Entrepreneurship is a journey full of obstacles that every hopeful entrepreneur must overcome if they want to prove they have what it takes to succeed in the business world. And while some obstacles are easier to overcome than others, some can be lifelong hurdles that entrepreneurs must work to climb to find true success and happiness.
To share their own insights into this journey, 10 members of Council for Young Entrepreneurs discuss the biggest hurdles most new entrepreneurs have to overcome and why and what they recommend to emerge victorious.
- 1 1. Feeling uncomfortable
- 2 2. Facing the fear of failure
- 3 3. Understanding their finances
- 4 4. Stay patient and consistent
- 5 5. Do everything yourself
- 6 6. Feeling ‘behind’ everyone
- 7 7. Prioritize and manage their time
- 8 8. Letting go of underperforming employees
- 9 9. Focusing on one idea
- 10 10. Dealing with setbacks
1. Feeling uncomfortable
In my experience, the biggest hurdle entrepreneurs face when starting is the fear of the inconvenient. Entrepreneurship is unique in that there’s always something new to learn: A chef now needs to learn QuickBooks, a dentist now needs to understand paid advertising strategy, and an accountant suddenly needs to understand leads and funnels. The solution to this hurdle? Lean into the discomfort. Lean into not knowing. Lean to adaptation. Lean into doing the things that feel a little awkward but are critical to your growth. Comfort should be what you really fear. Comfort breeds complacency and complacency hinders growth. – Daniel Voskin, Goals Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery
2. Facing the fear of failure
Many new entrepreneurs face a visceral fear of failure. Starting a new business comes with significant risk and responsibility, which can lead to anxiety. Add to that the uncertainty of a pandemic and associated economic turmoil, and there is clearly additional fear for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs. My advice – shared with me by one of my mentors when I started OJO – is to embrace this fear and channel your attention to make sure it doesn’t become a reality. Instead of trying to eliminate fear, use it to propel you forward. This mindset has helped me look around the corner, do business and make decisions that protect the company from the unknown. Ultimately, it was this approach that allowed OJO to thrive and grow during difficult times. – John Berkowitz, OJO Labs
3. Understanding their finances
A huge hurdle that many entrepreneurs struggle with is understanding their finances. Just because there’s money in the bank doesn’t mean there’s profitability, and not having enough money in the bank doesn’t mean the business isn’t profitable. Entrepreneurs tend to confuse cash in the bank with profitability, and often it’s a matter of timing. Understanding your gross margin by business line or service, gross profit by customer, gross profit by employee, and other metrics like these can help you better understand where you’re making money and where you might be losing money. It’s critical to slice and dice your numbers and understand your finances. Some key metrics that I find important are your current ratio, days of sales outstanding (DSO), inventory turnover, and days of cash. – Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, Inc.
4. Stay patient and consistent
I would say the biggest hurdle is patience and consistency. You have to make a decision to keep going, and you won’t regret it. The accumulation of steady, consistent, and incremental effort over time is what constitutes “overnight” success. This goes for making sales, building a team, monetizing and so on. Unfortunately, the vast majority of would-be entrepreneurs give up and throw in the towel just before they start seeing significant results. – Chimesia Emewulu, Seamfix Limited
5. Do everything yourself
The biggest hurdle most new business owners struggle with is trying to do everything yourself or overexerting yourself. While this may be necessary at first, if you don’t have help getting your business started, it’s critical to get to a point where you can rely on the experience and expertise of others to move your business forward . I’ve struggled with this and sometimes keep thinking I have the time to do certain things for the benefit of my business, even though it may not be the best use of my time. If you don’t delegate, you will absolutely burn yourself out, and the company will suffer – not to mention you won’t be in the right frame of mind to give your best. Focus on your priorities first, such as monetization. – Kristy Knichel, Knichel Logistics
6. Feeling ‘behind’ everyone
So many new entrepreneurs think they will never “catch up” to the people who achieve huge things in their niche. Endless scrolling online does nothing for a new entrepreneur’s self-esteem and places them in an endless comparison game that can kill momentum and belief. The solution is to use the people they admire as inspiration by seeing those people as proof of what is available to them. Where others win is simply proof of what is also available to you. – Leanne Lopez Mosley, Solutions for GROW coaching
7. Prioritize and manage their time
Being passionate about the product or service you offer is essential, but business owners often don’t realize that time management and prioritization are often more important as it determines the path your company will take and how other departments will take action. As you build your business plan, ask yourself: What are the tasks that will have the greatest impact? Am I realistic about timelines and deadlines? What can I do now to help my team improve efficiency? Should I ask for help? Being an entrepreneur is a privilege, and once you understand the responsibility you have – not just to your company, but also to your employees, customers and yourself – you will learn to turn your passion into strategy, informed decisions and a long-term vision. commitment to everything you do. – Richard Conte, Virtual stream
8. Letting go of underperforming employees
Entrepreneurs must overcome the fear of making personnel and organizational changes, especially when it comes to letting employees go. Some of the startup CEOs I know haven’t made the timely decision to let go of underperforming employees because the conversation is hard to handle and hiring takes time. They hope that if the employees stay for a while, they will eventually solve their performance problems. Letting go of underperforming employees, especially for a fledgling startup, is crucial to keeping team morale positive. CEOs need to give employees all the coaching they need, but they also need to be transparent when an employee is underperforming. – Chenyu Ren, Markai, Inc.
9. Focusing on one idea
The biggest challenge when it comes to being an entrepreneur is focusing on one idea. The more you jump from idea to idea, the less you become focused on whether your solution is better than what is currently available. A great idea becomes successful when you focus on an idea in such a way that the smallest details of the solution are fully thought through. – Kevin Marcus, Versium Analytics, Inc.
10. Dealing with setbacks
Many people give up after their first failed attempt, but it’s important to remember that failure is part of the journey and that ultimately only through continued effort will you reach your goals. Perseverance is key for any new entrepreneur. It is also important to be resilient and have a positive attitude. No one has ever achieved anything great without going through some hardships along the way. So stay focused on your vision, keep moving forward and don’t let anything or anyone get in your way. The only person that can stop you from achieving your dreams is yourself. So don’t give up and never give up. – Kelly Kercher, K3 technology
Janice has been with businesskinda for 5 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider businesskinda team, Janice seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.