I love chocolate hazelnut ice cream. The juxtaposition of cocoa flavours with the nuttiness of hazelnuts to me is a perfect unison. You may like strawberry, pistachio or even vanilla ice-cream. The point? We are all unique, and we each face unique obstacles and challenges every day. So it is with start-ups. Each start-up will be unique and each will face its own idiosyncratic challenges. Here are the three major challenges I faced with my start-up. Hopefully, some of the things below may resonate with you and may provide you with some insight into the types of things you may need to consider with your new business.
Getting it out there
My business involved introducing a new gluten-free flour into the ever-expanding gluten-free market. By the time I launched in October 2019, that market was certainly crowded with products. There was also a lot of noise around gluten and nutrition generally. Added to that, I had zero experience in the food industry and virtually no contacts. Probably my biggest challenge was getting my message out there and in particular why my product was unique and worth buying. It has not been easy although, with help from some great people and sheer grit and determination, I’ve been able to finally have people notice my new product. One of the most effective strategies I’ve found for my product is social media and in particular Instagram. The image-based platform allows my customers to show off their culinary creations with my new product which provides the best endorsement a company could ever wish for.
Money is always tight with a start-up. Mine was no different. One of the toughest challenges I found was how to prioritise the limited amount of cash that I could personally inject into the business every month. Did I focus on product development or marketing? Expos or advertising? The list goes on. There is no hard and fast rule as to what will work and won’t work. You can read as many guides and watch as many TED videos as you like but ultimately what I have found it really is a matter of trial and error with a bit of informed guesswork.
This was another biggy for me. started my business trying to hold down a full-time job and look after a young family so I effectively have three full-time jobs. Fortunately, there is plenty of great advice out there regarding time management and one piece of advice that worked for me was Richard Branson’s mantra of “delegate and elevate.” While it feels like you are doing absolutely everything in a new business the reality, of course, is that you cannot physically do everything with your limited time. I quickly learnt to find the right people and trust them with tasks that they could do in a fraction of the time it would take me to do personally