“In the early days of building Unity, I was told to hire an executive that someone I look up to had previously worked with. Because of the warm recommendation, I went on to ignore my intuition that said something was wrong.
What happens next is the usual story of a bad leadership hire.
You’re too busy to notice that things slowly go wrong for the new person and his or her team. Old team members are alienated; new team members fit poorly or are misapplied. Pressure in the organization grows, but as the recommendation for this hire was warm and so many were impressed by their CV, it takes months to react. The hire reflects badly on the founders. Damage is done and will take a long time to fix.” ~David Helgason, Founder of Unity Technologies, a real-time 3D development platform
Making mistakes is part of a startup. But the sad part is that not every startup founder is willing to learn from these mistakes that would eventually stifle the organization’s growth. Here are some of the most common challenges that frustrated the founders in the year 2019.
An interview done by the Lean Methods Group concluded that Fortune 500 CEOs mark Globalization as the top concern when it comes to business problems. To penetrate a foreign culture, it is necessary to understand the culture so that products can be modified with a local touch or to find out whether the local culture is even going to accept the product in the first place.
The problem can be solved by understanding the global market by gathering information and analyzing the demand of the customers. To scale the business on a worldwide level, it is necessary not just to understand the culture and the people but also the laws and regulations of the government in the country you wish to operate.
Does the number 1,630,322,579 ring any bells?
I guess not.
It’s the total number of websites created in the year 2018. As of 2019, there are 2.47 million mobile apps on the Google Play Store. But the real question to ask is, how will this information help you to grow your business?
Because this is information overload. Any information that doesn’t scale-up a startup is information overload.
The problem with this kind of information is that it feels like an essential piece of information but it is not. Most of the entrepreneurs fall into this false trap of information upload. Everywhere you go, there is a plethora of information out there.
The insurmountable challenge is to eliminate all the information that cannot be converted into valuable knowledge and used to make the business better.
Crunching numbers is good, but at the end of the day, what’s important is what we do with these numbers.
There is no denying that life and business both are getting complex. Due to information overload, specific tasks and activities have no doubt become easier. People are connected on a global scale.
The suppliers, manufacturers, and customers are looking forward to a way to reduce the number of steps required to complete a process. For instance, 3D printing is a fantastic example. The printer analyzes the patterns and creates something complex with just a few steps.
The problem is how to develop better systems that enhance the overall business models, processes and services in a way that minimizes unnecessary complexity.
You might not have heard about any of the above data breaches, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. These were just part of the data breaches that happened in 2019.
Tech leaders have been gearing up for next-generation, AI-driven cyber-attacks.
The security experts are vigilant at detecting and training against these data threats. The year 2020 will not be different.
The founders need to take notice of the AI security risks that can bring their business operations to a halt by gaining access to your IT infrastructure.
So, your product has phenomenal growth. Congrats! You are one of those startups who got lucky. To start and run a business is easy. If you want to sneak out from the typical 9-8 dilemma, then keep running at your normal phase.
But if you have that fire in your belly, you’ll have to scale your business at some point. And mind you not many businesses can handle scaling up.
No scaling up does not only mean adding employees to your startup; it means you need to focus on a strategy and business goals that can handle more customers and high-value clients.
Of course, you need to increase your office space or find a more prominent place to squeeze in the new staff but before that, you need to plan how you will handle the scaling up of business. Here is a fantastic speech by Jack Ma on how to scale your business fast.
Glued to Comfort Zone
Since childhood, we are trained to play safe. Don’t get out too much with your friends. Don’t eat anything from outside. Don’t talk to strangers. While most of these instructions are okay, some of them force us to stay in our safe zones. As a child, it feels lovely to remain in the safe zone. But as you grow old, the safe zone will not benefit you at all.
One of the startup problems in 2019 was that businesses were not convinced to leave their comfort zones at any cost.
Scaling a business is like taking one step back after every two steps forward. It takes grits.
You’ll have to wear a lot of different hats, and you must put yourself out of the comfort zone.
So, are you prepared to take the leap and make your investors beg you to choose the funding? Or you’ll take whatever they decide and whatever they ask without negotiating anything for you in return.
When you figure out the comfort zone in the early stages of your startup, it will help you to drive the direction of your startup. It would help if you also had people in your team that are okay with you leaving the comfort zone.
Not Finding a Mentor
Merely having a great product doesn’t guarantee success. Your ability to take the product to the next level depends on seeking advice from experts. The mentor’s wisdom can help you clear the roadblocks that are holding your startup back.
Having somebody on your back, who can help you in making major decisions is super useful. There are times when you might feel stuck and in those times, you need the maturity, emotional stability and experience of a true mentor.
And, when you reach the peak, make it a habit to share your wisdom with people who need it most.
Finishing it up
Now that I’ve shared some of our top challenges, we’d love to hear about your startup journey. Has your startup faced any particularly tricky obstacles? How did you handle them? Let us know in the comments below.