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5 Challenges That Are Underestimated Before Starting a Business

Many dream of founding a company: being their own boss, only doing what you want and consistently pursuing your own visions. What in theory sounds like a solid plan that is easy to implement, in practice quickly turns into a gauntlet run for many - with fatal consequences. The stumbling blocks that turn the straight path to their own company into a rocky path often bring many prospective founders back down to earth in the early stages of their founding. 
 
We asked around in our community and found out which challenges in setting up a company are most often underestimated and which represent the greatest barriers in everyday business life.

Challenges Before Starting a Business

5 Challenges That Are Underestimated Before Starting a Business

1. Importance of a team or a network

Little attention is often paid to the inestimable added value that comes with the exchange with co-founders or team members who put the same passion into the idea as you do yourself. If someone decides to do it, the big step of founding it without the valuable support To venture into a team, it is very helpful to be able to exchange ideas with other founders. 
 
One of the decisive advantages is the fact that outsiders have a neutral view of the idea compared to friends and family and can give honest criticism. Because of their experience and their own missteps, it can also be helpful to learn from them and not repeat known mistakes. The goal is not to start a business without making mistakes. The important thing is how to deal with missteps.

2. Error culture

To err is human and hardly a company has come into being without any missteps. Even if mistakes are still seen as weaknesses in many places, they are indispensable in order to constantly grow and improve. In this context, the feedback from customers and test persons also becomes the easiest way to make adjustments and improvements. According to the Lean Startup method, different versions are tested, analyzed and adapted depending on the learning and the result. 
 
This approach has proven itself and stands out from the possibility of tinkering with a product or service for months or years only to find out that there are no buyers or customers or that the wrong approach has been chosen. The earlier founders become aware of this, the sooner a new path can be taken and the impending loss avoided. So: screw down your experience and see mistakes as a unique opportunity to grow beyond yourself.

3. Access to expert knowledge

More and more young people, students or even schoolchildren are bubbling over with innovative ideas and now have the opportunity to use the right environment to turn their visions into reality. What has changed little so far in the creative transformation of the digital age are the curricula. For many young people, taxes, insurance and finance are issues that have a big question mark on them and yet founders or self-employed people cannot avoid dealing with these issues. 
 
The exchange with experts and competent mentors embodies a real knowledge pit. Unfortunately, office hours of this kind are usually expensive and startups often lack the necessary liquidity. Funding programs for promising startups are intended to provide a remedy. So-called accelerator programs offer young startups with support from business angels or mentors as well as workshops the opportunity to acquire the necessary knowledge and to be legally well positioned.

4. IT skills

In the age of digital transformation, there is hardly a company that can do without an internet presence or an app. So it is not surprising that programming and web development are among the 5 most sought-after skills in the professional world. Although there are now many ways to create a website with simple means, solid IT knowledge is essential for complex matters, such as creating databases, the associated data analysis or developing an app. 
 
Outsourcing programming and web development seems to be an alternative for some, even if a lot of money and flexibility is lost in the process. In times of hacking attacks and data theft, measures that involve internet security are of great importance. Institutions like START.CODE help to develop practice-based IT skills.

5. Contact with investors and customers

As soon as the first obstacles have been overcome, it is important to bring the product to the man or woman and to complete the first orders. In many cases, especially with B2B products and services, this is more difficult than expected. Here, too, contact points such as trade fairs, pitch events such as the Rhineland Pitch or network events are advantageous. 
 
These make it easier to contact important stakeholders, but nothing works without the appropriate marketing of the product or service. When it comes to marketing, there is a range of measures that can contribute to brand awareness without a large budget. More information is available, for example, in our workshop Known without a budget.
 
The process of starting a business brings many challenges that may be underestimated at the beginning. It is particularly important to be in the right environment and to build on a strong network that you can fall back on if you have any questions or problems.