With big brands sitting at the pinnacle of the business world, we don’t have to be geniuses to understand that the business world does not favor small businesses anymore, especially startups. This reality exists despite many quarters assuring us that the days of the worst economic recessions are over. Although, there are a lot of people asking is a recession a blessing for businesses, so it may not matter that the recessions are supposedly over. Anyway, recession aside; I want to share with you some common problems that befall startup businesses.
Did I have to mention this one? Oh, yes; as an important reminder, of course. When you are just getting started with your business, you have a mountain to climb in terms of making your brand known to the market. I say a mountain because there are so many brands that are already ruling your niche. In my case, I remember starting a fast food restaurant chain in my local town, only to realize that there were 10 others, which had already established themselves in the market. I know people whose business struggled until I had to shut it down and rethink. Thank God, I managed to get a very sharp think tank on board, which helped restore their business. Today, their brand sits right at the top of their competitors, and there are no signs of being dethroned at least for the foreseeable future. Hence, unless startup owners realize who their competitors are and the strategy they can apply to overtake them, survival can really be a hard nut to crack. For example, cannabis businesses are hugely popular now as it becomes more legal, using BioTrack software to help them ‘grow’ and create ‘business’, as well as trying to create awareness of their brand. As there is a lot more now, these businesses are striving to be seen and to be used so they can keep functioning.
Money is the fuel that drives any business, whether small or big. This is because every business must meet its operational costs, including wage bill, advertisement costs, utility bills, among other costs. As for startups, it can be difficult finding the financing needed to power their operation. And while there are lending institutions and investors out there who can fund startups, such financiers may set very high qualification standards, just to be sure that they will get back their money. Besides, most investors want to be sure that a business idea is so viable and feasible before they can splash the cash. With a lot of uncertainty surrounding startups, owners have no solid platform to convince potential financiers. I remember approaching a microfinance for funding only to be told that “we do not fund startups.”
No expert or professional wants to work for a small business forever. This is because they are always on the lookout for greener pastures, which startups cannot afford to offer. As such, startups find it difficult to recruit and keep talents. Remember, these business entities have to operate within their means, and they cannot pay out what they cannot afford; it doesn’t matter how exceptional their employees are. Besides, startups find it difficult to extend employee benefits, such as profit sharing, salary increment, leave, vacation days, and health benefits, which are common in big corporations. When I was getting started with fast food business, I just realized that the employees I began with were not the same people working for me two years down the line. So, I had to keep on spotting and recruiting talents every now and then.
Technology keeps on evolving, and it does so at a lightning speed. Unless we are keeping up with this evolution, our new businesses may not survive to see the light of the day. And while most of us desire to embrace every new technology that affects our businesses directly, it is difficult to actualize this desire when running a startup. This could be due to a number of reasons, including the fact that new technologies come at a cost, which could be difficult for us to meet. For instance, when I started my food business, it did not take long before the app technology, which allowed customers to request food online, was birthed. Acquiring one was a real struggle for me; it almost send my business on its knees. Thankfully, my longtime friend came to my rescue. As a rider, I had to give him a commission on every food request made via the app, which he helped me procure.