What Are The Biggest Challenges Faced By Start-Ups In 2016

Starting a small business from scratch is one of the most rewarding and satisfying things you may ever do. It all starts with a loose idea for something that you think you could sell. Then, there’s a period with a lot of maths and uncertainty where your idea starts to come together as something real and tangible. When you make that first, slim profit margin, it’s the best feeling in the world! While starting a successful business is certainly satisfying, it’s by no means easy! You’re going to run into a wide range of different challenges along the way. Here’s a guide to the kinds of challenges you can expect, and how to get around them.

We’ll start this off with the most surprising challenge that you’re going to have to tackle at some point: integrity. You may not think it, but these days, start-ups face far more moral challenges than any previous generation of business. It’s 2016, and now that we’ve made it to the other side of the recession business is more accessible than ever. Leaps in technology have meant that skilled individuals are looking to work at companies from all over the world, and this has created a fairly intense, fast-paced business arena. Everyone’s going to be striving to keep their job, be more successful and get that big raise. Similarly, you’re going to be scrambling to hold onto your place in the market, and doing anything you can to keep your competitors one step behind you. This kind of culture can easily lead to cutting corners, omitting a few little pieces of information or even lying outright! No matter what you’re selling, you need to have a certain degree of trust existing between you and your employees, and all of your partners. Without this, your business will fail to function and inevitably fail.

Source: Pixabay

Capital and resource management is another big challenge which you’re going to find out about. I’m sure you’ve heard that old maxim “money makes the world go around”. It’s not really surprising that this is more true in the modern business arena than anywhere else. There have been countless hopeful entrepreneurs who were brimming with great ideas, but fell short when it came to resource management, and had to watch their ventures collapse. Sure, you might have a good-looking profit margin on your financial statement. However, if your expenditures and receivable collections are too much of a drain on your capital, then your business won’t be able to make it far. Far too many start-up owners fail to focus enough of their time on generating a healthy cash flow, and their whole business plan falls apart because of it. In order to avoid this problem, you have to build up some pretty hefty cash reserves; enough to deal with and unexpected losses and emergencies if and when they come up. These kinds of emergency coffers are especially important when the economy is in a bad shape. In the last recession, cash was flowing into all businesses, and creditors are far less lenient in extending their time to pay.

Rapid scaling is another big challenge that many modern businesses are facing. You may think I’m talking about the difficulty of instigating rapid growth in your business. In fact, the real problems come up when you actually do grow rapidly. If you expand your business too quickly, you may find that your monthly expenses are greatly exceeding your operational credit, and end up floundering to keep up with customer demands. If you find yourself in this position, you may find that you become rapidly popular, and suddenly lose all that renown. When your capital is stretched like this, you’re pretty likely to run into some big HR problems as well. If you’re pushing your business into all kinds of new areas, and spending so much money that you’re barely able to meet your paycheques, it won’t go unnoticed. No employee wants to work for a business that’s in danger of going under, and you may find that even your most senior managers will be preparing to find another job. Furthermore, if your business grows from ten employees to a hundred in the space of a week, you’ll find yourself pretty disconnected from the daily, nitty-gritty operations. This can make all kinds of factors feel more complex and harder to manage. You can find out more about the challenges of rapid scaling by checking out this Forbes interview.

Perhaps one of the biggest threats to any start-up in 2016 is… well, other start-ups! As I mentioned before, it’s now easier than ever for average people to turn an idea into a fully functioning business. We’re past the days where it took countless forms, and a few months of liaising with various investors to get a business up and running. Now, you could open another tab right now, buy a domain name, register your company, and start trading. Okay, maybe it’s not as straightforward as that. However, the point still stands that starting a business is more accessible than ever. While this means that it may be easier to see your idea turning into a reality, it also means that you’ll have more firms muscling in on your target market! No matter what product or service you’re selling, you’re sure to find countless competitors trying to be better than you. When the modern customer base can choose another business with the click of a mouse, staying on top of your market is harder than ever. Your two main options are to invent a completely new product and to pursue your marketing campaigns fiercely. This brings me onto my next point…

Source: Pexels

Marketing yourself, and retaining loyal customers, are also extremely challenging for new businesses in 2016. Just like my point about increased competition, the modern accessibility of effective marketing is something of a double edged sword. These days, almost everyone has access to a wide range of communications channels, and this has made it much easier for any new business to get the word out. Yes, getting your business seen by your target market is now a complete breeze. However, you’re only going to be a drop in an ocean, and you’ll have to draft a killer marketing strategy to make it through those first few months of trading. Ask yourself what kind of marketing channels your target market are going to be using the most, and what the best tone for reaching them is. Once you actually convert these customers, you’re met with a whole new challenge. They’re going to be surrounded by your direct competitors, and you’re going to have to work hard to keep them loyal. This isn’t helped by a current culture which has whittled away at good old consumerism. Although the global economy is picking up, a lot of people are still being very careful with their money, and as a result businesses of all shapes and sizes are suffering from a deficit of new customers. These days, knowing what your customers want and being able to provide it to them better than anyone else is extremely important. Check out this HubSpot article for more.

Finally, finding the right staff for your operation is another big challenge which you’ll have to tackle fairly early on. Talk to any experienced business owner, or even an HR executive, and they’ll tell you that one of the most significant challenges they face is finding staff who are the right fit for the job, keeping them on board, and encouraging them to buy into the vision of the business. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for any miracle cures for this kind of issue, you’re out of luck. A business, especially one that hasn’t been operating for long, is like a family. Just like families, the business can be close-knit or highly dysfunctional. If you had hundreds or thousands of employees working under you, then managing your staff would be largely political, and a simple matter of recruiting people with the right qualifications and experience. However, when you’ve got one office and a handful of employees, it’s more to do with personality and skill. In such a small operation, every employee’s personality can have a profound effect on the productivity and culture of a business. Until you have the resources and means for a full HR department, you’re going to be in charge of managing this mesh of people. You need to figure out how to deal with all the different personalities in the office, but most importantly what drives individual workers to succeed. Once you can isolate this factor, you won’t have to do much else to get the best possible work out of your staff. On the more technical side, you may find general recruitment harder than you expected. Unemployment’s down all over the world, and now various high-tech skills are in high demand. If some individual has a particularly impressive CV, you’ll need to work pretty hard at convincing them to come and work for an unknown start-up rather than some corporate giant. Check out this Business News Daily article for more.

The Secret To Getting A Saleable Home Without Breaking The Bank

One of the most infuriating problems that homeowners come across when they are trying sell is that you have to outlay money to get the property ready. This can cause a lot of people to delay selling their property and so miss out on the best price. Read on to find out how you can make your property as attractive as possible to potential buyers without spending your life’s savings.

Clean

Before you jump headlong into all that DIY and decoration, the first thing you need to do is give your home a really deep clean. I mean pull out all the furniture and clean behind it. Get the carpets and rugs professionally cleaned and send the curtain to the dry cleaners. “But that will cost a fortune,” I hear you say! We’ll i can tell you that it definitely won’t cost as much as repainting and carpeting the whole house, and you may well get a similar result! Don’t pay for upgrades when all your property really needs is clean.

Decoration

If you have given the house a good once over in the cleaning department, and you still find it lacking then, it’s time to upgrade the decoration. I don’t know how many times this can be stressed, but white walls really do sell houses! White is neutral so they potential buyers can impose their own ideas on it. It also reflects the light beautifully, making any room seem bigger and airier

If you are concerned that a bright white will make the room look too cold, why not use a white with a hint of another color in like gray or oatmeal?

Repairs

Along with any decorating updates that need doing, you should also focus on visible repairs. Things like faulty garage doors, leaking taps and damp, will have potential buyers running for the hills.

People do not, as a rule, want to pour all of their hard earned money into a home that needs a lot of work doing to it. Yes, you do get some people that are looking for a door upper. But they will expect a wasting reduced asking price for their trouble. To get the best price, your home need to be in tip-top condition.

Clutter

Everyone knows this by now, but clutter can sound the death knell on a home sale. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Would you be attracted to a house that is stuffed to the gunnels with knick knack, furniture, and other associated BRIC A BRAC? No? Then neither will they.

Have some Objet d’art and furniture that you just can’t bear to part with? Then rent some storage space and hire a moving company to transports your precious cargo. Then you can put it back in your new home when all the sales have gone through.

Kitchen

That’s because kitchen style matters to potential buyers and they are time-consuming and expensive to replace. Having the right kitchen can sway a deal. Get the best look you can for a reduced price by shopping in the sale or just replacing the cabinet doors instead of the entire kitchen.

Zuckerberg’s Philanthropic Organization Grows Ever More

As WMoption and other brokers and analysts anticipated, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have continued to support their own charity fund, with the latest batch of monetary influx being $95 million from the recent sale of Facebook shares. For investors, it means more shares on the market, and for any beneficiaries of the fund in question, it will likely mean easier access to good quality education and medicine.

Last Wednesday, the stock market saw a lot of Facebook shares being sold on behalf of Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, and the cause for this move is reportedly philanthropic in nature. In the true fashion of the modern times, there has been a series of pledges spearheaded by Bill and Melinda Gates, followed by a number of billionaires, saying that after their deaths, a significant portion of their net worth will be distributed to those in need, in accordance with their funds and wishes.

Thankfully, they are all alive and well (for the most part), but this pledge has effectively polarized the public opinion. Some support this initiative, citing it as an inspiration to us all, while others remain more skeptical on this matter and attribute this sudden outburst in charity to a number of tax cuts and legal loopholes.

 

760,000 shares

The total number of Facebook shares that were sold last Wednesday was 760,000 and their estimated worth is roughly $95 million. Naturally, all that money is supposed to go to their charitable organization, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. On a side note, the CZI was founded in 2015 after the wealthy couple were blessed with a daughter named Max. In her honor, they have founded an organization that is focused on curing diseases, education, communication and community building.

In their effort to eradicate sickness, improve the learning process, build strong communities that will see the dawn of this new age and bring them together via the medium of the Internet, the couple is willing to part with 99% of their assets – in Facebook and over a period of time that spans across their entire lifespan. Back when they announced it, the net worth of their Facebook shares was estimated at $45 billion; it has since increased by almost one fifth.

 

So, What Gives?

The plan was to move the 99% of shares to the CZI fund and sell roughly $3 billion’s worth in Facebook shares over the period of three years – and possibly see where it goes from there. This most recent transaction is merely another step in their long-term project and should not affect the stock price in any meaningful way, at least not on its own. Naturally, the market has and will respond to this and similar gestures, and not just for Facebook, either – but this does not mean the prices are going to change that drastically and in such a hasty manner. In fact, the prices should stabilize soon enough, if they haven’t done so already by the time you are reading this.

However, the reason why so many people have come to criticize this move does have some merit on its own, even as Zuckerberg and Chan’s plan unfolds. In fact, many remain convinced that this is in fact some sort of financial scheme aimed at exploiting tax benefits and legal loopholes, while benefiting from an aura of altruism at the same time. Enchanting your own image and making money while you are doing it – what could be better?

 

Conclusion

Most of these allegations get their ammunition from the fact that the charity fund is technically – and what is more important, legally – a limited ability corporation rather than a non-profit organization. Why? Perhaps because there are rules for non-profit organizations and the way their funds are managed. Many of their defenders point out that a limited ability corporation is superior when it comes to managing funds and allocating them where they are needed the most, and towards any cause that the people in charge of it see fit. And it does not take a genius to figure out who is in charge of this corporation.

So, technically, Zuckerberg and Chan are selling off a portion of their Facebook assets (a huge portion actually, but that does not really matter now) and giving money to themselves in a controlled, calculated manner and in bite-sized portions. The recent one was worth $95 million, and hopefully, this money will get to those in need.