No one said getting a startup going is easy. About 150 million startups appear every year globally, with some 50 million new ones added annually to the list. Moreover, there are around 137,000 new startups launching daily. But even though there are numerous new startups, many don’t survive. In fact, 70% of startups will fail, and for tech startups the figure is even higher – 74% of these will fizzle out. These new businesses simply can’t handle the challenges that are thrown at them. In this article, we will explore the challenges startups face, looking at how to overcome such challenges.
Challenges encountered by startups (more so during the process of startup scaling)
The business world can be aggressive, replete with endless and ongoing competition, leaving only the strong to survive. Competition is one of the leading challenges for startups. However, for online or eCommerce businesses, this challenge is even tougher.
In this type of environment, startups simply can’t afford to make the wrong move or waste a cent. Startups who survive are both aggressive, and creative. They must also during their startup scaling process make smart moves to outwit the competition even from established businesses; not an easy feat, but possible.
According to research studies, you can start by getting to know your customers better – sounds simple, but 80% of businesses simply don’t know their clients. Start by building a stronger relationship with your customers, and do this by harvesting data. The more data you have on a client, the better you can predict what the client will like. You can thus upscale items that match their interests; and send them promotions that are customer-bespoke, thereby retaining them for longer in your buyer’s funnel.
Also, understand your competition. You can do this by simple online research and by using keyword search tools better to follow what both your competitors are doing and what they are not. Then, when you know your competition, you need to ask whether you know yourself − do you know what sets you apart from your competition? This is what makes you unique, and what your customer looks to find.
Then it’s time to design your message, based on your brand research and your brand identity. Once you have this message ready, you need to market it effectively market to your target audience. Note that the target is your market, specifically. If you target the world, your marketing efforts will not be directed to your clients, and your sales will be weak.
One can’t blame entrepreneurs −they are dreamers − but you need to have realistic expectations during the startup scaling process. The issue for startups is that there will be a period when things will boom; in most cases, that will lead to venture capital investment. However, then the unrealistic expectations can also arise and cause a problem. Success can be short-lived, and the situation can change. Therefore, the expectations also need to be adjustable to ensure that the growth is sustainable, when going through the phrase of startup scaling. This can be a challenge, especially with startups having to deal with competition, this distraction impeding growth.
Startups tend to face challenges when they set ‘unrealistic expectations’ following a booming success. Remember, success is short-lived, and expectations never end. This is where startups should translate what the real expectations are. Sustainability is the name of the game. And sustainability requires consistent effort.
Firstly, you should be aware that venture capitalists will invest in 1-2% of startups, which are merely those they are exposed to. The majority of venture capital is invested in companies that have moved beyond the startup phase. Consider other funding such as crowd funding and alternative staffing solutions, which means looking at outsourcing. Outsourcing is a clever move − you can save 70% of a wage if you outsource.
Hiring the right people
One of your biggest expenses will be staffing costs – and when it comes to a startup, a key element is onboarding staff that will fit in with the company culture. This means finding people who have the skills to do the work as well as having a similar outlook on life. Thus, if you build a strong team, your output will also grow.
However, finding the right people can be difficult. Also, to keep them can be a challenge. A solution is to source great people to handle your core work and be prepared to pay them well. Then remove the time-consuming work, especially the mundane and repetitive tasks, outsourcing these. You will find that your highly paid staff will have more time to focus on their core work, and therefore their productivity will be higher. The outsourced tasks can be achieved at the least expense. The funds you save can be reinvested in your company as you scale up.
Know when to fire yourself
It sounds odd, as the CEO, to fire yourself; however, this might be the right choice in some cases. Yes, you founded the business, and it is your idea, but your weakness may lie in both managing staff and delegating their tasks. Many companies fail by destroying themselves from within, rather than by the competition destroying them.
Such businesses are not able to delegate properly. They may never have learnt how to do this; and true, there is also a lack of trust. Also, some CEOs tend to micromanage their teams, getting involved in all the small details, forgetting the bigger picture. However, just as you want your staff to trust your leadership, you need to trust the people you hired to do the work you selected them to do.
Winning the trust of customers
Many businesses, such as tech startups founded by engineers, will draft their marketing messages in their own known tech jargon. Yes, they and their friends understand the message well, but does the client? Most likely not, unless you are selling to another engineer. Also, startups fail to invest in their customer care. However, building a strong, loyal client base means looking after your clients and giving them the best service ever. This is important because clients will go to a business that offers great service, even if the business is slightly more expensive than the competition. In fact, you can increase your prices if you increase your customer services.
If you are simply starting out or you lack the funds to invest in a call centre, you can outsource the work to a virtual assistant to help you with your customer-service tasks. This way, you can offer great service and keep your costs low. This is what scaling is all about – growing but not increasing the losses.
Therefore, embed a customer-centric working philosophy into your business, and ask your staff members to echo this mantra.
Nothing can be solved overnight (it’s a process: startup scaling)
Starting up a business involves hard but smart work. You can also not do it alone − you need support. Therefore, ensure that you select your partners or supplies not just based on price but on the reliable service they can offer. As mentioned, outsourcing is a great staffing solution to cut staffing costs and also to boost morale among your core staff members. Our advice: Don’t hesitate for a moment: book a call to Aristo Sourcing! We are well-placed to help you and your startup to scale up successfully.