How can we help you today?

Fill in the form below so we can explore ways to reach your goals or call us at 1800 577 346.

1 / 2
How can we help you?
One last step

Leave your details below and we'll be in touch.

2 / 2
Next step
Thanks! We have received your form submission, I'll get back to you shortly!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

Addressing the Common Early-stage Challenges Startups Face

Addressing the Common Early-stage Challenges Startups Face
What's new: K-Startup Grand Challenge 2020 for Australian/New Zealand Startups! More information here.

All startup founders understand that getting their startups to the growth stage will present some challenges. Sometimes they are well-known and sometimes they are surprising, either because the founder does not know about them, does not know how to face them, or does not have the resources to do so. Knowing what challenges to anticipate, particularly during the earlier stages, will help you be better prepared to address them when they arise.

Finding the Right Market Fit

Before getting to a stage where your customers are buying your products or services in large numbers and telling others about them, you have to ensure there is a good fit between the customer and what you are selling.

Since you already know your niche, you can conduct customer research in line with it to find customers who would be interested in your business. In addition to identifying potential customers, your research should also focus on finding out their needs, wants, and pain points so you can present your products or services as the best solution.

When developing either, define the competencies that make them a good fit for the market and target audience. In short, you want to make sure that your customers genuinely want or need your products or services, so that you can be confident in your ability to generate repeat sales.

At this time, also work on product differentiation and niche competition strategies to avoid clashing with bigger competitors, which can make it harder to garner market share.

Financial Management

Every startup needs money, and it is your duty as a founder to keep it flowing. In most cases, a founder takes on funding as an investment or for equity in the business. To ensure money does not become an issue before it takes off, founders should find ways of keeping their initial expenses as low as possible. Here are some easy ways to cut some of your overhead expenses to free up cash flow:

  • Embrace Remote Work which can reduce the need for office space, utilities, and other associated costs.
  • Hire out for specialty non-core functions and tasks or hire freelancers. Instead of hiring full-time employees for tasks like accounting, marketing, IT support, or customer service, explore outsourcing options. This way, you only pay for the services you need when you need them instead of several full-time salaries.
  • Optimize Energy Efficiency: If you have a physical office or workspace, make energy-saving changes like using LED lighting, programmable thermostats, and energy-efficient appliances to cut utility costs.
  • Minimize Paper Usage: Embrace digital documentation and communication to reduce printing and mailing costs. Use cloud storage and project management tools for a paperless office environment.
  • Seek Affordable Payment Processors: Finding a payment processor with low merchant fees is crucial. Compare different options to identify one that aligns with your business needs while keeping fees to a minimum. Look for transparent pricing structures.
  • Utilize Open-Source Software: Explore open-source software alternatives for tasks like office productivity, design, and customer relationship management. These can often provide robust solutions at a fraction of the cost of proprietary software.
  • Monitor and Analyze Expenses: Regularly review your financial statements and track expenses meticulously. Use accounting software to categorize spending and identify areas where you can cut costs further.

Poor financial management can lead to cash flow issues that hinder progress in marketing, product development, and other areas.

The key is to ensure enough funding and cash flow to get to the next level without running out or looking for additional funding or investments.

Lack of Planning

Not planning or covering everything the startup requires from the first day can cause your startup to struggle or even fail before it gets out of the early startup stage. Critical areas such as staffing, funding, development, sales, and skill shortages should never be an afterthought.

Also, prepare for the unexpected by having a plan in place. If you do not, you will be setting yourself up for turbulence that you may not know how to deal with, or that you may not be able to overcome.

Every startup faces challenges before it gets going. Every founder should understand the most common challenges at the early stage and plan for them. Doing so is the best way of avoiding unexpected turns that can put it at risk of failure.

Workflow Podcast

The WorkFlow podcast is hosted by Steve Glaveski with a mission to help you unlock your potential to do more great work in far less time, whether you're working as part of a team or flying solo, and to set you up for a richer life.

No items found.


To help you avoid stepping into these all too common pitfalls, we’ve reflected on our five years as an organization working on corporate innovation programs across the globe, and have prepared 100 DOs and DON’Ts.

No items found.
No items found.


Unlock new opportunities and markets by taking your brand into the brave new world.

Thanks for your submission. We will be in touch shortly!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Steve Glaveski

Steve Glaveski is the co-founder of Collective Campus, author of Time Rich, Employee to Entrepreneur and host of the Future Squared podcast. He’s a chronic autodidact, and he’s into everything from 80s metal and high-intensity workouts to attempting to surf and do standup comedy.

Ask me a question!