6 challenges you forgot to plan for when you launched your business


More often than not new companies stagnate early on because owners didn’t think about the day-to-day tasks that running a business would demand.

Here are the top six challenges most entrepreneurs overlook when they start their new ventures and how they can be overcome:

Running out of stock

Having an innovative product that customers have to have is fantastic; until you run out of it. Many customers will browse more than one website to compare products and prices and if one site has a large percentage of products unavailable on a regular basis they will eventually stop returning.

To stop your customers from looking elsewhere you’ll need to ensure that someone in the business is able to track and replenish the right items at the right time. Invest in a system that allows you to track your stock levels in real time.

Not only will you be able to use the data to identify when popular products are most likely to sell out, you’ll also be able to make informed decisions on which product lines you should expand and which ones you need to drop.

Launching with a buggy website

With more out-of-the-box e-commerce solutions available than ever it’s becoming popular for new business owners to go for the quick and cheap option. However, this doesn’t mean the website will be easy for you or your customers to use, and many entrepreneurs find themselves stuck with sites that do the job but come with minor flaws that drive sceptical customers away.

It’s not always necessary to reinvest in a whole new website, so don’t panic. Teach yourself or ask a knowledgeable employee or friend to take a look at how the website works to determine if you simply need to replace a particular plugin or if you require the services of a developer to make extensive alterations to your website’s code.

In the meantime ensure you respond to all customer queries in a timely manner and don’t be afraid to be honest about where you’re up to with getting any issues sorted; people will appreciate your personal reassurance and likely go on to become a loyal customer.

Not valuing your customers

Nurturing relationships with existing customers is the bread and butter of many SMEs. However, those trying to attract as much new business as possible, while under-serving loyal customers, will soon start to see them going elsewhere.

Large companies can afford to lose the odd sale as a result of poor customer service; they’re big enough to pump money into high-profile marketing drives and entice customers back with tailored campaigns via their customer relationship management tools.

People who support small businesses expect a more personal touch, making it even more important for SMEs to exceed expectations and out-perform their powerhouse competitors.

Do this by investing some time to thank and reward your customers for their business to encourage repeat purchases and make them more likely to recommend you to their friends and family.

Not giving your customers what they want

If you offer more than one product or service there’s no excuse for sending out mass campaigns with news that will only interest a portion of your database – even if you’re a start-up.

This doesn’t mean you can’t cross-promote across your business, but a good example would be sending out an email newsletter solely focused on your baby skincare line to customers who don’t have children. A better option would have been to send a general skincare email with one or two baby products included.

First impressions count, so implement a system early on to keep track of your customers’ spending habits and send them tailored, targeted campaigns, encouraging them to spend money on products or services which are relevant to them and offer you a high return.

Many email marketing programmes can provide click-through heat-maps, so you get a rough guide of who is interested in what enabling you to tailor campaigns even further in the future.

Employing the wrong people

Recruiting in any small business can be costly; besides the interviewing and administrative processes involved with hiring new staff there may be training required too.

You might have had less to offer candidates when you first started out and had a smaller pool of applicants to choose from as a result. But hiring people just to get the company up and running, who later turn out to be a bad fit, is a costly mistake to fix.

If you find yourself in need of rectifying a rushed recruitment decision it will save you money in the long run to invest in a recruiter who can assess your needs and find you more suitable candidates.

This leaves you to focus on the daily tasks at hand and you can soften the financial outlay of a recruiter by taking advantage of unsecured business finance loan.

Managing finances poorly

Many small business owners are creative types, with no experience of managing their own accounts, which can prove challenging when it comes to forward planning for things like corporation tax and payroll management.

Entrepreneurs may feel tempted to DIY the entire process to keep costs down, however it’s a time consuming task and your accounts will be scrutinised by HMRC so must be handled meticulously to avoid fines.

If you started out determined to handle everything yourself but are now feeling out of your depth, invest in a book-keeper and chartered accountant as soon as you can. Not only will they be able to ensure your business fully complies with tax and employment regulations, the best ones will practically pay for themselves.


Launching a business can be incredibly rewarding – it can also be time-consuming and overwhelming when unexpected issues crop up.

With so many plates to spin it’s not always possible to prepare for every challenge, but the key is to decide on a course of action as soon as possible and whether you can manage it yourself or need to delegate it to someone else.

With that in mind there’s no need for unplanned glitches to hold your business back.