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4 Common First-Year Challenges Your New Business will Face

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by Startacus Admin

You may or may not be aware that business is hard. Let’s hope so, or you’re going to have problems. The first year will be one of the busiest and most stressful, seeing you set up, launch and, hopefully, survive into day 366. Every business comes with its own unique problems and difficulties, but there are some things to look out for that apply across the board. The below barely scratches the surface, and everything mentioned could have its own article, but let’s look at some common challenges you will face in your first year.

Mental and Emotional Stress

Particularly if you are the sole founder of your business, everything rests on your shoulders. If you have others around, some of the weight is held by them, but they also add to it simply by being people who stand to lose because of any missteps on your part.

Finances, both personal and business; lack of time for family and friends, or even for yourself; self-doubt and worry that you won’t get back into the workforce if your startup fails; strained relationships; even depression; the list of worries and stresses and potential negative results of those goes on. They can all be dealt with in various ways, but a better option is to be as prepared as possible and don’t let them blindside you. It is not an easy thing to get right, but a good work–life balance is essential not only to your own wellbeing but to that of the business. It may be tempting to think that you are wearing yourself down and burning out for the good of the business, but in reality, your suffering is the business’s suffering. 

Financial Issues

It’s easy to underestimate how much money will be needed in the beginning, and that is an all-too common and potentially fatal mistake. You absolutely must be realistic about your forecast so that you don’t allow yourself to be surprised by how little money you are bringing in to start with or how much is going out. In 2020, concerns about BREXIT and increased levels of cash flow issues will also potentially impact on this, as this recent guide on the struggles small businesses will face in 2020 also suggests. 

Obviously a solid business plan will help to ensure that you do not go into it without a good idea of just how much money your business will need and for what; however, the unexpected does happen, right when it’s least expected. Suppliers suddenly not supplying and their only replacement charging more, equipment breakdown, the Spanish Inquisition, personal problems taking you or others away from the business more than you’d like, lack of timely payment by clients; part of the excitement of starting your own business is not entirely knowing where it will take you along the way, but that unknown can be dangerous too.

Spreading Awareness

You have your product, you have your clever name, you have your hard-won funds and your business plan, but what you likely don’t have is exposure. Unless your new startup is a sidestep from another business, you won’t be starting with any clients or customers. You won’t be starting with any brand recognition. You need to get your brand out to as many people as possible as fast as possible so that you can, you know, do business. How you do this will, of course, depend somewhat on what your business is, but there are plenty of options; just no guarantees. You can go to a (carefully researched and selected) PR firm that deals with your industry, as they will have the right contacts to ensure you get the most exposure, fast. You could do some parallel marketing, writing articles and blog posts about related topics that will help and interest people, who might then look more into who is giving them that information. Partnering with a compatible, complementary brand can be beneficial in various ways, but exposure is a big one. As is the trust and legitimacy such a partnership brings.

Getting your name out there and, ideally, synonymous with your market won’t be easy, but it is essential. Just don’t stop singing and dancing, and you’ll be noticed.


You might see the nuances and the subtle differences between you and that big brand competitor, but will your target market? It’s not too likely at this point that you will have a business so unique that you’re the only option, so one significant challenge you will face is competition. And even if you are that unique, for how long will you remain so? You don’t want to define yourself by other companies, but you do want to make it clear to your market why you are different and why you are the best option.

Another angle to look at this from is who can race up from behind and blindside you. You might have a great product, but what is stopping an established brand within your sector seeing it and thinking, ‘We’ll do that’, and using their comparatively vast resources to offer the same thing but better, faster, cheaper?

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Published on: 6th February 2020

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