When one is venturing into business, as an entrepreneur, there bound to be some bumps and bruises as you come across new challenges and experiences. For entrepreneurs, the famous saying of “No pain, no gain” is so true.
As your company or business starts to grow, there will be growing pains and challenges. This is not to frighten you, but it is the truth and I am here to encourage you on how you can handle some of those challenges.
To help you get prepared beforehand as an entrepreneur, I have here, Some painful stages every Entrepreneurs should Expect and Embrace. The pains are as follows:
Getting initial users:
The key to success for every services or products is usually the first users. This is because they are the ones who will tell others about what you offer. Notwithstanding, to convince someone to be the initial user of your products or services can really be very difficult. This is because most work goes into trying to influence people’s decision. As a result of this, many companies in other to get their first users, desperately try anything to make sure they achieve this. One of their strategy might include giving out their products and rendering their services for free or even offering a free trial use period. As impossible as this task may seem, it worth’s the considerable effort that it will require to find and win the first users.
Most new companies simply would not work without consumer trust. People wouldn’t get into an Uber, list their home on Airbnb, or even buy shoes on Zappos if they didn’t trust those companies to deliver a high quality, secure service.
As Lisa Stone, the co-founder and CEO of Blogher said, “Wonder what your customer really wants? Ask. Don’t tell.” Your first users will come quicker when you take your time to get to identify what your users need. When you know what they are seeking, you can go and make sure that what you are offering fills the vacuum for them. Return to those prospects and show them what you have done to see if it’s something they want. If they say yes, then you have the first users and that pain has been done with.
Lynn Perkins, UrbanSitter CEO says that “The best way to do this is to first identify your ideal user,” It can be that broad, but you need to know that profile first so you can determine what information to show them.” She goes on to say, “People might have a variety of needs, but you should try to figure out what those top scenarios are and answer those first, as fast as you can. That’s what will make people feel like you’re the most relevant product for their search.” Someone else may have done this. Don’t give up because your prospective first users rejected you service. That doesn’t mean you are not good or that your product will not be accepted. For instance, Harland David Sanders of KFC has his product (chicken recipe) rejected by more than a thousand restaurants before he was finally accepted. Had he given up along the line, there would be nothing like Kentucky Fried Chicken today.
Rejection from Investors:
It can be very hurtful when investors don’t want to fund your startup. It can affect your confidence, your wallet and even your pride. Getting “NO” as an answer over and over again hurts. It’s not necessarily true that your idea is not good when no one else believes in it. Personally, I see it as a sign for you to take your time to find out why there is lack of interest from the investors. It could be that you just have been targeting the wrong type of investors for your business or you need to provide more evidence of current and future success.
Take a bold step by asking those investors for the reasons they turned you down so that you can regroup and try again.
Nutmeg founder was rejected by 45 different investors. But he never quitted trying. The 46th company he met accepted his idea and product. Had he given up, the company would not been as successful as it is today. Each meeting taught him something about what investors were looking for and which ones he needed to target.
Most famous American Movie superstars. Back in the day, Stallone was a struggling actor in every definition. At some point, he got so broke that he stole his wife’s jewelry and sold it. Things got so bad that he even ended up homeless. Yes, he slept at the New York bus station for 3 days. Unable to pay rent or afford food. His lowest point came when he tried to sell his dog at the liquor store to any stranger. He didn’t have money to feed the dog anymore. He sold it at $25 only. He says he walked away crying.
Two weeks later, he saw a boxing match between Mohammed Ali and Chuck Wepner and that match gave him the inspiration to write the script for the famous movie, ROCKY. He wrote the script for 20 hours! He tried to sell it and got an offer for $125,000 for the script. But he had just ONE REQUEST. He wanted to STAR in the movie. He wanted to be the MAIN ACTOR. Rocky himself. But the studio said NO. They wanted a REAL STAR.
They said he “Looked funny and talked funny”. He left with his script. A few weeks later, the studio offered him $250,000 for the script. He refused. They even offered $350,000. He still refused. They wanted his movie. But NOT him. He said NO. He had to be IN THAT MOVIE.
After a while, the studio agreed, gave him $35,000 for the script and let him star in it! The rest is history! The movie won Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Film Editing at the prestigious Oscar Awards. He was even nominated for BEST ACTOR! The Movie ROCKY was even inducted into the American National Film Registry as one of the greatest movies ever!
Having Talent and Retaining same:
Usually, during starting out, there are limited resources available to create the winning team. The winning team in the world of sport are those that have the most money to buy the talent they need.
However, to during startup, there are usually no funds to get the best and the brightest. In most cases, it may look as if you will not be able to develop your product and service or even market and lunch it without having access to a skilled team.
Well, it is not every talented individual out there is looking for the highest bidder. Many want to get in on the grass root and grow with a company because their goals are to be a part of something that becomes big.
You can leverage this desire while also taking advantage of the incredible number of freelancers who are willing to work from anywhere in the world for startup rates. While you may not be able to keep all the talent you come across, there are those that will stay if they see career and income growth potential. It takes effort and not every individual you select is right for the company, but online marketplaces and networking sites put you in front of many fish that are in the workforce sea.
It takes effort and not every individual you select is right for the company, but online marketplaces and networking sites put you in front of many fish that are in the workforce sea.
Realizing you are on the Wrong Direction:
Nothing can be as hurtful as you realizing that you have been heading in the wrong direction with your business, especially after investing lots of time and money to it. You can kick yourself for thinking you’ve wasted resources, but what you really need to do is be glad you realized sooner than later that you needed to pivot and alter your course to better meet your market and target customers’ needs.
One good thing about this is that if you pay attention to every failure, you will always gain some valuable knowledge of things which you could apply to or avoid in your next project.
Benny Luo, the Founder of NextShark, DiscoverMe, narrated, “One day I realized that after each failure, I always gained some valuable knowledge of things I could apply to or avoid in my next project. That was the attitude I adopted after every failure from then on, I focused on what I gained instead of what I lost, because that’s what really matters in the end.”
The same goes for Ruslan Fazlyev, Founder and CEO of Ecwid, who originally started a company, X-Cart only to discover that small business owners already had websites. Instead, they needed a solution that would let them sell online, so he changed course and Ecwid was born. Take what you learned, put toward the new direction, and keep going.
Doing It all alone and Trying to Do It Well:
Trying to do it all yourself all the time and being good at it can have a physically, mentally, and emotionally impact on you. Overwork those muscles and you not only will experience pain, but you could also be doing more damage than good.
While it does conserve resources and feels satisfying to a certain degree, it is important to strike a balance, ask for help, and recognize when a particular area is not your strong suit. This does not mean you are weak; instead, it says you are smart and savvy in your understanding of where your skills and knowledge can be best utilized. Even super heroes cannot do everything well. That’s why they often work in pairs or as a team. So you need a team.
Not Having Support/s:
It could be very difficult to feel that you are all alone without any support on your mission. Stephen King at a certain point during his first book, Carrie, gave up and trashed his book after several rejections. It was his wife that removed it from the trash and encouraged him to try again. From then on, he was successful.
Everyone needs that cheerleader on their side that believes and provides the emotional support necessary to work through the rejection, self-doubt, and frustration. Never give up on yourself. All need to do is to look for a mentor or a coach that can lend their support and advice to help you avoid the pain of working alone. You may even learn more from those that are supporting you.
“The fastest way to change yourself is to hang out with people who are already the way you want to be” says Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder of LinkedIn.
Failing and Closing Down the Business:
It could be a painful experience, watching a business implode after seeming to be going so well. It’s a sinking feeling when you see it fall apart. You feel as though you have let yourself down as well as investors, staff, and family and friends.
It happens and don’t let that failure consume you and inhibit you from moving forward to trying something new. Some of the most successful and admired people have failed many times and they will say they are glad they did. Be like Thomas Edison who said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Henry Ford agreed when he said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Finally, Napoleon Hill stated, “Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” Accept the fact that this particular venture did not make it, learn from it, and focus on making the next startup a success. According to John D. Rockefeller, “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great”
If being an entrepreneur was that easy to begin with, it would not have felt as satisfying as it did when success comes. Pain doesn’t last forever, especially if you are prepared with these “first aid” tips mentioned here. Failing in business helps you grow in character, experience, and wisdom — all of which will be beneficial for growing your business and exploring the potential of other startups. With each startup, the pain points have lessened or new ones have appeared, but when they do, embrace and work through them.
According to Muhammad Ali, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion”
NEVER LET ANYONE CRUSH YOUR DREAMS. Whatever happens to You, Keep Dreaming. Even when they crush your hopes, Keep Dreaming. Even when they turn you away, Keep Dreaming. Even when they shut you down, Keep Dreaming.
No one knows what you are capable of except yourself! People will judge you by how you look. And by what you have. But please, fight on! fight for Your place in history. Fight for your glory. NEVER EVER GIVE UP!
Even if it means selling all your clothes and sleeping with the dogs, its okay! But as long as you are still alive, your story is not over. Trust me. Keep Up the Fight. Keep your dreams and hope alive. Go great.
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