expect to be paid in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Late payments can stop your business in its tracks. This is a common annoyance for small businesses dealing with larger customers.
These big businesses view one or two late payments as no big deal. They know they’re good for the money and will get around to paying you eventually.
The problem is, many small businesses rely on these payments for day-to-day operations. Late payments could be the difference between paying your rent and being in the rears.
To avoid these headaches, create clear payment schedules and hold customers accountable for paying on time. This may require suspending delinquent or past due accounts.
Whenever possible, collect payments before providing your service or product. You can also create an automated payment schedule to guarantee you receive the payments you need when you need them.
It’s pretty cushy at the top, right? You’re the big boss, which means you can pay people to be your minions and perform all the dirty jobs. Wrong!
Part of being a successful entrepreneur is getting your hands dirty and working in the trenches, alongside your employees.
Most businesses start out small, which means it’ll be you and a handful of trusty sidekicks. That also means that you’ll have a lot of work divided among only a few people. You’ll quickly learn to be a jack of all trades. You’ll have your hands in a little bit of everything from customer service and sales to marketing and finances. Sadly, this means a lot of boring, tedious work.
Lower-level tasks are often the most labor-intensive and unflattering. As your business gains traction and you become more successful, you can hire reliable employees to perform these jobs for you.
Although this is a common annoyance for many newbie entrepreneurs, there are some benefits. For starters, you’re responsible for physically (and financially) building your business from the ground up.
You can also lay the foundation for whatever processes and systems you want in place. You’ll also have a working knowledge of all parts of your company. Once things are underway, you can slowly move out of these roles and take a more supervisorial role.
You can’t make everyone happy and the old saying goes, “The customer is always right.” Eating humble pie is one of the less-glamorous aspects of business ownership. But there’s a reason why so many small business owners list customer service as a top priority.
Just one bad review, customer complaint, or slander on the internet can do major damage to your business, its reputation, and your bottom line.
Large companies are used to unhappy customers and while no one wants a displeased client, big businesses can handle it without much upset. Start-up companies, on the other hand, will feel the effects of even a few unhappy customers. Complaints can cause a huge rift in your business and call for some major damage control.
Another thing that might feel the hurt of a customer complaint is your ego. You may start doubting not only yourself and your abilities, but your entire business plan. Was it a good idea to launch this company? Is it viable for the long-term? Will it flop?
Don’t let a few unhappy customers get in your head! Do your best to make things right and minimize the effects on both your attitude and your income.
Negative online reviews can be impactful. But it’s important to remember that the only thing worse than a negative review is a negative reaction by you! Avoid getting into a debate with whoever left the comment. Don’t get overly defensive or stoop to their level. Instead, respond with an apology (even if they don’t deserve it), and an offer to make things right.
It’s also important to respond swiftly. The longer a negative review lingers out in cyberspace unaddressed, the more likely a prospective new customer will see it and be turned off by what it says.
YOU’RE NOT AS IMPORTANT AS YOU THINK
Entrepreneurs are notorious for living and breathing their business. It’s all you think about. You wake up in the middle of the night to jot down ideas about how to improve your business and make more money. Sadly, you’re the only one doing this.
Regardless of how loyal and dedicated your employees are, at the end of the day, your business isn’t nearly as important to anyone else as it is to you. Don’t take it personally.
Another frustration when dealing with suppliers and third-party dealers is that you’re just one of the many customers they have. They likely won’t prioritize your needs or bend over backward to meet your demands and deadlines.
This means you may experience a delay that has a bigger impact on your business than you anticipate.
The best way to deal with this entrepreneurial hurdle is to be patient and have a backup plan. Be honest about the things you can’t change. Getting yourself worked up will overflow into your work ethic and make things worse. Remember that other people have priorities too and that they’ll get to you in due time.
GUT CHECK TIME
Not taking things personally is a big part of being an entrepreneur that most people don’t realize. When you’re as invested in something as you likely are in your business, chances are, your feelings will get hurt at some point.
The good news is, if they do, it means you’re doing something right. It means you care about the success of your company.
Negative customer feedback can sometimes feel like a punch in the gut and a big hit to your ego, but it’s also an important part of building a successful business. It highlights the areas that need improvement. Whether it’s your website, customer service, or return policy, there’s always a way to make things better.
But accepting this fact can be a hard pill to swallow. Not only have you put your blood, sweat, and tears into your business but likely a lot of money, too! And the thought of making more changes or improvements means spending more money.
You might start feeling discouraged but it’s important to remember that the investments you make now (both monetary and timely) will pay off in the end.
Put your personal feelings aside and focus on what’s best for the business and everything else will fall into place.
So, there you have it, six unexpected but irritating hurdles to expect as a newbie entrepreneur. When things get tough and you feel like giving up, remember why you started your business in the first place.
Focus on your end goals and your “why”. Remember, you can overcome and grow from these small annoyances, they won’t last forever.
There’s no recovering from giving up on yourself and your dreams.