THE TOP 10 CHALLENGES FACED BY ENTREPRENERS

Today’s business environment is very competitive with a lot more challenges than before. However, entrepreneurs keep coming up with more innovative ways of doing business and dealing with the growth challenges. Considering this, here I am going to discuss the top 10 challenges faced by entrepreneurs in
Pakistan.

TAKING THE FIRST STEP
It’s never easy to take the first step if you want to become an entrepreneur. The act of launching a business, quitting a job, approaching someone with your first pitch, joining a startup accelerator program, and committing the money to your bank account takes courage. Entrepreneurs who are frightened or doubtful tend to spend more time planning, brainstorming, and making a fair judgment. Many people even find many excuses against moving forward, and with so many choices, making a decision may become more challenging. Do it. There is no
better time than now to learn it as you go. Make mistakes, fail fast, learn fast and relaunch but never give up.

CASHFLOW MANAGEMENT & STRAPPED BUDGET
In small enterprises, this aspect of the business plays a very important role, especially for survival. Yet, many entrepreneurs have trouble paying bills while their checks are pending. It is risky for a small business; for example, if you deliver your services and then have to wait for days for your checks to be cleared, while you have to pay your workers and other overheads anyway. Additionally, you might have a great cash flow management plan, but that won’t help you if you are not having cash injections on time. Entrepreneurs face the challenge of inadequate capital almost all the time. In order to improve cash flow management, you should anticipate the important deadlines and practice proper planning and budgeting for your business operations.

TIME MANAGEMENT
For entrepreneurs, Time Management is one of the biggest hurdles in scaling up. With many tasks to complete, it becomes difficult to finish everything on time, resulting in late accomplishments or failures. As a result entrepreneurs feel stressed and get out of business. One of the most effective skills you can have in life is powerful and effective time management. If you’re not managing your time well, there’s no way you’re going to reach your goals at work and the life outside of it. A good time management plan involves creating goals that are segmented annually, monthly, weekly, or daily while delegating the tasks that others can handle. And eliminating tasks that do not match your goals. For people
who squander and waste the precious little time they do have, they know all too well how difficult achieving even mildly difficult goals can be.

DELEGATION
One of the discernible traits of entrepreneurs is their need to control things. Yet most entrepreneurs have a difficult time delegating tasks, as most of them still reside in their heads. As a result, they end up working longer because they are doing tasks that could/should be done by their team members. You can run a
small business this way but you can never grow. I often wonder how many more startups would succeed if their founders could master the art and science of delegation. Delegation gives you more time to focus on improving the productivity of your entire organization. It allows you to see a bigger picture.

FUNDRAISING
Fundraising is a big challenge, especially for startups in Pakistan. I am talking about the running businesses with the proof of sales and revenues. Even they can’t raise funds and what to talk about those
people who just have a business plan on a paper? Don’t delay your growth waiting for the VC fund or any other round of investment. Trust on your sales process, build it, test it, refine it and launch it. You need resilience and the ability to execute your business plan depending on the initial sales. Sounds scary? But you can do it.

NOT FINDING THE APPROPRIATE RESOURCES & OPPORTUNITIES
Despite the growing ratio of startups in Pakistan, still, there are many small business startups who are still facing challenges in finding appropriate resources to scale up their business. They have
really good ideas but they are unable to attract the right team members for their businesses. Its true to some extent that in Pakistan, universities don’t produce job-ready resources but you always can find dedicated people and make them able to do the job. There should also be a culture of employee stock option
in startups so these young people can see a longer future with your startup business.

MARKETING
Marketing is a challenge for entrepreneurs because oftentimes they’re strapped for cash, and building a brand through marketing can be expensive with no immediate benefit early on. You’ve got to decide how to market your product or service — choose from mobile, social media, or print — and determine whether it’s wise to work with outside agencies. To paraphrase sales guru Grant Cardone, if people don’t know you, they can’t buy from you — not won’t buy from you but can’t buy from you. Marketing introduces you and your brand to customers so it is possible for them to even consider buying your product and service.

HIRING PROCESS
Entrepreneurs who want to expand must find help. At a certain point, you can’t do it all on your own. But finding the right people is a big challenge. You must learn how to identify what type of people you need, how to evaluate them, and how to integrate them into your business so they are vital parts of your organization rather than “gofers” who need constant direction. You must invest time in reviewing credentials and candidates, or employees may actually
hinder success. Here are few tips to make the hiring process less time-consuming and more effective:

  • Make your ads as exclusive as possible. This will reduce the number of resumes that you’re likely to receive, but they’ll be of better quality. Plus, you will save time on selecting the right candidates.
  • Consider real references, rather than starting your search on LinkedIn. This would save you time and get you, good candidates, without spending too much time on the hiring process.
  • Set clear expectations for the candidate and establish a foundation for a long-term relationship. Don’t overcommit at this stage.

DECISION MAKING INABILITY
If you are not taking decisions on time you are missing out big opportunities. One of the most important traits of being a successful entrepreneur is being able to take quick decisions that more often than not, decide the fate of your company. At the helm of the company, entrepreneurs often have to take that one decision at the right time which can define the future of their company. And then they also have to quickly act upon their decisions. Always there will be a certain uncertainty and doubt until you see the result. But what you can do is enjoy this phase of uncertainty.

COLLABORATIONS
It is always recommended to not to take solo flight. Collaborate and maintain a good relationship with other organizations in the industry. Times have changed. Its an era of collaborations not the competition. Through partnerships you get access to knowledge and expertise of the other organizations. Entrepreneurs whose organization is doing well, they may consider partnering with other professionals or businesses but early-stage startups face a lot of challenges when collaborating with bigger organizations due to lack of trust. The best technique to overcome this is to participate in the industry events and conferences. Meet with people, communicate your vision and don’t be ‘salesy’ all the time. Don’t just collect the visiting cards. Make meaningful connections and nurture them with time. Don’t underestimate the power of your network, someone once said,
“Your network is your net worth”. Don’t ask for anything in return just invest time in your relationships.