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What are the biggest issues you have to deal with as a founder?

I know this question depends on many things and that the journey as a founder is a long one with multiple challenges along the way. I wonder if there is a clear way to frame them to help early stage entrepreneurs in understanding the roadmap of issues they have ahead of them.

6 Replies

Rob Gropper
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Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
time, money, personnel
Joe Albano, PhD
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Joe Albano, PhD Advisor
Using the business of entrepreneurialism to turn ideas into products and products into sustainable businesses.
Perhaps the biggest challenge is that there is no roadmap.

Yes, there are processes (e.g., lean startup) that can add a lot of structure to a chaotic undertaking. Successfullyfounding a company means doing everything that can be anticipated successfully, but also anticipating and responding to conditions that no one else has seen or could imagine.

That said, the most common challengesinclude:
  • Focus - knowing the difference between being busy and being productive. Not focusing on the many things you canbut the few that you must focus on.

  • Delegation - mastering a capability or task and thengiving it away. As your organization grows you need to delegate ... and many find that more challengingthan they anticipate.

  • Cashflow - managing the money is always an ongoingchallenge. Too many businesses grow their expenses faster than their revenues or fail to understand the relative roles of cash, credit, and equity.
Mike Bebel
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Mike Bebel Advisor
Digital Media Executive/Entrepreneur
As a founder, you are dealing with all aspects of the business simultaneously and issues are numerous. Two core competencies that are critical are prioritization and time management. These skills will allow any entrepreneur to set out and adjust their own roadmap to success.
Melissa Skehan
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Melissa Skehan Advisor
Passionate, Mission Driven, Strategy, Growth & Impact Leader - Founder, CEO, President, Executive Management
At the very earliest stage:
1) Customers - who do you serve? your customers are your reason for being.
2) Personnel - who will help you get there? with a strong team, you can get things done (including attract investment)
3) Investors - who will support you as things ebb and flow? (and they will ebb and flow...)

after the market has been established:
1) Personnel - a goodteamcan make (or break) you
2) Customers - better to live off revenues than investment (especially in a potentially turbulent market)
3) Investors - keep them informed and in your camp

+ make sure to have your own (personal) support network - as being an entrepreneur can be a lonely road; take care of yourself so you can take care of your business
David Johnston
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David Johnston Entrepreneur
16 Patent Claims Granted in Artificial Intelligence, NLP, IoT & Mobile SMS/Chat/Text Messaging
Face the fact that if you have investment money you will eventually run out.

That being said, "credit" becomes your way out of the problem while you either get more revenues or more investment. Otherwise, you "will" be squeezedin your next round, if they even sniff that your runway might be short.

Take a large portion of your investment cash and use it to build credit. Sign up for a secured credit card at several major banks. Put as much as you can into each one. The more you deposit, the higher the credit available showing on your companies credit report.

Use these accounts and pay off the balance each month just like you were using debit cards. This is the fastest way to build some credit.

Once you have some credit, use it to do the same thing but this time, ask for "lines of credit" at each of those banks. Put up cash as collateral.

Lines of credit are the only type you can use to pay on credit cards with. Use your line of credit to pay down the balances on your secured cards. Then use your normal cash flow to pay down your lines of credit.

At this point, you can buy company cars in your company name.

Now you have credit cards, lines of credit and "major" purchase financed.

As long as you understand that "interest" is the cost of buying "credit scores" you will understand why it is your best investment.

When the time is right, cash these out and get your collateralized money back and convert the credit cards and lines of credit from "secured" to "unsecured."

Then you have both credit and cash. If you run out of cash, that credit may save your business!
SHARIQUE NISAR
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SHARIQUE NISAR Advisor
Founder at Market Quotient & Co-Founder at DataCusp.com
Cash flow is the biggest challenge. If its ON, things will move and eventually you will make profit and be able to run.
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