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The Roller-coaster Ride of an Entrepreneur

October 25, 2010

This entrepreneurial journey comes with many high points and low ones; several rewards and even more challenges. All those on the road of entrepreneurship will realize that it is one with many trying moments and it really isn’t all that easy as envisioned. The hardships in any entrepreneurial venture vary in different ways. Some of them are listed below

1. Challenges within you: An entrepreneur goes through a range of emotions during the early years. One of the most common ones is fear: Fear of failure, fear of losing money, fear of rejection, fear of having to resume an employee status, etc. Another emotion that has to be dealt with is that of doubt. Till the moment of glory has arrived, several questions about doing the right thing and making the right decisions nag an entrepreneur. The pressure to succeed and not lose face to friends and family is another stressful element.

2. Challenges of developing a vision and an idea: One of the first challenges of all entrepreneurs is defining a clear vision for your product or service. As is often said, it’s all in the story and a very plausible one at that. As you grow, your competitive advantage will become more and more pronounced, and hence it’s important that both vision and service are aligned with it. Though the long-term benefits and positioning will constantly evolve, depending on client needs and market scenarios, the crux of the vision will continue.

3. Challenges with your time and energy: Initially, one is trying to cope with many things: meeting client expectations, being on the top of things, outperforming, over-promising and even over-delivering. Not to mention, one is constantly at the receiving end of truckloads of information about the new business, about running it and promoting it. What starts out as a learning journey sometimes becomes extremely overwhelming. Thus, what is important is to continuously sieve the good from the bad. Going the extra mile, often a temptation, can soon lead to a burnout. Hence, it’s very essential to know when to say no.

4. Challenges with employees: Attracting and retaining talent is one of the primary concerns of most businesses. You may have barely managed to train a particular employee when he gives you his resignation or is taken away by a competitor for a better salary. Similarly, there is no real fool-proof way of determining their credentials. In India, particularly, a lot can be manipulated and changed to suit people’s needs like fake certificates and degrees. To cushion yourself from such problems, it often becomes necessary to see that some employees are multi-taskers who can fill in for others. Another alternative is outsourcing for some of the bigger projects so that the business doesn’t suffer.

5. Challenges from competition: While several view competition as healthy, the demands of it can sometimes be too much to handle. This is especially reflected in pricing. Within the same industry, you will find several smaller companies who offer the same service for a pittance and often take away a well-established client. Moreover, with the global market now open to all, anyone can bid at cheaper rates. This can be extremely disillusioning in the beginning, but once you realize that there is place for everyone, such anxieties are short-lived.
6. Challenges of finding good clients: One of the most important challenges of entrepreneurship is not just to find clientele, but finding “good clientele”. Unrealistic demanding clients, dissatisfied with everything and paying low rates can be very disturbing and unsettling. In the start, one may not want to say no to taking on problematic clients, but once you get more confident of your enterprise, you will realize who to take on and who not to and eventually develop a good working relationship with the good ones.

7. Challenges with payments: Pending payments are always an issue when you are an entrepreneur. And sometimes, no matter how often you have reminded your clients about long overdue bills, the money takes forever to come in. And while the clients’ payments are still to come in, your own are constantly increasing on salaries, overhead expenses, vendor payments and research for new projects. Thus, to absorb all these unforeseen expenses, it is essential to ensure a positive cash flow.

8. Challenges of raising funds: In the first years, raising funds is one of the most crucial factors. Should it be sourced from friends and family, should there be an angel investor or should you invest your own capital, are some questions that have to be tackled at the early stages of your venture. Capital is again needed when your venture is headed for expansion. Putting together a sound business plan, backed with the conviction of your product story, are the first steps of garnering funds for your venture.

9. Challenges of forming the right team: Bringing the right people on board and finding the right vendors is another challenge of entrepreneurship. What is important is to network a lot and ask around for any information that you may need. It is also good to keep brainstorming with partners and employees on ways to grow your business. Moreover, getting the right people together will complement your own strengths and weaknesses. An important factor is sharing your vision and passion with all those who work for you. This will help them deliver better.

10. Challenges while tiding trends: Changing trends can be quite unnerving, but it is something you must be prepared for. As an entrepreneur, it becomes important to foresee what others can’t and for this, one must constantly stay abreast of trends and lucrative opportunities. Many profitable businesses have gone under because of the inability to ride the next trend wave. Seasoned entrepreneurs know how to befriend trends and use them to their advantage. Thus, anticipating and adapting to changing trends is an important mantra for survival.

The entrepreneurial journey is definitely not a smooth-sailing one. The bumps and bends are many, but once you get used to it and learn the ropes, you are sure to enjoy it, especially if you are a true entrepreneur at heart.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 26, 2010 9:46 am

    Bertrand Russell~ Man needs for his happiness not only the enjoyment of this or that but hope and enterprise and change.

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