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Challenges Startups Can Expect in 2022
With Forbes Magazine reporting the launch of nearly half a million American startups in January of this year alone, and the U.S. Census Bureau compounding the figure with 4.4 million new businesses since 2020, it's safe to assert that there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur.
And not just in the United States, of course, but seemingly across all startup-ranking countries, where a new virtual environment continues to shift the parameters of how small businesses - particularly in one's preliminary stages - should operate in order to gain momentum toward eventual success. With this shift comes ongoing challenges for startups and in areas that will require sustained focus in the year ahead.
If you're one such entrepreneur, here are a few such startup challenges that, though perhaps familiar already, you can expect to face in this virtual environment, along with some pointers on what you can do to stay on top of these challenges.
Work-Life Balance (WBL)
When 'work' was a place
Though it may now seem worlds away, it wasn't so long ago when 'work' was a segment of our daily lives most of us could simply turn up for then check out of. A destination where one could temporarily retire business-related issues for re-engagement the following day or Monday.
Needless to say, that's all changed for many of us.
Nowadays, you could say many are not so much 'WFH' (working from home) as they are living at work, where a great many now manage very different and unrelated problems whilst working. With this comes the risk of fatigue and/or burn-out brought on by doing too much simultaneously, whereas a distinctly separate place of work once provided a clear-cut barrier between it and our personal lives.
The Good Business of Personal Well-Being
As people remain the true core of any business, it is therefore worth considering the following questions:
What degree of priority is given to employee mental and emotional wellness in your company's ethos - if any?
Does your organization provide access to resources to promote and sustain a healthier lifestyle?
As studies have shown that investing in wellness has improved productivity - and helped identify tax savings - do you provide coaching programs?
Given 'startup mode' is often one of long, working hours and unconscious dedication, it is all too easy to lose focus on your WLB. Therefore, it's crucial that the promotion and provision of personal well-being are not administered as a one-off gesture, but rather as a continuous process of cultivation.
Build progress gradually, incrementally.
New Workflow Management
You could say 2021 has been the Year of New Workflows, as an increasing number of companies face up to upgrading obligations in technological processes as they consider new strategic policies in the midst of our evolving world. They recognize one of two options: adjust and adapt to this new virtual world or lose efficiency and advantage in the face of competitors who are.
This is particularly true for project managers and PMOs whose workloads continue to increase and diversify, and for which Project Management Office software systems are being adopted accordingly.
You should ask of your business, then:
Do you have the appropriate virtual solutions in place, regardless of which industry you're in?
Do you have options for those who will prefer not to physically interact with your products or services?
Can you deliver your product or service without human interaction?
Scalable Workflows, Employee Feedback
So... once your ideal staff base is in place - one that can tangibly run your business - establishing a scalable workflow becomes paramount. This must include an optimized customer experience.
Discuss your ideas with your frontline team; find out their experiences and perspectives and above all, get feedback both on what hinders and incentivizes them. This way, you will increase productivity and maintain healthy morale among your employees.
Acquiring New Customers
Not so much a business challenge as a market challenge. Whether you're a 3-man-band or aspiring Unicorn, what everyone needs is, of course, customers. And finding new ones must always remain the top priority. Regardless of the industry, the entrepreneur must focus on this key metric every single day.
Lead generation is even more critical for the just-starting-up startup. The rub is how to discover new clients when your brand is barely recognized. Furthermore, with countless channels to explore out there, how do you determine which ones to focus on? Indeed the process can be overwhelming at times.
Then there's the cost of lead acquisitions, which can be high as consumers become increasingly savvy online and with social media platforms. For a small business, this can be particularly taxing when up against larger entities with larger marketing budgets. In one survey, 49% of 200 marketers claim that obtaining new clients is their number one promotional objective.
You should therefore ask:
Is lead generation now an integral part of your daily activities?
Do you have dedicated members of staff assigned to new client acquisition?
Do you have multiple channels for discovering these new customers?
For successful customer acquisition, you must measure your efforts daily. Don't just make it a weekly ritual, integrate it into your daily practice and with a responsible individual using myriad sources. Relying on one good AdWords trend is high-risk and quite likely to fail.
Despite a buoyant outlook on company revenues and tech budgets, businesses also expect to face challenges owing to fallout from the ongoing pandemic. IT buyers, in particular, anticipate issues when purchasing hardware, software and services over the coming year.
Nearly 40% of IT departments expect to deal with limited product availability, shipping delays, logistics and supply chain issues, product cost increases and chip shortages.
Other concerns will include the provision of hardware and software equipment for remote workers.
We fully expect the proliferation of startups to continue and, of course, roundly applaud it. The virtual trend triggered by the global pandemic has - irony of ironies - created countless opportunities for individuals around the globe to ignite their new business ideas.
Nevertheless, with this continued proliferation comes intensifying competition and challenges for which all startups should be best prepared. Work-life balance, lead generation, new customer acquisition, workflow management and judicial purchasing practice: these are relevant issues to stay focused on in the coming months to help your business thrive.
At Startup Development House, we specialize in each and every aspect of the startup process and are always more than happy to advise on how to take on the ongoing challenges emerging startups will face over 2022 and beyond. If you have an idea you're thinking of developing, don't hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com
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