Be Prepared for These 4 Entrepreneurial Challenges
You didn’t become a young entrepreneur because it seemed easy, right? We here at the Kantner Foundation know quite well how hard young entrepreneurs work at everything they do, from athletics to running a business. You rise to every challenge you face. You earn every success.
In some ways, entrepreneurship is no different than any other aspect of your life. With solid preparation and a positive attitude, you can make all your dreams come true. And just like with everything else, there will be challenges along the way. While you can’t foresee every bump in the road, you can prepare for some of the most common challenges you’ll face.
Here are the top 4 challenges most entrepreneurs will face at some point on their journey, and how you can prepare to overcome them.
We live in a world full of instant gratification. You want it, you got it. You need information, it’s at your fingertips.
But entrepreneurship takes time. Even if you are full of great ideas, it’s unlikely you’ll go from ideation to launch to profit in a matter of days. (Though, if you do, please let us know.) You have plans to make, research to do, funding to get…and that’s before you launch.
No matter the size of your startup, don’t expect overnight results. Rushing into things is a sure way to make mistakes and lose money. Just like you had to learn your ABCs before you could read, write, and ace that AP English exam, you need to take a deep breath, step back, and settle in for the long haul.
What you can do right now: Entrepreneur Magazine has a great 12-month schedule for launching a startup. If that’s not quick enough for you, or if you feel like your idea isn’t complicated enough that you need a full year, read the article anyway and take what advice you can. The important thing to remember is that you should expect, at the very least, a months-long timeline.
Then we have the opposite of expecting instant gratification: procrastination. We know that the road to success can be tough, especially for young entrepreneurs who are just starting out. It’s easy to put things off for another day. When this is an enterprise you’re taking on for your own gratification, when the only person you’re answering to is you, and when there are no deadlines except those you create, it can be tough to motivate.
Or perhaps you’re more of an “ideas” person. But once you’re faced with the reality of getting started and, you know, doing the work, you freeze up. Maybe you’re just overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done and so you hit a mental block. Whatever excuse you use, it’s just that: an excuse.
What you can do right now: First, recognize that you are procrastinating. Do you really need to wash your backpack today, or are you avoiding another task? Next, break down everything that has to get done into smaller, manageable tasks. Make a to-do list so you can check off each task as you finish. Give yourself a timeline and create a rewards system for hitting those deadlines, even if they are self-imposed.
“Marketing” is one of those words that means a lot of things all at once. It refers to your brand, how you sell it, how you gain customers, keep customers, and more. This is why major companies have entire marketing teams!
Young entrepreneurs like you, however, probably can’t afford to hire one team to cover brand management, another group to run your social media campaigns, and more people to analyze your company’s data so you can maximize your product positioning. And really, you probably don’t need to even do all that.
However, marketing is important no matter the size of your company. One of the defining characteristics of entrepreneurship is running a business, and businesses are meant to make money. No matter what field you’re in, no matter what product or service you’re selling, you’re going to have to conquer at least the basics of marketing.
What you can do right now: Create a marketing plan. It doesn’t have to be super-specific or detailed, but you should have a small idea of what needs to be done. Think of marketing like applying to college: how are you going to present your business in the best possible light that will set you apart from the others?
Even if you surround yourself with other young entrepreneurs, you might feel like they know more than you do, are already several steps ahead of you, or are better at entrepreneurship than you are. (None of which is true, by the way.)
Self-confidence is a crucial skill for both entrepreneurship and life in general. Without it, you won’t be able to pitch to investors, lead a team, or sell yourself and your business to the world at large.
What you can do right now: Make a list of all your accomplishments to date. Include absolutely everything, even if it’s just getting to school on time this morning. Think about what it took to achieve these things. How hard you had to work and plan. Look at how your studying and perseverance have paid off in terms of reaching your goals. Ask your friends and family to give you honest feedback on what they love about you – you may be surprised at what they say! Maybe you never thought of yourself as funny before, but now your best friend tells you that you crack them up!
Expect great things from yourself and you won’t be disappointed. There will always be challenges in your life. The difference between a successful entrepreneur and one who never sees their dreams come true is being prepared. Recognize these four challenges as they arise and watch yourself crush them!
Will you be one of the next recipients of a Kantner Foundation college scholarship? If you are a Florida high school entrepreneur, click here to learn more!