The harsh reality about starting up and running a business is that 3 out of 4 companies fail every day, and in some industries, the failure rates are higher even for funded companies. The challenges can be many, but each startup has its own unique story.
However, there are some common challenges that have resulted in the doom of many startups. Given below are some of the hurdles you need to be wary of, while treading on the entrepreneurial path, so you have better chances of succeeding.
Yes, you read this right. The founding team itself can be a hurdle for the startup if the right people are not picked for the job. In fact, it is not enough to get people with the right expertise, they need to share the same vision and principles to grow the startup and have to work well together as a team.
Disagreement between founders can be a major reason for the startup to lose direction, focus and customers, thus impacting its longevity.
At a seminar, when participants asked Kunal Shah, Founder of Freecharge.in, what an ideal startup should have, his answer was – “a kickass product, a badass team and a bigass market”.
Having a big market gives you a huge opportunity, because even if you have many competitors, you still can get a lot of revenue from a small market share. The problem faced by many startups is that they have a passionate team which makes a beautiful product that unfortunately appeals to a very small section of the market – a niche product.
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It could be considered as a ‘luxury’ that is priced at a premium by most customers, even if it’s not, and hence, the ‘masses’ may not want to buy it. At the same time, well-funded competition can easily replicate that to put you out of business.
Even if there is not much of competition, you would still have a tough time scaling up, considering the challenge of a small market. Therefore, an appropriate understanding of the market and its consumers is very important.
Hiring A Good Team
Paucity of funds should not be a reason for you to make compromises when it comes to hiring the right people who can take your startup far. A startup depends heavily on the abilities of its team to deliver results and get closer to its vision.
By hiring a team that falls short of the desired competency levels to execute the plan or is not in sync with the startup’s vision, culture and discipline, you risk diluting the quality of work being done and jeopardising your fate in the long run.
Launch The Product
Even if it is not a 100% perfect, don’t wait too long for a launch.
Founders and product heads are passionate and obsessed about how good their product is!! This can sometimes result in never ending iterations to further improve the product. No product is ever perfect and can still have problems even after being 100% complete.
By keeping your product wrapped for a long time, your competition could steal a march over you. Consumers will definitely want to try out something new and if you happen to launch your product after someone has already launched something similar in the market, you will end up being only a ‘me-too’ product with few takers.
To launch a startup, you will need a small seed fund initially. However, even before that, the founder’s personal savings are poured in to make the first prototype, which then facilitates in attracting some seed funding.
Many a time, founders take a leap of faith, which is needed, but without adequate financial savings. It is impossible to survive or make any progress like this. You can certainly get many examples of people who started a business with less than INR 100 in their pockets and are billionaires today, but if you can be in a better situation than them by having adequate financial backup, you should take advantage of it!
It doesn’t matter if you are an MNC or an SME or a startup, there will always be obstacles in the path of your startup.
The reason a startup graduates to becoming an SME to an MNC is that the team can foresee the challenges that the startup will face along the way and plan in advance how to overcome them. This way you’re well prepared and don’t end up stumbling at the crucial moment!