5 Common challenges faced when creating a startup

When establishing a business, chances are you’ll face many challenges – some may even determine the success or the failure of your venture. And we all know that when you’re starting a business, the people you work with can occasionally cause havoc, simply because everyone has different opinions. We think this is something important for the entrepreneurial community to be aware of.

At Ideas Hoist, we’ve profiled many innovators who have been open about some of the challenges they’ve faced on along their business journey.

We’ve picked 5 common challenges that entrepreneurs have talked about in their interviews.

Having guidance from a mentor:

Nick Barnes, founder of VibroMat, says:

“Mentors are important on specific questions. There’s sometimes the right mentor in general or the right mentor for a particular set of questions. I’ve been continually talking to someone who has expertise in biomedical devices and taking them to market, and they’ve been invaluable for understanding the process and steps needed to take a biomedical device to market.”

Adam J Jacoby, founder of MiVote, says:

“Mentors have played a massive role in my life. My parents are both incredibly smart and open-minded people and provided a critical formative experience for an entrepreneurial existence. Over the last 20+ years, I have had half a dozen formal and informal mentors who really shaped the way I view the world, approach situations, challenge myself, engage with others and accept the risk.”

Having a mentor can have a significant, positive impact on the success of your startup because they can help you drill down to the essence of the challenge or problem you are facing.

Check out our article “The value of mentors”.

Find the right team:

Melvin Poh, founder of Volition Ventures, says:

“Initially, the major challenge faced in starting the company itself was finding the right team. I incorporated the company with several individuals, however, since then there has been some serious restructuring to the team, some have left, and several have joined … Finding the right team was a challenge because it takes more than personal relationships, friendships, trusts or dealings to find compatible business partners.”

Jef Van Acoleyen, co-founder of GoHear, says:

“My main challenge and the challenge of our team is that time is always in short supply. None of us have the luxury of being able to spend all of our time on the venture at this stage, which doesn’t only slow things down, but also makes for a work-life balance that’s sometimes a bit out of whack.”

Business is only as successful as the people who are on your team. While it’s great having friends and family onboard your venture, it might not be the best business choice. Finding like-minded people who share the same goals as you and want to succeed can be hard to come by, but once they’re found, it will do wonders for your business.


Grant McCall, founder of Rounded, says:

“Cost is definitely [a challenge], having spent a lot of time freelancing abroad when you come back to Australia the extra cost for products and services is immediately noticeable.”

James Downing, founder of JellyChip says:

“I think the only consideration we’ve had to make is hiring programmers and developers for the site from overseas. We started off developing our prototype version of JellyChip with a team of Australian developers but quickly found that the costs were exorbitant. This was a deal-breaker for us given that we were a startup on a tight budget. At the end of the day, and unfortunately, we have to simply go where things are the most affordable.”

Advancing with your business idea is an exciting part of the business startup experience. Always calculate your resources and budget to avoid unnecessary stress and disappointment.

Regional enterprises:

Caitlin and Lizzie, founders of Wild Rumpus, say:

“It has been a challenge starting our enterprise in a regional city. We love our city, but it is a bigger ask to get people on board something like this here, compared to a capital city where the population and the audience is just right there waiting.”

Steve And Nicole, founders of Konveen, says:

“We’re interested in learning about a lot of different startups, but we have to give a nod to SafetyCulture, because like us they are a regional startup and that’s a big hurdle to overcome.”

Starting a business in a big city that already has many businesses can be easier than starting one in a small regional town. There is more of a demand in a big city. However, it can be done- two words ‘customer validation’, if you have an idea that you think is great, go to the streets and ask your target market what they think of it.

Technical vs. non-technical experience:

Alison Gray, founder of Gifts4Good, says:

“The biggest challenge for us has been growing the business and increasing traffic to the website. As a non-profit and a small start-up, we don’t have the funding to advertise like major companies. We are relying on social media and word-of-mouth to build early awareness of Gifts4Good, and are happy to say this is now gaining traction.”

Michelle Guillemard, founder of Health Writer Hub, says:

“I’ve always been a technically-savvy writer; I create my own websites, I edit   PHP, CSS and HTML. I like to understand how the technology I’m utilising works, and I enjoy solving my own problems.”

Adapting to technology in business can be challenging, especially if you don’t have any experience in it but it is worthwhile taking the time to at least learn the basics so that you can better understand tech-based opportunities and recruit tech contractors or team members with your eyes open.

If you’d like to find out more practical advice about entrepreneurship and innovation, including more about our interviewees and their mentors, sign up to the newsletter below or contact us to be interviewed.

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