Napolean Hill once said, “First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.”
He could not have been more correct! All of us start our entrepreneurial journeys with that Aha moment of getting a brilliant idea that we believe will help the world or at least some percentage of it. But often getting that idea is the easiest part. The hardest is shaping that idea into a reality and a successful reality at that one.
This blog focuses on the most common problems that entrepreneurs (especially first timers) underestimated when starting a new business. For some of these problems, we will also be doing more detailed blogs with the best solutions. So stay tuned for that.
1. How to get your dream team?
Getting the right team can really make or break your idea, but how do you get your dream team? Should you hire all the best people in a field or people whose vision is in sync with yours or who are really passionate about what you are doing? Should it be young people who will bring in a lot of youthful energy and creativity or people with more experience who can bring in their wisdom?
So what’s the answer?
There is probably no perfect recipe for this problem. But here’s our two cents basis our experience.
Of course, it is a given to look at hard skills required for the role in a candidate. There will be so many aspects of your business for which you will need people who really know their s***. But two most important soft skills that you would need in your teammates are:
First & foremost, get people who share a common vision with you and with each other. You could get the best in all fields for your startup, but if they don’t get along well or each have their own vision, then it will be too many cooks spoiling the dish.
Secondly, people who are flexible. Startups have one of the most dynamic work environment, so you need someone who can adapt to this ever changing environment, handle challenges without getting too flustered. You will be dealing with a crazy attrition rate otherwise.
So it’s really about finding that right mix. Knowing what skills you can compromise on & to what extent, and which you absolutely must have in your team.
2. How to allocate budget?
Some startups manage to raise millions of dollars as investment but majority of entrepreneurs either invest their own money in the initial stages or even if they raise the money, it is never enough. So if you fall in the second category, you will always have to take tough decisions about where to spend the money and where you can avoid it. Most of the startups end up prioritizing the development of the product/service and often not leaving enough money for marketing. You can develop the best product, but unless you can market it and make people aware of it, it will be nothing more than a trophy husband 😛
Or not take into account so many other variable expenses that will keep on creeping up as you start working.
The answer for this one is too detailed for this blog, so stay tuned for a blog that talks about most common budgeting mistakes.
3. How to handle secondary tasks?
One of the things that entrepreneurs often underestimate is the number of secondary aspects needed to make a business run. Opening & handling bank accounts, accounting, paying salaries, managing the office, taking care of employee issues and so on. Once you start doing these tasks you will realize how time consuming these tasks are and not necessarily every entrepreneur will have the knack for these things. Because let’s face it numbers and humans can be really difficult to handle sometimes.
Obviously, the best solution would be to hire someone who can take care of all these aspects. But if you can’t hire a full time person, then get a virtual assistant. Delegate all the tasks, which are time consuming and which you are not an expert in e.g. accounting (even if it’s just 5 transactions a month and you plan to use a software).
4. How to balance between the expectations of investors and the team?
You might have managed to raise a million dollars for your venture, but it always come with some strings attached. Investors often would want to start getting the ROI on the project as soon as possible and if not ROI, then they will keep crazy deadlines for other deliverables sometimes. That would often translate in putting pressure on your team to deliver faster. And unrealistic pressure can have really bad impact on the morale of even the best of your people.
How do you handle it then?
Push back and negotiate! While yes, they have every right to expect ROI on their money and sometimes you will need to put pressure on your team. But it can’t always work top to bottom, as a manager you will need to find a balance and realize how much pressure is fair to put on your team and when you need to start pushing back to the investors and manage their expectations. Of course, that is something you need to tread lightly because well you need their money.
5. How to get all stakeholders on the same page?
Never underestimate the number of decisions you will have to take. From decisions like who to hire as your CTO, what exactly is the product/service you will offer to decisions like which country to target more in your ads to decisions like having flexible timing in office or a more 9-5 approach. Some might be big decisions, some might be small but no matter how matter big or small they can have a huge impact on the success of the startup, team motivation, etc.
There is actually a simple solution for this one. Listen, communicate and negotiate! Real simple, ain’t it?
Of course there are many other things you will underestimate or never expect to become a problem at all. One thing that can help you to handle all of them is to listen to problems & suggestions from others with an open heart. Your investors, your employees, your ex-boss, your ex-colleague, your mom, your SO. Your startup is like your baby, so when problems or attacks come from outside it will be difficult to accept that you did a mistake or did not plan well or follow someone else’s vision. So listen with an open heart and you will always find some solution.
If you have experienced something similar or something that we missed, then comment below or write us here to share your experience with others.