Some days will be smooth sailing; others will be an uphill battle.
Just like when you take a new job in any area, when you start your own business you’re bound to face some challenges. It’s a fact of the learning curve. For startup owners just getting their companies off the ground, you have the added challenge of having to figure out the ropes without the guidance of a superior. Luckily, others have gone before you and you can learn a lot from them. Here’s what you can anticipate for your company’s early days:
Expect a packed schedule.
Developing your product is the building block of your startup. And because your company is new and you likely have a very limited team, you will find yourself working late into the night to get the technical elements done. The other job functions you will be initially tasked with will be more interpersonal, requiring you complete them within normal waking hours.
Wear all of your hats.
As the owner of a new company, you will be forced to wear multiple hats. Those hats will look something like sales, marketing, customer service, and troubleshooting. In fact, balancing all the different roles will be a large part of your day-to-day at first. But don’t worry—as your company and team grows, you’ll move away from the extra job functions.
Keep the cash flow consistent.
Oh, and did I mention your biggest hat? Sourcer of Funds. You will spend much of your time gathering donations or meeting with venture capitalists in order to make sure your startup stays afloat. If you’re selling a product, your main function may be marketing instead.
You’re the resident firefighter.
Sometimes things will go awry. The power goes out, your head programmer quits, or your competition heats up. You will be shouldering every detail of problems that may arise, so prepare yourself and hash out backup plans as you see fit. Your company is your ship, and you will have to steer it to safety.
Project company growth.
Strategizing your company’s future will be a significant part of the early days. Every decision you make will need to be with consideration for the big picture. Think ahead in increments; assess how a decision will impact your company 1, 2, 5 years down the line and where it may require an upgrade.
Network like never before.
A large portion of your time will go to interacting with other people on some level. This may be in recruiting employees, charming prospective donors, attending conferences and social functions, or giving media interviews. Using these interactions to spread the word about your company is a great way to cultivate support and gain word-of-mouth marketing.
Monitor your compliance.
Depending on the location your startup is incorporated in and what field it is in, compliance regulations will vary. Make sure you are familiar with the ones that apply to you, and keep them in check throughout your company.
Keep an eye on the industry.
You’ll need to keep abreast of relevant happenings outside of your startup. New markets will emerge, technology will advance, businesses that would make great partners arise, and the competition can get saturated. As the tides change, so will your company. Stay ahead of the game and the odds are in your favor.
Once you’ve gathered your footing, you can anticipate some welcome changes to your days. Your company will grow in both staff size and revenue. With more employees, you’ll be able to delegate more work and subscribe yourself to more normal working hours. Many of the challenges you faced in the start will begin to even themselves out.
And even though owning a startup presents some hefty challenges, it can also be a very rewarding experience. You have an unmatched opportunity for learning and personal growth while you nurture your company, so enjoy the ride.
Author: Susanne Loxton is a business enthusiast who combines her interest in career and development with a passion for writing. On a daily basis, Susanne works for Aubiz, a compendium of knowledge about companies in her native Australia.