Business column: Lee Kenny looks at the many challenges faced by entrepreneurs

Lee Kenny is managing director at Snowflake Media
Lee Kenny is managing director at Snowflake Media

A common myth in business is that it’s lonely at the top”.

When you mix this with a very British sense of not wanting to either brag or be seen as vulnerable, it can be a fatal combination to your business ambitions.

When you decide to go out on your own it’s a heady mix of excitement, nerves, self-doubt and sometimes opposition from those around you.

Entrepreneurs generally go through cycles of activity.

Pre-launch: The idea phase. They stay up until 3am working on plans, products, designs and survive on a few hours sleep through a mixture of enthusiasm, caffeine and adrenaline.

The idea of creating something is exciting and is one of the most fun times that make even the spreadsheets and legal research tasks bearable.

Post Launch: Reality sets in that good intentions, positive feedback and promises from friends, family and colleagues need to be converted in to actual sales and profits. There is a justification that all businesses need a “settling in” period before making any money. If I just work hard enough, I can start drawing a salary soon. It still feels good to be your own boss, but it can be a lonely period too.

Introspection Period: Hopefully things are going well and momentum can be maintained.

New ideas can be implemented, new marketing strategies can be created.

However, if things are slow this can be a make or break time for a new entrepreneur.

Often the budgets for marketing have been spent and new expenses are viewed in a less optimistic light in comparison to sales income.

Hand-written signs go up in place of the shiny launch materials and panic can set in. If you aren’t careful this can cause a period of paralysis. Fear of making a wrong decision. Fear of having to go back to your old life.

You are not alone. Hundreds of businesses locally have been where you are and the great news is they have also pushed through that period and are happy and willing to share their stories and help you get on your feet. Local networking groups, Facebook pages, Twitter chats.

They are all sources of leads, business and support and should be used before you need them, otherwise the pressure is too much to make a connection, which can repel potential partners.

Be careful who you listen to: Don’t feel like you are alone but do be sure to surround yourself with people who already have what you want and importantly have been where you are right now.

It’s easy to get sucked in to some “why my business failed and it’s nothing to do with me” support group session. In every economy some do well, why not let it be your business?

Lee Kenny is managing director at Snowflake Media