A first-time entrepreneur has challenges in two broad categories:
The internal challenges are many and they are the invisible forces of resistance for the first-time entrepreneur. I have picked five such forces of resistance here for the sake of discussion. They are:
Let us dig deeper into each one of the above:
Every startup has a runway whose length is determined by the available resources (mainly cash at hand). Every first-time entrepreneur, on the other hand, also has a ‘personal runway’ that is determined by his or her personal resources (once again, mainly cash at hand).
As you can imagine, the personal runway for a first-time entrepreneur has to be long enough to see his or her startup take flight in a meaningful fashion. If the entrepreneur gets a feeling that this won’t be the case, stress gets a booster shot in his or her life.
The personal support structure (especially from the loved ones) is a major source of strength for the first-time entrepreneur.
Because the world really believes in the first-time entrepreneur only after a meaningful accomplishment. The entrepreneur needs a few people to believe him or her in the pre-accomplishment phase to give him or her the fuel to keep going ahead.
For a first-time entrepreneur, uncertainty is everywhere on multiple topics. While belief in self helps a lot, belief from loved ones will provide a much required booster shot for confidence.
The world around a first-time entrepreneur witnesses a transformation of the entrepreneur from an employee to an entrepreneur.
There is a bigger transformation at play for the first-time entrepreneur. That personal transformation is internal and an important one because everyone wins internally first before they experience an external win.
The internal personal transformation is a journey where the entrepreneur transforms from “I don’t know whether I belong here” to “I am comfortable in my new home.”
The more roadblocks the entrepreneur faces in this journey, higher the resistance.
It may be tempting to think that the biggest question in front of a first time entrepreneur at various inflection points in the journey is the following:
“I have not faced this situation before. What should I do?”
In reality, this is a question for which the first-time entrepreneur can find a lot of answers from books, blogs and a few websites.
Actually, he or she will get a lot of answers for that question.
That leads to the real question that a first-time entrepreneur faces at various inflection points:
“I have an idea of what to do next. There seems to be so many ways to get to the next stage. I can’t determine what way presents the best among available options. What should I do to make an informed decision?”
This is where the value of experience comes in – in a big way. Since the first-time entrepreneur by design will have no such experience, he or she has to depend on the insights from those that can bring such experience to bear in a timely fashion.
This leads us to the question – how easily can the first-time entrepreneur get access to the much-needed “good help” in a timely fashion?
Small wins that demonstrate real progress provides proof to the external world that something meaningful is happening in this startup. It also shows that this first-time entrepreneur is someone that the world around him or her should pay attention to.
More important than the effect these small wins have on the external world is the impact they have in the first-time entrepreneur’s internal world. It is almost magical as with every small win the first-time entrepreneur’s confidence grows to believe that he or she can finally make it as an entrepreneur.
Lack of such small wins in a periodic basis will create a strong invisible force of resistance for the first-time entrepreneur.
What can you do with this knowledge?
If you are a first-time entrepreneur, an awareness of these invisible forces of resistance will help you face them with less stress.
In other cases, you will be someone who has friends who are first-time entrepreneurs. On one end, you can forward this article and move on. On the other hand, you are now aware of the internal battles those first-time entrepreneurs are fighting. It would mean the world to them if you extend a helping hand even if it means letting them know that you are there for them to call upon at the time of need.