Startup Businesses - January 14, 2012
Entrepreneurs are on a quest to transform their ideas into a tangible source of profits and market share. Aspiring small-business owners undertake significant amounts of risk and responsibility when launching a new concept, firmly believing in the project despite mounting challenges and obstacles. Entrepreneurs possess unique characteristics such as ambition and dissatisfaction with the status quo that drives determination and perseverance. These traits set them apart from other business professionals who don't mind working within a system. On a mission to change an industry and make an impact, entrepreneurs enjoy finding solutions to problems while pushing business strategies to the limit.
Because small businesses and startups are the most vulnerable players in any market, entrepreneurs must maintain these special qualities to take on any challenge that presents itself. Large companies and well-established enterprises have resources, a reputation and safety nets that help operations remain afloat even in inclement conditions. Startups and newly launched businesses, however, have few resources to fall back on when obstacles arise. Instead, entrepreneurs must leverage their own business-savvy, resourcefulness and self-confidence to maneuver through rough patches and overcome roadblocks on the way to long-term sustainability.
Entrepreneurs must set an example for staff on how to manage problems and complications with composure and hard work. Keeping an eye on the prize, entrepreneurs can guide a startup through numerous challenges, allowing the business to come out on the other side stronger and well-seasoned for future fluctuations in business activity. The obstacles startups face worldwide can vary from a stock market downturn to a natural disaster that disrupts supply chain operations. No matter the roadblocks in place, all entrepreneurs can follow some simple steps to weather any storm and maintain sustainable operations until conditions improve.
To prepare for tough roads ahead, entrepreneurs must take precautions to ensure the business is durable despite limited resources and support systems. Business owners have an innate sense of self-sufficiency, preferring to take on challenges and responsibilities without authoritative oversight. This characteristic is important when startups are faced with economic or external challenges. Burgeoning businesses cannot be dependent upon third parties to maintain operations. If the economy takes a turn for the worse, or a hurricane ravages the East Coast, small businesses must work efficiently to overcome challenges facing their own business. Obstacles that affect other players in the market and also impact the startup's growth or operations can stretch resources too thin and potentially drive a new company into the ground.
Once a down economy has set in, and financial resources are pushed to the limit, entrepreneurs should assume the situation will not improve any time soon. To ensure a vulnerable startup is prepared for the short-term consequences of an economic downturn as well as any long-term effects, entrepreneurs must adjust operations to maintain healthy output without jeopardizing future plans for growth. Because a change in the global economy demands a shift in entrepreneurial mindset, aspiring business owners should make changes that can accommodate operations in a challenging environment for a few months or a few years depending on the market.
Entrepreneurs must not only make physical and operational changes to startup functioning when the economy slows, but also adjust behaviors as well. Staff must look to startup founders for guidance, and entrepreneurs must be a beacon of hope in a desolate environment. The worse an economy gets, the more entrepreneurs should tap into their ambition and self-confidence to keep staff performing at optimal levels while preventing hazardous behaviors that could result in costly errors or setbacks. Presenting a bright, cheerful face in the office will help staff stay focused, and inspire them to worry less about the economy and concentrate more on working hard to keep pace with a determined leader.
An economic downturn may cause certain obstacles to stand in the way of startup success, but a natural disaster can kick off a new set of challenges that many entrepreneurs do not plan for. Because a natural disaster takes the control out of the hands of the entrepreneur, many startups find themselves in a reactionary position, struggling to repair all that has been damaged by rain, winds, floods or other inclement conditions. To ensure all business information is secure from even the most extreme weather, entrepreneurs should leverage cloud computing technology to back up data without reliance on physical infrastructure.
Furthermore, when disaster strikes, entrepreneurs may have to swallow their pride and reach out for help. While the natural desire to build something for themselves without help from others is favorable for startups, entrepreneurs must acknowledge when they need someone to lend a hand before losing the business completely. A large storm can easily wipe out operations of a small business, particularly a startup in a highly-competitive market. To stay afloat despite external forces that are negatively impacting all aspects of a business, entrepreneurs should take advantage of community resources offered to affected enterprises to help rebuild quickly and efficiently. Investing in disaster insurance can also help a startup regain any losses from severe weather, providing financial support for lost inventory, equipment and infrastructure damage.
Entrepreneurs must take on the leadership role in a startup, offering guidance and motivation through high and low points. When external factors that are not controlled by the business owner start to impact startup operations, entrepreneurs must be resourceful and maintain a positive outlook. A startup leader not only offers business guidance, but also sets an example on how to behave under trying circumstances.