Overcoming Hurdles in a Startup

February 21, 2017

 

 In my first #AlexTalkTuesday, I discussed overcoming hurdles in a startup! I identified 5 potential issues that might hinder you from achieving your maximum potential, and I discussed valuable solutions to overcome them!

 

1. FUNDING

Funding is a major issue in most small companies! You might have the next greatest idea, but it will cost $200,000 to launch and you don't want to beg your family and friends for a loan. There are many solutions to this problem to overcome the hurdle of funding and get your company on track for success! 

 

The first solution is GRANTS. There are many grant programs available online, through the government, through universities. If you do your research and due diligence, you can apply for these programs and potentially get cash to launch your startup! An entrepreneur out of Charlotte, NC did just this and was able to raise over ONE MILLION dollars to launch her nonprofit! Grants are HUGE and majorly overlooked, so do your research and figure out which program is right for you!

 

The second solution is ANGEL INVESTORS. There are many different types of angel investors and many different angel investor networks where you can potentially receive funding for your company! 

 

The third solution is CROWD FUNDING. There are several sites out there like Indiegogo and GoFundMe where you simply post the project you are working on, and people have the option to fund your venture! 

 

2. TIME MANAGEMENT

Time management is HUGE in today's world of entrepreneurship because you now suddenly have marketing, sales, HR, and every facet of a company thrown at you. Managing your time is essential for the success of any startup, and there are several tricks I use to better plan my day. 

 

The first trick is TIME BLOCKING. Time blocking is the principle of allotting a certain amount of time to complete a task. I personally have found time blocking immensely resourceful because it allows you to see how long you actually spend on each task, rather than having a bottomless to-do list without itemizing out your time. In my daily life, I plan my calendar one day in advance in 15-minute intervals and give that amount of time to complete the necessary tasks for the day.

 

The second trick to more effective time management is SETTING GOALS AND TIMELINES. This commonly publicized technique goes back to the concept of a 'bottomless to-do list' by allowing you to conceive your goal, then establishing realistic timelines/milestones to achieve it. If you goal is to get $1 million in sales by the end of the year, then do the math and break it down into days to determine (for example) you need to sell $1,000 in product every day to net $1 million by the end of the year. Therefore, at the end of each day, you know if you are behind, on track, or ahead of achieving your goal and it can allow you to pivot if necessary. 

 

The third trick to time management is WORKING SMARTER, NOT HARDER. Everyone I know today is competing with one another to see who can stay up the latest, who can get up the earliest, who can eat the least. NO! Your body needs its rest, it needs its food for energy. If you deprive yourself, then you will not get anything completed because you were not operating at 100% during all those extra hours. You are better rested, relaxed, and  rejuvenated than sleep deprived, stressed, and eventually sad.  

 

3. HIRING

Hiring can make or break a company. Depending on how you hire and who you hire, your startup could either be setup for success or doomed for failure. Hiring is a major concern for most young CEO's because it is so crucial to the success of their company. Below are three ways to overcome your fear of hiring and get the right individuals to propel your business forward in the future! 

 

The first technique you should utilize is HIRING PEOPLE SMARTER THAN YOU. You do not have to be a Harvard MBA or a top-notch accountant, but you can hire one! Hire people who have strengths in areas that you lack. If you have a background in sales but know nothing about supply chain, management, or marketing, then hire individuals who are experts in those fields! Don't drain yourself trying to micromanage every facet of your company, you must know where your weaknesses lie, then hire people who are experts in that field to control that portion of your company - they will do it far better than you can! 

 

The second technique plays off the first, HIRE PEOPLE WITH POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH. Hiring people to work in a startup is hard because there is a lack of job security and usually limited employee health/retirement benefits. Find people who are dedicated to your organization's mission, individuals who will stay and treat the company as if it's their own without demanding equity. Be confident that as you scale your business, the people you are hiring will be able to take on larger leadership roles, and make sure they are qualified to fulfill that future position. 

 

The third technique is CREATING VALUE FOR YOUR EMPLOYEES AND FOCUSING ON RETENTION. Hire people who will stay through the tough times, but give them a reason to stay.Your employees need a reason to stay. In today's job market, there are vastly other opportunities for employees at other organizations that might offer higher compensation and benefits. They need to feel that they are of value to you and you need to focus on creating that value for them, so that they stay at your company. Not only will you waste time and money in training new hires due to a low retention rate, but you will not be getting the same quality of employees because they do not see the value YOU are providing to THEM - so create it and focus on long-term retention.  

 

4. LACK OF MOTIVATION

As mentioned earlier, when you launch your own company, now all these new hurdles are thrown at you and you might feel overwhelmed. You might consider going back into the corporate world because of the stability and benefits. Your lack of motivation to continue along your journey could lead to deformation of your corporation. 

 

The first way to overcome this hurdle is SURROUND YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE. This can primarily be achieved through analyzing potential employee's soft skills during the hiring process. Once you are able to form a team of like-minded, motivated, goal-driven individuals, then the possibilities are endless! If you surround yourself with pessimistic, unmotivated, and negative people, then you will feed off their bad energy and it could potentially lead to collapse of the startup.

 

The second way to regain your motivation is to GET IN A SOLID MORNING ROUTINE! Go to bed early, get sleep, wake up early, exercise, eat a healthy breakfast; try a mix of different routines each day this upcoming week and analyze your performance throughout the day to determine which routine works best for you and fuels you with energy to excel through all your daily tasks. Once you are able to perfect your morning routine, your motivation and passion for work will sky-rocket! 

 

The third way to get motivated is FIGURE OUT HOW YOU'RE MOTIVATED AND GET IN A GOOD ATMOSPHERE. People are either internally driven or externally motivated. Someone who is internally driven could be in the worst atmosphere yet continually has an internal drive to be the best; typically these people are introverts. Someone who is externally motivated needs to be in a conducive atmosphere (examples: good lighting, optimistic people, good weather, etc) to excel because they feed off the energy around them; traditionally these people are extroverts. I am very externally motivated - I NEED to be in a good atmosphere or else I am doomed for failure. Once you figure out how you are wired, then you can place yourself in an adequate atmosphere to best prepare yourself for success! 

 

5. ASKING FOR HELP

SO many entrepreneurs today are afraid to ask for help, they are concerned that they might be viewed as inferior, incompetent, or unqualified. Don't let these stereotypes hinder you from reaching out to learn from others! Seek to learn from other's failures and successes. You don't know everything you don't know. The world is full of knowledge, and people are willing to mentor you if you simply ask for help.

 

The first way to overcome this hurdle is LINKEDIN! Especially if you're a college student, everyone will want to help you! Reach out to people who might have the knowledge you are looking to acquire on LinkedIn, connect with other people, and do not hesitate to ask for advice! People, especially other entrepreneurs, WANT to help you! 

 

The second way to overcome this hurdle is seeking out a BOARD OF ADVISERS. The best part about a Board of Advisers is that they typically work for free and would considerate it an honor to sit on the board! Stock your board with individuals who have industry experience and can help mentor you and your company in a manner that positions you for growth while avoiding any risks that might tank the company. 

 

The third way to overcome the hurdle of asking for help is USING YOUR CONNECTIONS. Always be networking and sharing what you're currently working on. You never know who someone else knows. If you are able to effectively market yourself to other people and build strong connections, you can easily use those connections to ask for help or advice when the time comes around. 

 

 

I hope you all learned something from my first #AlexTalkTuesday! If you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please either post it below or tweet me and it might be featured on the next broadcast! 

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