Today’s young entrepreneurs are bustling with ideas, but there are plenty of obstacles to overcome when starting a business or online business. As a business grows, so do the challenges they must face.
But each company is different. Each has its own problems and opportunities; hence they demand unique solutions.
What worked in the past might be totally ineffective today, especially with technology changing so many aspects of business management. The key to avoiding mistakes that could kill a great business is to have a system for consistent learning.
It’s often overwhelming to juggle all the moving parts of your business. However, eLearning statistics show that eLearning is one way to fill the knowledge gaps, giving your business a fighting chance.
Many young people aspire to be entrepreneurs. Around two in five have an idea for a business or home business, and close to half of this group would like to run their own business at some point. Young people often have insightful ideas, but not necessarily the mechanisms to start and run a business.
Putting a plan together is easier said than done. How good is the idea? Is there a product that can be made cost-effectively? Is it possible to build a career out of it?
Sources to attract funding are often not clear. Significant risks include:
- keeping the idea secure
- testing it on the market
Other issues include costs and the challenge of sustaining the business’s profits over the long term. Personal risk makes the barrier much higher.
In many cases, businesses require too much investment. They also need vital support that is sometimes hard to find.
However, planning makes it easier to negotiate these issues. As an aspiring entrepreneur, you should:
- identify your goals
- be aware of your current skills
- understand that you will need some money at some point
Talents and Skills
The biggest challenge new businesses are facing is a lack of talent and skill. IT specialists, developers, and engineers are in short supply. It has become vital for the government and various industries to build capacity throughout all levels of the UK’s educational system – primary, secondary, and tertiary. Britain also has to start attracting immigrants with the relevant skills to promote its entrepreneurial policies.
Access to Markets
Large corporations and governments need to open their doors a tad wider to small and medium-sized enterprises. The latter can leverage such opportunities to scale up. It’ll also foster mutually beneficial collaborations.
Complex and arduous procurement procedures, limited language skills, or the knowledge of networks, make it hard for SMEs to penetrate these markets. The Foreign Office and BEIS are pouring significant investment to support budding businesses to enter new markets. Still, it’s a drop in the ocean compared with what France and Germany are offering their SME demographic.
When businesses are in their infancy, they require plenty of leadership support. Some areas to note include mentoring services, management skills, and leadership. There appear to be positive reports in this regard. Peer-to-peer networks are also growing. These networks are local clubs existing through online services such as Meetup.com. The Stock Exchange Elite Programme and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Programme are two other notable examples.
There is a significant shift in traction too – the Business Growth Fund has a network of 3,000 advisers and NEDs to ensure investee companies grow and thrive.
Cash has become even tighter for businesses to come by. How can an entrepreneur like you source for funds, and still protect your idea?
Protecting your idea is the most important thing to focus on. It doesn’t cost too much, but it’s worth it, even if you don’t have a perfect product. But small businesses are traditionally risky investments.
Good cashflow is the lifeblood of any business. Cash constraints can limit growth. A plan for how to best use your finances should be critical in planning and assessing new business opportunities. Limited resources also make it challenging to go for emerging opportunities, so as not to starve your essential core business of funding.
In one recent survey, 40% of scale-ups felt their funding was inadequate. Venture capital firms are the alternative means of sourcing funds. However, while they demand control in exchange for investment, entrepreneurs are mostly wary of relinquishing their ideas.
Good stock control and effective supplier management become more critical as your business grows. You want to work with suppliers to reduce delivery cycles or switch suppliers and systems to handle just-in-time-delivery.
The government’s EIS and SEIS tax schemes are highly commendable. They have spawned an exciting rise in the number of investors willing to take a chance on growing businesses.
The rapid rise of business parks and clusters bodes well for the businesses. However, the yawning infrastructure gap is of grave concern. Britain’s internet is incomparable to the high-speed alternatives available in other European countries. The transport connectivity is also in a dire state – it is not improving at a rate equal to modern economic demands.
Office space is also not readily affordable for rapidly growing companies. However, local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) continue to support SMEs and Scale-Ups in a manner deserving of applause. There are presently 38 LEPs around the country.
Solutions can be found through collaboration and action
There are several key takeaways in this article and any entrepreneur can do something about them.
First, business and government in the UK must collaborate to build the skill capability for a world driven by technology. You can join current initiatives and petitions to drive this forward.
Secondly, there must be greater capital availability for investments with higher risk.
Thirdly, it is essential to involve large corporate concerns in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The reason is that through their procurement policies, they create an opportunity for SMEs.
Furthermore, SMEs need management help to build leading innovation into a scalable business.
Finally, the government needs to address the infrastructure gap, which will surely hinder growth if allowed to continue.
Therefore, utilize your contacts, online profiles and media channels to fight for improvements and change so that your start-up and those of others can thrive in the future.