What’s the hardest part of growing a startup?

46 replies
Setting up a new business is tough, but growing it is tougher! So, what’s the hardest part of growing a startup? What difficulties can a entrepreneur face and how can he/she overcome it?


Jack Davis
The two hardest are probably legal stuff and getting your first 100 users. I am surprised that not many people talk about all the legal stuff of running a business and how you have to be careful to set it up right. Also getting your first users can be really challenging.
@jack_davis7 Good point jack! Legal aspect is equally important and complex....we should talk about it more often
Andrew Thompson
@jack_davis7 definitely agree with this, this is exactly what I'm struggling with right now!
Francesco Signoretti
@jack_davis7 I do agree, especially if you're talking about the first 100 paying users
Alexa Vovchenko
Absolutely agree with the previous comment. Client acquisition and legal aspect are hard. I'd also mention a product-market fit, not all ideas are worth our efforts.
Abhinav Unnam
@aleksandra_vovchenko Absolutely, as its get easier to build stuff. Getting the products in the hands of the right people is getting absolutely challenging. Lack of Product Market Fit hurts everything morale, speed of execution and sometimes even eventual break down of team structure.
Home Care Assistance of
The hardest thing is the time frame between the investment and getting enough returns to pay all the operating expenses. In this time frame you have to maximise the performance in the least budget. Alzheimer’s Care Chandler
Probably just getting people to notice you. After all, the internet is a marketplace, and attention is the good that is scarce but everyone wants. Direct advertising is expensive and often not even effective. The other option is to build a community, but that demands a lot of effort. Both time and money are a constraint when starting a company, so that makes getting noticed so tough (albeit being so fundamental to success).
@schmetzma I think you are referring to the concept of attention economics here..good point! Well, in my opinion if you are struggling to get the attention of the right audience and even struggling to keep them engaged then you should try and look into interactive content and its uses.
João Luiz Caldeira
Previous comments about legal aspects, getting the first 100 users, and finding product-market fit are brilliant. I would only add the important and hard part that is building the right team.
Rachit Khator
Definitely building the right team, finding product-market fit and ofcourse getting noticed!
Ilia Pikulev
Just to add that it is very hard to find a startup mission, e.g. what is it actually been built for :)
Kushank Aggarwal
I definitely agree with the first 100 users struggle! For me, the hardest part is to ensure the retention of those users
Talaal Max Habib
We totally agree with you guys. Generating the first clients is super hard. I mean where do you start? Who is your persona? Which users are the easiest to get interested in your product and how do you approach them? Do I need a salesperson to do that? Over the last 18 month, we struggled the most generating enough leads for our SaaS product. After hiring one sales intern and one senior sales guy in Jan 2020 we burned a lot of money on sales. After 6 months we decided to build a super simple auto lead generation and auto outreach tool to do their job. All in Google Sheet with API to our CRM system. Now we dont have any salespeople in our team anymore and generating about 5 demo calls a week with the relevant peoples. If you guys are interested in our super lean sales approach and the learnings we made over the last 18 month feel free to write me talaal@alexandrya.ai. We are happy to help.
@alexandrya @talaal_max_habib1 Well if you are struggling with lead generation you can look into interactive content. Its a lead generation powerhouse & we believe its the future of content marketing. Write to me if you need any help: s.roy@outgrow.co
Jasper Ruijs
Another difficulty is that entrepreneurs tend to overestimate their funding pitch and the time it takes to convince VCs and/or Angels. When you get negative feedback on your business plan or presentation, see that as a learning opportunity. Also, many people quit after 3/7 rejections, especially when big incubators like Y combinator or Sequoia Capital firm don't see merit; they begin to doubt their ideas. The reality is that there are hundreds of investment firms and angels if you are willing to play the numbers game and improve your pitch every time. You will succeed unless you have bad numbers, no storytelling skills, or a biased market approach. The trick is not to use the standard pitching model. Those investors have heard and seen all of this. How your start-up is the next unicorn, that the market has 10x growth potential, and how much better your product is. Instead, focus on these three questions of Naveen Jain. A) Why now? -> What has changed this year, what most people aren't seeing. You need to use trend-watching data B) What do I see differently compared to my competitors? First, you take a problem, let's say excessive use of water for meat. Entrepreneur 1 says we can grow meat in a lab because we only eat a specific part of the animal. We don't need the container. Then, entrepreneur 2 identifies that it is the taste we are looking for and not the thing itself. She creates a vegan hamburger that fixes that problem. Then entrepreneur 3 joins the table, who elaborates that we want to feel fulfilled when we eat. So he creates a pill that gives you the taste of a hamburger and is nutritious. There is always a better option, but you have to look differently. C) Why me? Why are you exciting every day to fix this problem? Investors should get intoxicated with your obsession and not being inspired by passion. In Naveen's words, passion is for love and hobbies, moonshot entrepreneurship is but fixation or obsession, of wanting to read and try everything. The cross applying of insight of other fields is key here. Great entrepreneurs move principles from one industry to another. Furthermore, on average, getting funding, if you do it yourself, takes about 6 months. You can always speed up this process with platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Micro funding, or getting a bank loan. But getting the money is half the work. If you knew how many start-ups fail after millions of investments, you understand why VCs and Angels are so cautious with their investments. Many start-ups assume they have product-fit because they have to pay customers/users. But the reality, they are a service company that addresses multiple segments. In SaaS, you see this all the time, where a company keeps adding features and at some point, new users become overwhelmed with adaptation. Or in other scenario's one segment prefers keeping the business the same will other crave for innovation. The sad reality of product-led growth is that users and customers demand every year a better product. Historically investments were used by founders to scale the business. Nowadays, founders should use the funding to accelerate customer learning. To summarize, begin with value hacking before you start with growth hacking because problems tend to scale when you grow, which can create a black swan.
Kadir İnip
Sometimes there are sprints where you failed. Failures, I think, are motivation-killers for growing startups. I think these are the things that tire a startup and entrepreneur the most.
@kdrnp Your comment reminded me of the great Indian philosopher Swami Vivekananda.. He once said and I quote: " Take risks in your life, If you win, you can lead, If you lose, you can guide"
N M Reddy (Mallik)
We totally agree with you guys. Generating the first clients is super hard. I mean where do you start? Who is your persona? Which users are the easiest to get interested in your product and how do you approach them? @talaal_max_habib1 - Right said from real experince We are in the same position , Looking for offering the beta product at free for the community to use & give is the feedback - Pls reach me at support@happyagility.com
Ahmed Atiqujjaman
Convincing the Audience, i believe so!
Younes Al Hyar
To me marketing is the biggest challenge, especially if you're a technical profile.
Eugene Hauptmann
Thanks for the question @roy_outgrow I think the most exciting part of any business is making first $1000. You will be able to validate your Product Market Fit (PMF) and see which of your hypotheses work and which do not work. And then the hardest part is changing your mindset and more importantly your organization as you scale and grow your team, from 1 to 10, from 10 to 50, from 50 to 100, from 100 to 200, from 200 to 500, and so on. You might have previous experience doing that from your previous startup, but there's always something you need to learn to do differently. And this is the most exciting and usually hard part of startups for me.
Cihat Demirtas
Hey. I think, first one and the most important one is to determine the persona accurately and in detail. Find the group of people that you solve their suffering to become a team, become success.
@kolaylastirici Yes...defining the audience persona is tough....and once you have defined your audience persona, you must create curated content for each persona!
Charlene Mulley
Other than the legal stuff and the finances. I find it difficult to reach out to customers who are willing to buy the product
@almirama_unleynp What kind of product are you talking about?
joshua mendoza
it's having to compete with companies that has already established their brand. you just have to keep on going bro and never give up because hard work pays off.
Rohit Soni
there are many things to keep in mind to grow your business, 1st and the most difficult part that I think is finding a perfect team, who can help you to grow, I call it first because a team can build your business and at the same time downgrade your business.