Running a business is not easy. People say if you make it five years they you will have beat the odds. But what they do not say is all hardships you have to face in the early stages of running your business.
If I knew about these hardships when I started my business I may have done a few things differently, or at least been a little more prepared for what was coming in the first few years. Maybe prepared my family a little better. I definitely would have scheduled regular appointments at the hair salon to cover up the grey that was on its way.
Here are the top 10 things businesses struggle with:
- It’s lonely! Whether you have a partner or not it is lonely at the top. Your hours are not 8 – 5 anymore. If you work from home or have a small office all your attention is focused on work. This does not make for a great social life (if any). Remember this is temporary. I recommend that you work with other people who have been where you are, learn from them. They can demonstrate that this too shall pass.
- You will be poor for a while. Unless you have a huge savings, a wealthy partner or a trust fund chances are you will be just scraping by in the beginning. The lessons you learn in this stage will help you make better financial decisions. But it will not be easy, you will have to give up a lot of things like going out to dinner with friends, vacations, gym memberships or new clothes. This time will help your appreciate the money you will make in the future.
- You will doubt your abilities. Starting a business will challenge you on many levels. When you lose that 10th big client, your employees quit, you bank account is in the single digits, you can’t get financing, you are facing a divorce. When you begin to doubt your abilities remember “Why” you are doing this. Surround yourself with other like minded people who can encourage you through these tough times.
- You think you are the only one who ever went through this. Many have been through what you are going through right now, many have failed. But many have succeeded too. Get back up and try something new. Remember there is no easy button. Work hard, keep moving forward and find a mentor.
- Mistakes will happen. If you are afraid of making mistakes you will never progress. Trust your instincts, do your best and ask for help from a trusted source. The biggest mistake you can make is not taking action. Acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, try not to make them again and do not continue to beat yourself up.
- Do not compare yourself. It is normal to want to compare your progress with others in your peer group. Be careful of doing this, spending time comparing yourself with others is just wasting time you could be spending on more important things.
- You will feel clueless at times. It is impossible to know everything about running a business. Surround yourself with trusted experts from people in your network. A mastermind group can be an excellent resource.
- If you build it, they might not come. This is one of the biggest mistakes retailers and e-commerce stores make. Just because your doors are open does not mean someone will walk in. You have to have a marketing plan in place. A good marketing plan is an investment in your business not an expense.
- Your family and friends may doubt you. I have had many “lovingly” offered advice that asked if I was sure I was doing the right thing. If your “Why” is not strong enough to stand up to the criticisms that come your way then it may be time to consider they may be right.
- There is no overnight success. No matter what anyone says it take hard work to become an “overnight success”. And I assure you it did not happen while we slept. The path to success takes hard work, the conviction of you “WHY” and yes… some blood, sweat and tears along the way.
If you have read this and it does not send you running for the hills, then you are meant to be an entrepreneur. Remember a mastermind group is one of the greatest resources an entrepreneur has to help them through the challenges they may face, offer clarity when the road is unclear, and celebrate your successes along the way.