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Even With the Best Intentions, There Can Be Setbacks in Business

When someone finally puts all of their sweat and tears into seeing their dream business become a reality, they might not be able to predict setbacks which can stand in the way of their success. While no business plan is immune to setbacks, you can put forth your best effort to guard against any.

However, setbacks are simply common and usually unforeseen. If there was a foolproof and universal guaranteed immunity to setbacks, an estimated 80% of all startup businesses would not fail. Once you have your business plan underway, it might be beneficial to be aware of the most common setbacks to help you avoid them.

One common setback which affects startup businesses is competition. You may think you are able to secure a loyal customer base, and market research may support this as fact. But, if someone else new comes along in your market and they can do what you do better, faster, bigger, or cheaper, they just might have an edge over you. Once your competition gets a grip on this edge and lures away your base, it can be very tough to recover.

Another business setback would be unexpected cost. While it is a fact most new businesses do not make a profit to begin with, not generating enough revenue to cover basic cost will only dig a deeper hole each fiscal quarter. If all of your growth has to be funded with debt, your setbacks are going to be compounded. This can happen if you have a flawed vision of how much overhead you will encounter from the start. If your startup runs over budget from the beginning, this poor financial management will only increase as you try to keep above water.

Having a failed business plan from the beginning will definitely result in setbacks. This can happen if your market research is flawed. Before your business becomes reality you have to be honest about your ability to succeed in the market you are trying to open in. If your business plan glosses over realities of the local climate or the cost to gain equipment, retail space, or the actual competition, your business plan has no chance of making it.

One very common setback for the overly enthusiastic startup business entrepreneur is that they don’t know how to market their product or service effectively. This too can be from having a flawed business plan from the beginning. If you are not fully informed about your own market and who you want to reach, there is no way you can create brand awareness. Without brand awareness, you will not gain growth potential. You have to be realistic about how to bring attention to your product or service. If you don’t know how to market it yourself, you need to hire someone who does. If you do not utilize resources around you to market your brand, such as radio, brochures, newspaper or a web presence, you will become irrelevant and stagnant. Always explore new ways to reach your market and you will avoid this colossal setback.

Be realistic about how you are able to meet customer needs. If you start promising results before you can deliver, your customer base will lose faith in your company regardless of how high quality your business may be. This setback can occur innocently enough when a startup is just getting going. You may be overenthusiastic about you actual abilities. A startup might be tempted to bite off more than they can chew when it comes to their share of the market. Not having the means to distribute mass quantities of your product yet promising delivery is a setback you may not be able to recover from.

One setback which can negatively impact your business is poor leadership. This can be a direct result of hiring management that is not qualified or experienced enough to deal with staff. If your management team is uninspiring, inconsistent with expectations, or lacks discipline, they will set your business back no matter how hard you try to oversee them. You have to have a staff that is focused, has vision, and can put forth clear objectives for the rest to follow. This setback will only serve to filter down low expectations, which in turn will affect customer service. Once your staff losses the motivation to give great customer service, your entire business will suffer. This particular setback of poor leadership can begin with the business owner or can be a direct result of putting together the wrong management team from the beginning.

One thing is clear when it comes to businesses facing setbacks and successfully overcoming any setbacks, they seek help when they need. A successful business will be flexible and proactive enough to keep these setbacks from devastating the business beyond repair.

Last modification: Tue 2 Nov 2010

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