How to overcome challenges of business start-up

Financing and choosing the right advisers are just two challenges when it comes to starting your own businessThe challenges of business start-up are affecting a growing number of people, as starting a business or working on a freelance basis is a growing in popularity. This trend has been among people who may have already had an established career, and now want to work for themselves, and young people entering the working world and who want to be their own boss from the outset.

In fact, there has been a significant rise in young professionals in the 16-29 age bracket registering as self-employed over the last decade – a rise equating to 26 per cent. This is great news and a real indication of entrepreneurial spirit, but starting a business or going freelance isn’t for the faint-hearted. There can be many challenges to overcome.

Here, we highlight a few challenges of business start-up and outline some solutions:

Finance sourcing – this is one of the main challenges of starting a business. Dependent on the business type, there is often an upfront set-up cost involved in starting a business, to cover anything from equipment or premises needed to goods, if the business is dealing in the goods supply market. Even if the business is service-based, there will still need to be an investment for relevant equipment such as a desktop or laptop computer, relevant software, home office equipment such as printers and furniture or office rental costs and stationery/website development. It’s easy for these costs to really stack up. Funding sources have thankfully evolved somewhat and those struggling to obtain bank lending can look to other options such as crowd funding, private equity or even government backed funding schemes such as the Regional Growth Fund. It’s always advisable to seek advice to ensure the funding solution is right for the business. One other good lending source which is growing in popularity is borrowing from family and friends.

Deciding on investment in advisory services – a challenge for many business start-ups is deciding how to invest wisely when it comes to advice and guidance. Professional services fees can often seem like an unnecessary cost. However, getting help on a range of vital activities – from developing a robust business plan, deciding on the correct business structure and conducting credit checks on potential customers and suppliers, to getting some market insight with research services that will help the business successfully target potential customers – is an investment that can help negate costly mistakes or a journey down the wrong track.

Balancing work and home life – being free from the shackles of a regulated work environment can initially feel liberating but any small business owner knows that starting a business requires hard work and dedication – which often means long hours. When choosing to start a business from home, it is important to set rules and boundaries at the outset to avoid any friends or family members popping in during working hours. Equally, it’s important not to be tied to a desk – creativity can often be inspired by a change in environment. Many people like to spend a few hours working in a local coffee shop, communal workspace or even a park. Joining networking clubs or just attending events on a relatively regular basis can be helpful – albeit an initially daunting prospect. Meeting with individuals in the same situation is great for lifting morale, maintaining motivation, learning and providing inspiration.

Learning to adapt – adapting to working alone after being in a traditional work environment can be tough, but adaptability is important. Equally important is the ability to adapt business strategy. If something isn’t working be prepared to change tack. Hanging onto something that isn’t working in the hope that it might is counter-productive and damaging to the business. Being prepared to adapt in all stages of business establishment and growth is key to success – especially in these evolutionary times. There is no room for single-mindedness in business start-up.

For further advice and guidance around business start-up topics, visit our resources page.