How do you get through the hardest parts of a startup?
As a founder, how are you managing to find your way through the hardest and most critical part of your venture? From learning to balance your time to ignoring competition and focusing on value, here are 15 answers from startup founders on how to navigate through the critical growth stages of a venture:
- Learn to Balance Your Time
- Recognize the Need to Support Your Team Always
- Develop Patience as a Skill
- Appreciate Whatever Progress You Have Made
- Promote My Company’s Culture
- Let Your Passion and Curiosity Lead You.
- Lean on Your Core Team
- Build a Strong Support Network
- Hire Expert Consultants as Necessary
- Be Receptive to Feedback and Learn to Adapt
- Take One Step at a Time
- Be Persistent
- Develop a Good Support System
- Stick to Priorities and Always Have a Good Sleep
- Ignore Competitors and Focus On Value
Learn to Balance Your Time
As a founder, one of the hardest parts of launching a new venture is figuring out how to balance your time between the different elements of your business. For instance, when you’re first getting started, you may need to spend more time on the technical side of things, such as coding, while leaving more of the marketing side to other employees. As your business grows, you may need to shift your focus to other areas, such as spending more time on customer relations. Balancing your time is one of the hardest parts of being a founder, but it’s also one of the most important, since how you spend your time can have a huge impact on the success of your venture. To get better at balancing my time, I try to keep track of how I spend my time each week, so that I can make sure I’m spending my time on things that will help my business grow.
Recognize the Need to Support Your Team Always
As the founder of a business, I am constantly reminded that there are employees that are depending on me to make our venture a success. If we are going through challenging times, I need to ensure I can do what is necessary as an employer to provide support for my team. Having this thought at the back of my mind, I can then start thinking of solutions to a particular challenge we might be facing as a company.
Develop Patience as a Skill
The biggest challenge and learning experience of launching my business has been developing patience. COVID slowed things down for a lot of us, and it gave me in particular time to dig deep and remind myself what was most important about my business. I decided that what was most important was to stay true to our mission of sustainability despite the increase in difficulty that demand placed on us. In the end, that decision was the right one financially and is one I remain proud of to this day.
Ubaldo Perez, CEO, Hush Anesthetic
Appreciate Whatever Progress You Have Made
Whenever I feel like I am facing hardships as a co-founder of a successful website, I remember to take a step back and be appreciative of what we have achieved so far. After all, I was able to take a simple idea and do the necessary work to make it come to fruition. Seeing the growth we have made, going from 0 to 600,000 website monthly visits in just over one year, is more than enough to keep me motivated through the challenges we face. Being excited about the progress, however small it might be, works wonders as a source of inspiration.
Promote Your Company’s Culture
I ensure that my venture is properly represented by promoting my company’s culture to overcome my biggest challenge of establishing our brand. With the recent increased emphasis on core values, work/life balance, and employee well-being, showcasing my company’s culture and emphasis on taking care of our people is a marketing tactic that helps attract new talent and humanize our brand. Compelling videos and social media posts that offer a sneak peek behind our daily happenings, as well as glimpses of team activities is another key aspect of this initiative. This strengthens the company’s brand, and paints us as an organization with a solid foundation and a healthy workplace culture.
Let Your Passion and Curiosity Lead You
It’s all about passion and curiosity. As a founder, I have many responsibilities and hurdles to jump over. The best way to find my way through these difficulties and critical decisions is to let my passion and curiosity lead me. For instance, without my passion for fashion and leadership, I wouldn’t have what is needed to push through and I’d give up. Without curiosity, I would not constantly seek to find interesting and inspiring solutions every step of the way and learn how to improve myself and my company daily. If you’re a founder, you have to have passion and curiosity, otherwise, you’re not going to have what it takes to make those hard decisions and successfully maneuver through the critical parts of the venture.
Lean on Your Core Team
It’s undeniable that nothing helps more than having a competent core team when times are tough. A core team can be the foundation of your venture. You may not always be able to pull through on your own, and with the right people by your side, it can feel easier to face and overcome the most critical parts of your venture. Their expertise can be valuable during times when you feel like you’re coming up short and their support will help you discover new facets of your skills as well.
Build a Strong Support Network
One of the best ways to manage the challenges of being a founder is to build a strong support network. This can include family and friends, but it should also include other founders, mentors, and advisors. These people can offer you invaluable advice and perspective when you’re feeling lost.
Another important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it all yourself. It’s okay to delegate tasks and put your trust in other people. This can help you free up your time to focus on the most important aspects of your business.
Finally, it’s important to stay positive and keep your eye on the prize. Remember why you started your business in the first place and what you’re hoping to achieve. This can help you push through the tough times and keep your business on track.
Hire Expert Consultants as Necessary
Every business experiences a bump in the road or a hurdle. As a founder, people are looking to you to find the path forward and that may seem daunting. Here at Ling we’ve reached a critical point of growth and must keep that momentum going without over-stretching our current resources. What we’ve done is hired consultants who are experts in the field of digital marketing who have helped to grow similar businesses to great successes. It’s always important to remember to utilize the expertise of those around you and to reach out and make new connections during critical times. Your team will see you not in any lesser light, but rather as someone who cares for and wants to see the company grow even if it requires extending outside your organization to do so.
Be Receptive to Feedback and Learn to Adapt
Receptivity to feedback and a willingness to adapt have been key for me as a co-founder navigating through the challenging aspects of my venture. I continuously seek out advice from mentors, industry experts, and my team members, recognizing that there is always room for growth and improvement. So when faced with a tough decision, I gather input from various sources before making a choice that aligns with my company’s values and goals. After all, my decision affects me, the team, and our business as a whole.
I also value staying proactive and adaptable in an ever-changing business landscape, so I can pivot and adjust my strategies to drive success for my company. Hence, if a particular approach does not seem to be working, I am open to trying new methods and approaches until I can find the best solution for my venture. Once time indicates that a change is necessary, I go forth with the modifications and adjustments, taking calculated risks, to ensure continued growth and success.
Take One Step at a Time
Ever since I started my small business, my mindset has always been to take things one step at a time. I apply the same attitude when navigating through the myriad of difficult challenges that come with having a business venture. I do this so that I won’t get overwhelmed by the quantity and gravity of the trials that come my way and so that I can remain level-headed when making critical decisions. My biggest reminder to myself is to never make a decision based on panic and emotions.
Being an entrepreneur is a very hardworking job and to establish your name in the market with already so many competitors is another big deal that could either break the resolution of a person or they could take them forward and give them the higher ground to stand upon. It comes with lots of challenges and to overcome them all, one quality that every founder needs is that of being persistent. The job takes up a lot of energy and resources and to bet all of that and not get the results so soon is a difficult thing. It can break the person and their enthusiasm but that is where you have to be persistent if you wish to succeed in the task that you want to perform. Do good and do it well!
Develop a Good Support System
A venture is a project undertaken to create value. However, a venture can be difficult to start, whether you’re an individual or a business. The difficulty in successfully starting a venture is very similar; planning helps you stay focused on your work while motivating employees helps them feel appreciated for their efforts. A good support system will also help you through tough times when financial issues arise or competition increases. Essentially, having a good support system will make it much easier for you to succeed as an entrepreneur!
Stick to Priorities and Always Have a Good Sleep
As a founder, mother, wife, and full-time commercial photographer, life is full. The launch of our pet supplement brand was a couple of years in the making, and it can be relentlessly demanding. Through it all, I knew none of this would be worth it if I sacrificed my family in the process, but I also launched the business because aging well (and helping others and their pets to do the same) is one of my biggest passions. To juggle it all, I do a few things:
– Keep my priorities top-of-mind: family, business, health. They’re not always in that order, but anything outside of those is on the back burner during particularly intense periods.
– Accomplishing the “MIT” for the day – the Most Important Task. Sometimes, this is all I can get done. But showing up is non-negotiable.
– Good, no, great sleep. A lot gets sacrificed when you’ve got a lot pulling at your attention, and I’ve learned that getting a good night of sleep is essential. Everything is easier with healthy sleep patterns.
Ignore Competitors and Focus On Value
Most startups are so focused on their competition that they lose sight of what’s most important: delivering value to their customers. If you’re constantly looking over your shoulder at what your competitors are doing, you’re going to miss out on opportunities to create something uniquely valuable for your customers. This is something that we’ve always kept in mind at Emerald Home Improvements. Rather than worrying about what our competitors are doing, we focus on innovation, customer service, and delivering the best possible product. This has allowed us to maintain a leading position in the home improvement industry, despite having much larger competitors.
Neil Platt, Director, Emerald Home Improvements
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