4 Challenges start-ups face and how to deal with them

4 Challenges start-ups face and how to deal with them

Running a small business means facing challenges along the way. It can be tricky to keep everything afloat, but there are ways to work around these situations. With the right attitude and approach, you can move forward, knowing that all experiences provide an opportunity for growth. We’ve put together some practical tips to handle your small business when confronted with obstacles. 

CHALLENGE 1: Keeping your head on when the wheels fall off

According to a survey we conducted on over 600 South African entrepreneurs, most small business owners are sole proprietors who juggle many responsibilities. Running a business involves managing supply and demand and dealing with financial hiccups, among many other things. 


  • Review old accounts, emails and invoices to work out where you may have missed a step.
  • Read through initial business proposals and projections to gauge whether you’re still working towards those goals.
  • Once you’ve identified the core issue, establish what immediate actions you can take to address the problem and use that to motivate your next steps. 

CHALLENGE 2: Knowing where to use your money

There are many factors out of our control that have potential to influence finances. You can’t always foresee rate increases, unreliable suppliers or emergency costs.  One thing you can control is how existing money is handled. 


  • Make a financial plan and stick to it. Expand at a rate that is reasonable and try to pre-empt future challenges.
  • Don’t ignore bills or rely on credit too much. Make smart money decisions and cut costs where you can, but prioritise keeping up with overhead expenses. 

CHALLENGE 3: Keeping track of what’s happening in your team

As a small business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your team is passionate, aligned and effective. Running a business can become monotonous so it’s imperative to keep your finger on the pulse and invest in your staff – small problems become big ones if left alone.


  • Trust your gut and investigate issues as they arise. Be tenacious and solutions-driven.
  • Don’t let problems slide. Be honest and authentic in your dealings and firm about what you tolerate.  
  • Show accountability and ownership of all elements of your business and keep these aligned to your business goals. 

CHALLENGE 4: See criticism as an opportunity for growth

You have poured your blood, sweat and tears into your enterprise, and accepting criticism about it may not be an easy thing to do. This is when the fresh perspective of a trusted mentor can help you deal with sensitive issues from an objective point of view.


  • Be open and practise active listening so you can clearly understand and deal with a problem or area of improvement.
  • Protect your reputation and take pride in your online presence. Use social media as a way to build relationships, engage with your clients and take their feedback on board. 

Watch our web series, 1001 Days, as we follow two entrepreneurs steadily making their way to the 1001-day mark of running their own businesses. Hear how they have overcome various challenges related to entrepreneurship, and see what experience you can gain from their advice.

Find a broker