The Single Greatest Challenge Every Startup Must Overcome

Why do startups seem so easy for the first 3-6 months and so difficult after that honeymoon period? Here’s why.

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Challenge for every startup

There is a reason that so many startups fail that almost nobody is talking about. It’s a tale that starts out as one of massive passion, intensity and drive – yet can so often end up in the true realisation of what it really means to be in business.

If you’re a business owner making your own sales you’ll know the feeling:

You start the first 3-6 months as an eager and passionate adventurist. Not much can get in your way and your passion alone is enough to make the sales that pay the bills to begin with.

But then things begin to change.

You experience a setback or two, and the creeping doubts can begin to take hold.

The metaphorical wolves begin to see your door in their sights and we start to check back into our mind’s archives for potential other avenues we can take to generate income.

But why does it all of a sudden seem so hard when it all felt like such a honeymoon affair before?

The reason is simple.

It all comes back to the primary objective of anyone in business first and foremost:

To change the minds of buyers from Point A (where they are) to Point B (where we want them to be, purchasing out product).

And here’s the thing with that objective:

It’s a difficult thing to do every single day.

Of course it’s fun and easy at the start – its new and exciting and the prospect of the possibilities of where it could go are something we are more than keen to tell others about.

But most business owners don’t understand what it truly means to get up every single day and know that their sole purpose is to change the minds of the people they speak with.

Once our immediate circle is aware of what we are doing, and perhaps they’ve told their immediate friends and family, the reality soon kicks in that as a business we are here to do one thing more than any other:

We are here to convert previously unknown bystanders into the curiously interested, and curiously interested into revenue.

We are here to be master persuaders.

Dare I say it: we are here to sell.

And that’s the cycle, it never ends and we need to thrive in those conditions for business success.
But lets take it one step even further.

Why is the art of persuasion such a difficult one to carry out each and every day for many startup owners?

If we take a close look at the human behavioural preferences involved in buying, it can be lead back to one key concept:

Buyers need to be convinced that the way they have previously been doing something is wrong, and no one wants to be wrong.

The last thing anyone wants to be told is that they are stupid.

And although as business owners and salespeople we would never directly say this to our ideal buyers, we essentially do need to imply that there is a better way of living than they have previously been choosing.

Whether that involves selling a brand of clothing they haven’t worn previously or an educational training program they haven’t invested in before, it remains true that by buying our product or service it means they are buying into a new form of thinking, however slight or significant that may be. 

That means they need to subconsciously admit that they have something to learn.

And most people would rather admit to knowing something, than admit that they have something to learn.

Therefore, it is our job as business owners and sales jets to show our buyers they are wrong (which they don’t want to be) and that there is a better way to do it (without them feeling as though they are unintelligent).

We need to do that every single day.

Marketing campaign after marketing campaign.

Prospect after prospect.

Sale after sale.

We see now why it is so critical to invest the majority of your time as a startup in sales and marketing. It is knowing how to market and how to effectively persuade that is going to set you up for success beyond the honeymoon period of 3-6 months.

And the development in these areas doesn’t stop once you think you know it, this is the exact moment at which you need to grow even further, because we all know that’s exactly what your more successful competition is doing.

Welcome to the real world of business.