3 Lessons on Facing Startup Challenges

Starting up a company is no easy feat. From finances to staffing to product availability, entrepreneurs face many startup challenges when launching a new business. During Longmont Startup Week in July, Jeffrey Donenfeld, investment manager with Boomtown, led a conversation entitled “That Which Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.” Out of that panel discussion we found these three takeaways that could help your company in the long run.

1. Pivoting Happens 

Sometimes your company idea is exactly what it needs to be right now. But circumstances, technology and customer attitudes can change. That’s when you look at your company honestly and ask if it’s time to pivot.

Chris Drayer, co-founder of Revaluate (Boomtown alum Fall 2015), recommended entrepreneurs not shut themselves out to what could be right in front of them. He said to stay open minded and always work on advancing your company, even if it means going in a slightly new direction.

2. Look at the Positives

When a startup is faced with a challenge, it can be easy to only see the negative. Michael Wray and Kate Cygan, co-founders of Read Dog Books (Boomtown alum Spring 2017), recommended looking at it in a different way. They said to focus on what you, the entrepreneur, are good at and not what you might be bad or even failing at. Ask co-workers and friends what you’re good at, too because sometimes in the middle of a major problem, entrepreneurs can’t see the positives.

3. Feedback, Feedback, Feedback

Everyone on the panel explained this in one way or another as a lesson. Get feedback. Learning from customers, friends and mentors can provide entrepreneurs with the feedback needed to forge ahead with the company, pivot or not.

Terry Olkin, co-founder & CEO, Left Hand Robotics, said entrepreneurs always need to keep evaluating their market and doing research. Is your company solving a real problem? Olin recommends entrepreneurs find that answer.

Get out from behind your computer and talk to real people is what panelist Sergio R. Angeles, co-founder and president of the Longmont Observer, recommended. Looking at data is important, but getting face-to-face feedback is also a great resource.

Challenges while building a startup are inevitable. Just when an entrepreneur masters one issue, another one may come along. The ability to pivot, ask for feedback and look at the positives are lessons that make managing problems a little bit easier and could make you a stronger entrepreneur in the process.