Authored ArticleBusiness & IndustriesLiving

The many milestones – Challenges in an entrepreneur’s life

By Anika Parashar, Founder and CEO of The Woman’s Company

Building a business from scratch and nurturing it into a well-oiled machine is no easy task. A lot of business entrepreneurs often struggle to find the right framework and support system to grow and sustain their businesses. For women essentially, cultural biases bleed into the business sector hindering their growth. Painted with the traditional gender roles, women are expected to put their families first and this is reflected in the entrepreneur economy as well. India has more than 100 unicorns that not only add to the economy but also to India’s global position as a leading economy across the globe. This exciting entrepreneurial terrain in the country is peppered with many hurdles for entrepreneurs such as –

•   Financial issues – One of the biggest challenges for any entrepreneur is financing.Strong financial backing is of paramount importance for the first 3 years of any startup. From the inception of the product to execution, a new business needs enough funds to sustain itself in the first few years. A major encumbrance for startup founders is access to funding. Finding and getting access to the right investors that resonate with the ethos of the company and invest in not just the monetary growth but also the brand language is difficult. For women especially, a lack of extra resources including rights on familial property or a way to earn extra income adds to this problem.

•   Lack of networking repository— Not even an entrepreneur is well versed in the networking terrain.  A business idea is just a sapling, a framework on which the business can be built. It requires the right team and resources. A majority of access to skilled personnel, charting the right course of action, growth opportunities et al depends on networking and running in the right circles. Restricted access to professional networks is one of the major challenges that entrepreneurs face in the startup ecosystem in India. Besides this, a lack of relevant information and mapping out the crucial steps to access professional networking events/groups adds to this problem. This makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to access these opportunities to find investors, collaborators, incubators etc. Restricted access to the right ecosystem, community and mentors, hampers their growth.

•   Gender Bias – Being a woman in business is a layered problem. It includes everything from socioeconomic status and cultural outlook to access to funds;women are expected to excel and multitask when it comes to managing work and home. They are expected to be an exemplary homemaker no matter what pressure at work. Amidst these unfair and unreal expectations, if a few women do dare to venture into the world of business, they still have to over-compensate on the home front. With little to no support from the family, an uncooperative environment, lack of education and financial issues it is that much more difficult for women to start and maintain their businesses.

•   Skilled workforce – Besides hard skills, soft skills especially in a startup culture are important not just for a business to endure but also to perform well. Recognizing these skills and hiring the right talent is a difficult measure for entrepreneurs especially as the best employees are often expensive. Employment procedures consume a lot of time for entrepreneurs, especially in the first few crucial years and yet, not having the right team can lead to failure and/or delays.

Issues such as effective marketing in constricted budgets, office infrastructure et al also add to the hurdles. The journey of an entrepreneur is that of perseverance, patience and incredible resilience. From cultivating commercial acceptance to building a collaborative environment, it is a multi-step process, each with its own challenges. 

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