Carol Roth Blog
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.
 

Overcoming Big Business Obstacles

 

No matter how successful a business is or becomes, one thing is certain- there are always going to be obstacles, difficulties and stumbling blocks along the way. And since it can be so easy to get discouraged or want to give up, I thought that we should ask our successful CarolRoth.com contributor network of business owners, experts, advisors and entrepreneurs to share a big business obstacle that they have had to overcome during their own business journey. Their answers are presented below in no particular order.

You may notice some similar ideas listed, but I kept them separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.

1. Economy Tanked, We Almost TANK

When the economy tanked, we started losing city contracts. Marketing departments were folding or cutting budgets. We found our business lost 80% of our income. The most difficult time was how we were going to move forward. We focused on what services were bringing in income. We added a couple of services to the list. This turned the business around. Out of the slow time, my partner wrote a marketing book & that put our business on the map. Now, we're getting 85% more clients through book tours & workshops.
Thanks to: Eula M. Guest of Griot's Roll Film Production.

2. Mindset Can Be Stumbling Block

My own mindset was my biggest stumbling block when I was thinking about starting my own business. I'd known for some time that I wanted to strike out on my own, but when it came time to actually do it, I hesitated--would I be successful? What would happen if I failed? Would I be able to find enough clients and projects? All of these thoughts of self-doubt went through my head. I learned that you have to forge on, in spite of this. I did launch my business 16 years ago and am still happily self-employed.
Thanks to: Michelle Garrett of Garrett Public Relations.

3. The Muddled Marketing Message

It's funny that even if you believe that you have the best solution and know how the solution can work for your ideal customers, you must be able to share that message with your prospects. Marketing was and still is the major barrier for myself. I believe that over time through a lot of trial and error, my marketing message is no longer muddled. However, as market forces change, the message that may have worked originally may require refreshing. Clarity of your marketing message is essential to sustainable growth.
Thanks to: Leanne Hoagland-Smith of ADVANCED SYSTEMS.

4. Believing in Myself

When the city I lived in overtaxed me on a property I inherited, they laughed at me when I questioned their reason for the excess tax. I then converted the property from farming into Condo land, and borrowing millions of Rand (this was in South Africa), built 110 Condominiums which I sold at a huge profit. Yes, I had many sleepless nights, but I continued to believe in my decision and I was right.
Thanks to: Jacob Singer of www.jacobashersinger.com.

5. The Public Speaking Block

Networking and public speaking were my biggest obstacles when I first started business coaching. Since I was committed to success, remaining in my comfort zone wasn't an option. It was time to get out of my own way.

The first thing I did was attend Toastmasters. Here's where I challenged my public speaking fear. Networking helped me refine my message and become comfortable speaking to large groups.

The valuable lesson I learned was that if it's uncomfortable, then I ought to be doing it.
Thanks to: Loren Fogelman of Business Success Solution.

6. Bald Courage!

When I was on chemo for breast cancer, my business lost the huge momentum I'd gained, since I couldn't work. A year later, I had to start again, almost from scratch. That meant market like crazy, speak everywhere, and get visible again on social media. It took tremendous courage to get through chemo. That courage propels me in my daily life to "go for it" in every moment.
Thanks to: Randy Peyser of Author One Stop, Inc.

7. The Art of Credibility

My first networking event became the worst nightmare. Upon announcing I was a sales trainer (after proving myself many times over in the corporate arena), two shocking reactions were seen: the women ran away believing I was unethical and the men heartily laughed.

Dismayed, research was done. The answer, "Write A Book". I revealed a very hard lesson learned in Nice Girls DO Get the Sale. TIME Magazine, CBS News and foreign translation produced the credibility sought. I write prolifically today.
Thanks to: Elinor Stutz of Smooth Sale.

8. I'm a Woman!

In business men treat women differently than they treat other men. There's nothing I can do except be assertive, stand up for myself and not be such a lady.
Thanks to: Miriam Silverberg.

9. Hesitancy is Enemy of Success

Imperfect action beats perfect inaction.

The biggest obstacles I've always faced have been myself as an entrepreneur.

We tend to stand in our own way as entrepreneurs, striving for perfection. We waste time on decorating an office, perfecting a logo, getting business cards & all other nonsense that doesn't make a business successful.

I think Mark Zuckerberg says it best: "Move fast and break stuff"

This is a philosophy as entrepreneurs that we should strive for to obtain success.
Thanks to: Michael Kawula of Social Quant.

10. Never Saw it Coming!

A few years back, I was rear ended. There were 3 cars in the accident; I was the one in front. I was stopped, waiting to turn left with my signal on... I never saw or heard the accident. It has left me with a mild brain injury that affects how I work and the capacity in which I can do so.

What it has taught me is the power of perseverance & the ability to create systems to help move the process forward.

Build processes now, so, if adversity comes, you're prepared! I never saw it coming!
Thanks to: Ben Baker of CMYK Solutions Inc.

11. Think

Don't ever lose the memory of why you began this journey. My challenge was a life-long dream of "Making the world a better place". With the launch of the ONCI website looming in the near future, my dream is coming true. Never give up!
Thanks to: Kathleen Anderson.

12. Why Me?

Surprisingly, it was the soul searching to find the "why me" for our tagline. And, it was a long-term client who clarified it by saying “To me, you guys ‘get it’. You understand my needs; you listen; your candidates are the right profile. You seek, tell the (my) story, help build my relationship with the person, and work the deal. You help the candidate understand the opportunity and me understand the value of the candidate”. That's how we got to, “It’s more than who we know”.
Thanks to: Cari Kraft of Jacobs Management Group, Inc.

13. Giving Away the Store

Like many professionals who help and guide others, I gave away too much, especially in the beginning. I found I had a very full calendar and inbox, but an empty ledger. So, I ditched the "free intro session" model that was so popular back then, said NO to those who wanted endless free brain picking meetings and got serious about asking for my fees. This also allowed me to purposefully take pro bono work when I wanted. I revisit my strategy frequently to stay on track and charge what I'm worth.
Thanks to: Karen Southall Watts of Karensouthallwatts.com.

14. Be Yourself...Others are Taken

The biggest obstacles in life often represent its biggest gifts. My company is called Storyminers (because we're good at helping people and brands find their story and become their story). My continuous challenge is to do that myself. Always try to be more of who you (authentically) are. It's the best way to differentiate yourself and your brand. It's what people will love most about you and share with others. And, it's what will bring you the greatest success in life and in business.
Thanks to: Mike Wittenstein of Storyminers.

15. Army of One

I was managing my business, but I was not leading my team.

The truth is, as a business owner, you have to both lead and manage your business. So, what is the secret to success?

When you create the ability to effectively lead and manage within your business, you create a true competitive advantage.

The foundation of successful business ownership begins with the people. It takes an army, and you cannot do it with an army of one.
Thanks to: Michelle McGlade of MM International, Inc.

16. Mind Transformation

The greatest obstacle I've had to face and overcome is my belief system in myself and the value I bring in my business. Hiring a business coach who is also a life coach has helped me clear blocks I've had and has helped me gain more clarity in my marketing strategy. Talent, skills and drive must be girded by truly believing you/your business bring a benefit to others.
Thanks to: Donina Ifurung of On High Heels Events.

17. Running On My Own Dime

I have always bootstrapped my companies, which means that I'm using my own money to support all stages of growth. This certainly makes growth and development a lot harder, and take a lot longer. The goal is to eventually develop a surplus of cash flow that you can use both to pay yourself/your employees, and have as a reserve for the cost of running your business. Making it over that hump was certainly my biggest challenge in the early days.
Thanks to: Ryan Ballow of iMobileRescue Inc.

18. Overcoming Scarcity

As a business owner, you are the only one who goes home Friday wondering if the check will clear. Up down, up down and so it goes with cash flow.

I recall one job that was postponed 9 months. During that time, my biggest challenge was to overcome the fear of scarcity. There is nothing worse in sales than the tone of desperation.

When I'm fearful, I remind myself of past successes. I know someone wants my skills. I just have to find them. Oh, and I asked my Mom's prayer group for prayers.
Thanks to: Sally Franz.

19. I've Seen the Enemy...It is Me

At the age of 70+, an age one would assume some wisdom, and having founded five business over fifty years, I have reached an inevitable conclusion. I'm not as smart as I thought. I can say the biggest obstacle in my business building career was mistakenly believing I was supposed to have all the answers. I should have asked more questions and been willing to ask for more help. I sometimes made decisions based on gut feel with no facts. The best advice is ask for help. Only the stupid have no questions.
Thanks to: Dr Gerald Patnode of York College of Pennsylvania.

20. You Can't Do Everything

I have always been the type of person who believed that if you want something done right, then you have to do it yourself. In business, this is a bad motto. You cannot possibly be an expert at everything, so hire or partner with experts in the areas of business where you are not an expert, such as sales, marketing, joint ventures, appointment setting, blogging, SEO, etc. Help other people grow their businesses as they help you grow yours.
Thanks to: Peter Geisheker of The Geisheker Group, Inc.

21. Get Your Website in Order!

The biggest obstacle we had to overcome was our website. We started with $5,000, not a lot of money, so we hired a guy in Bangladesh for $889.99. We got what we paid for. A mess! Since our business was online, we got off to a very rough start. Today, our website is great and our business is a huge success matching 10,000 freelance consultants with 5,000 businesses. But be sure the website works before you launch a business!
Thanks to: Rob Biederman of HourlyNerd.

22. Learning How to Delegate

As an entrepreneur, it's tough because you have to be the vision, the funds, and the passion to get it done - even when other people won't. However, the trick to success is learning how to delegate and share the glory... otherwise, you can only get so far on your own.
Thanks to: James Hills of Men Who Blog.

23. The Facilitating Introvert

I'm an introvert... and an expert in creativity and group idea-generation techniques. Early in my career, to get past the anxiety and fear associated with facilitating group ideation sessions, I forced myself to take both acting and improv courses...
They were TREMENDOUSLY helpful (and scary, too). I have now facilitated over 1,000 successful idea-generation sessions and moderated over 500 creative focus groups.
Thanks to: Bryan Mattimore of Growth Engine.

24. Do What You Do Best

My biggest challenge was finding a manufacturer that could produce my product. The common outcome was weeks of wasted time and false promises. What I learned was that if you keep getting the same results and 10 months have gone by, you need to outsource and delegate to someone who has experience and success in the area you need help with. It's better to focus on what you are good at than getting frustrated and not achieving your goal.
Thanks to: Buyar Hayrula of Bake Any Shape LLC.

25. Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly

Get rid of weak people quickly. I knew in my gut they were not up to snuff, but out of loyalty to them, I let them hang around much longer than they should have. It would have been better for everyone to let them go as soon as the signs were there. They became more insecure and threatened as we grew, which was not productive for the team. As soon as I let them go, the culture got stronger and the bar higher. “A" team people like to be surrounded by other stars. Lesson learned.
Thanks to: Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls.

26. Business Won't Wait

As a speaker, I travel almost constantly. The biggest obstacle my small business had to overcome back when I first got started was getting everything done that had to be done while always being on the move. Without laptops and cell phones and constant Internet access, I spent my days looking for pay phones and calling in constantly to check my old answering machine. Then when I did return, I'd still have to spend two or three days catching up on all I hadn't been able to do.
Thanks to: Barry Maher of Barry Maher & Associates.

27. Crush Copycats ~ Make Millions

Overcoming copycats was the largest hurdle my startup had to face. I had individuals mine my intellectual property, create identical services
with the stolen information & use my startup story. I faced the decision to use our profits to grow our business or use them to fight. I decided to fight the copycat in court to defend my IP & maintain my company’s niche monopoly. I also put a stop to copycats by adding security triggers within my service that lock an account if it is abused.
Thanks to: Danielle Tate of MissNowMrs.com.

28. Staying Flexible

Some business start-ups are fairly obvious as to what they are and how they will be run; take accountancy, for example. However, some businesses (most) are vaguer in terms of their offering, their product, their service- whatever it may be.
The key is to remember that whatever your initial 'ah ha' moment might be, it will undoubtedly change as you plan and then launch. When you realize this and avoid being too precious of the brand and the 'look', it has the potential to continually get better.
Thanks to: Matthew Cox of Purcus.

29. Give Up the Margin. Pile High

We are a skincare company that specializes in eye creams. The biggest Obstacle is to give up the margin by going B2B. A new start up usually survives the first year by selling at a higher retail price and is left with more margins. It requires huge marketing budgets to leverage the B2C market, so we focused on B2B. The margin dropped significantly and the payment terms stretched longer. Storage and manufacturing also depends on economy of scale. It's crucial to have the right volume to start and to grow.
Thanks to: Kevin Liu of Adorlee Beauty Inc.

30. Unknown to Keynote Speaker

Six months ago, I left my VP of Sales role at a Fortune 100 company to start a business. The biggest obstacle? Being completely unknown in that industry. How did I overcome it? By using a strategy learned from our rock band 15 years ago.

The strategy? Don't try to create your own scene. Go to where a scene exists and make yourself valuable. Go to where someone needs what you're offering and help them check a box off as "done" on their to-do list. I found an event needing a Keynote, and voila!
Thanks to: Spencer Smith of Spencer X. Smith Consulting.

31. Handana Handles the Sweat!

Handana is a fashion meets function fitness sweatband. Handana's more than a sweatband. It inspires you to cross your finish line no matter where it is in life and empower others along the way. The hardest obstacle is finding ways to get this reinvented sweatband in front of our target market. We have found through attending marathon expos where the athlete can try on Handana, feel the fabric, see all of the amazing colors and learn the inspiring story behind the product has been beneficial.
Thanks to: Katie Niemeyer of Handana.

32. PPC Saved Me Early On

My biggest obstacle at the beginning was landing clients. I had a great service, but no one knew about it. In the beginning, Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) through Linkedin, and other networks really helped target my ideal clients. It's not really that unusual, but when done correctly, it's very effective.
Thanks to: Will Blesch of Breakthrough Business Branding.

33. My Job was My Biggest Obstacle

The biggest hurdle I faced was my 11-year teaching career. My partners and I had a great idea, but I was afraid to leave my paycheck. After all, I have a family to provide for. Finally, I made the leap, and the business has taken off. In just our 4th month of existence, we broke 200K visitors. Things are looking up--I just had to take a chance and not settle for the comforts of a career I'd grown familiar with.
Thanks to: Chris Brantner of CutCableToday.

34. Myself

I lacked the confidence and self-belief to make my business a success. I would do things like run Facebook ads just because other people did them.

My solution? 1. Talk to other business owners - it made me realize that I wasn't alone. 2. Read books and go on self-development retreats. 3. Take action that comes from within yourself.

The result? I now do what I love - creating amazing content for my audience and developing friendships with other leaders in my field.
Thanks to: Louise Hendon of Paleo Living Magazine.

35. I'm My Own Obstacle

I'm my own biggest obstacle - and I like it that way. Previously, I've been in senior and global roles in multinationals. There, inertia was my nemesis. With my startup, LeaderAmp, I'm the one who blindly selected an unworkable co-founder. I hired a bad lawyer. To be able to learn and not repeat these mistakes is a great opportunity. It has helped me to put errors into their proper perspective. And my firm has grown far beyond most startups in spite of my missteps.
Thanks to: Matt Barney of LeaderAmp.

36. Age Ain't Nothing But a Number

I'm a young female entrepreneur who started this company while attending University. I started a Video Game coaching business in a male-dominated industry. My main obstacle for starting a business so young was being a bit naive and immediately trusting vendors (such as web developers) and not fully doing more research before choosing. Looking back, I wish I reviewed all contracts with vendors more carefully. I have gotten burned a couple of times, but I have learned my lesson moving forward!
Thanks to: Beth Henriksen of LoLBoost.net.

37. Get Your Tech in Order!

In the beginning, we didn't have credit card processing. We invoiced clients and waited for checks. Money was tight, so when they were late, it was a real drag on business. The process of writing a check also gives clients an opportunity to rethink their investment. This was the cause of several contracts ending sooner than they should have, despite meeting deliverables and providing good work. Two years ago, we switched to credit card payments and our retention increased from 4 months to 18.
Thanks to: Rick Maher of The Alternative Board.

38. My 7 Non-Obstacles

Reflecting on the biggest obstacle I had to overcome in starting my journey I can tell you it wasn't these 7 things: willingness to take a risk, willingness to leave a stable income with medical benefits, willingness to retire from a long-standing career, my husband walking out on me, my father dying, & lack of creativity or technical skills. The biggest obstacle was my lack of sales experience. That meant hiring coaches and forging towards the best chapter in my life. That's what entrepreneurs do!
Thanks to: Denise Levine of Outside In Organizer and Makeovers.

39. Going Against Everyone

The biggest obstacle came as soon as I decided to start a business. After completing engineering, I landed with a high paying job right out of the gate. Being from a middle class family, there was immense opposition against my call to quit the job, with all family members, relatives and friends continuously advising not to take this risk. This was a huge barrier for me and made every step I took many times harder. I fought all odds and did it anyway. Eventually, the results spoke for themselves.
Thanks to: Srajan Mishra of TSI International.

40. Securing Capital as a Start-up

Capital for research, development and manufacture has been our biggest obstacle. Developing full bust lingerie is incredibly challenging, requiring expensive expertise and manufacture of stock prior to sale. As a start-up with no trade history, banks refused to lend. However, we have been able to utilize funding from some fantastic organizations, e.g. Manufacturing Advisory Service and the Prince’s Trust. We also launched a crowdfunding campaign that raised funds to purchase materials for stock.
Thanks to: Katy Payne of Bosom Galore.

41. Mom vs Mompreneur

The biggest obstacle that I had to overcome during my business journey was maintaining a healthy balance between being a mom for my twins & CEO of my business. Mentally & emotionally being fine with not being at every event & every milestone of their lives, but being present for them every minute we have together. Quality vs quantity. 7 years into this, I still get my heart strings tugged when I can't be at some events. As long as I'm a mom & CEO, this obstacle will be there to some degree.
Thanks to: Lori Bruhns of Lori Bruhns, LLC.

42. The Tortoise Principle

The biggest hurdle I had to deal with as my company grew is the temptation to expand too fast. When you finally start making money, it’s easy to try and grow your business as quickly as possible. Don’t. Build out your ability to handle extra customer support, build your business back end and then, launch those shiny new products. Add new merchandise and services only as you can afford to take the time they’ll require. In the end, slower growth means a healthier bottom line.
Thanks to: Matt Behnke of Orthotic Shop.

43. Beware Fees with IP Protection

Protecting Intellectual Property requires many costs to draft, submit and maintain patents, which can be a surprise. Many average business operators must work with an external service provider in order to draft, submit and maintain these patents in various countries – all while respecting the patent laws in each country. Also, patents for IP protection require ongoing maintenance fees in order to keep each patent active.
Thanks to: Jay Litkey, Founder & President of Embotics.

44. Domain Name Obstacle

Before we were Voices.com, we used to be called InteractiveVoices.com, which is a mouthful. We decided to shorten it to Voices.com and sought to purchase the domain name only to find that someone already owned it. The price tag for it was $50,000. That was more cash than we had on hand, so I proceeded to set-up meetings with every financial institution in the city, but couldn't raise a penny toward the name. We countered with $5,000 payments and scored a name that sent us to the top of Google.
Thanks to: David Ciccarelli of Voices.com.

45. Hardest Lesson to Learn

Learning that you need people and to tell them that. You will have to fire people, you have to hire people, and you have to ask for help. People power change. You have to keep knocking on doors until you find the right people who understand your mission, your values, and share the same. Along the way, you will have to fire people and it hurts to do so; it puts you in a moment of can I go through it again? But you have to hire the right people, empower them & tell them you need them.
Thanks to: Lauren Foster of Stretch Recipes.

46. Failure Teaches Big Lessons

Growing up, I always saw failure as a bad thing. I'd try to avoid it as much as possible.

The reality is that failure teaches important lessons and if you can learn from those lessons, you and your business will be stronger because of it.

If we succeeded at everything we tried, we'd never be challenged and complacency would hinder our progress.
Thanks to: Adam Connell of UK Linkology.

47. Ohhh-Look! Bright Shiny Object

No matter if it’s a cool new widget for the website or the latest must have social media platform, the #1 obstacle I faced was getting distracted from the strategy. I was excited about entrepreneurship & everything was fascinating and new! This was a costly mistake, both soft (my valuable time) and hard costs (my hard-earned dollars). I got organized and set priorities for each day. Once those priorities were taken care of, I could give myself the freedom to look at the bright shiny objects.
Thanks to: Lisa Baker-King of zebecs.

48. Gold Medal or... Black Tiles?

When I made the US Kayaking team in 1991, I knew I wasn’t in for a smooth ride. A few years into independent contracting, I had begun to make a name for myself in Reading, Massachusetts and was expanding into roofing.
Without kayaking sponsors, I knew I couldn’t support both my entrepreneurial & Olympic dreams. So, I chose entrepreneurship and established the most environmentally friendly and least costly roofing business in the region. And every morning I still kayak 10 miles.
Thanks to: Ken Duval of Duval Roofing.

49. Returning an Entire Industry

The biggest obstacle I ever had to overcome was returning the whole rubber duck industry back to America where it began to be the only one making them here once again. I had no idea how much manufacturing had been lost and that we would be starting from scratch. It was the most difficult thing I ever attempted. In the end, we did figure it out and now do them for everyone from Harley-Davidson to The Future Farmers of America while getting non-stop national PR. It has totally changed our company!
Thanks to: Craig Wolfe of CelebriDucks.

50. Failing to Set High Targets

Personally, the biggest obstacle I ever had is failing to set my targets high enough.

These concepts of goal setting and action taking are not taught in schools, courses, or conferences. Living your life at 10X levels is the only method I have found that determines the correct estimation of effort.

Living a 10X life is simple— put forth 10 times the amount of activity you need to accomplish a goal. In sales, I did 10X more presentations, made 10X more phone calls, and met 10X more clients.
Thanks to: Grant Cardone of Cardone Training Technologies, Inc.

51. Family Leading an Industry

Growing an industry-leading business by working with my spouse and juggling family is my biggest challenge. There is no time for maternity leave, sick days, or flat tires as a self-employed mom. 1 day after delivering each of my 2 babies, I was at work running our business with babies in my office. There are perks to self-employment, but running a family business is tough work. We have over 200 people who rely on us working through "life" to keep our business as successful as it can be.
Thanks to: Melanie Ocana of Rustico Tile and Stone.

52. Team is EVERYTHING!

As a trained architect, I had no idea what I was getting into building a business, so I decided to get some partners to help. A couple of years in, I realized I'd made a huge mistake in the people I'd selected to join my team. If I'd only known then what I know now, TEAM IS EVERYTHING. After many failures, I’ve found the missing link from years before. I’ve since gotten a CTO on board who’s helped facilitate and finance the new face and technology behind our newly launched dating app, Cheekd!
Thanks to: Lori Cheek of Cheekd.

53. Learn to Believe in Yourself

The biggest obstacle I had to overcome in my journey was my self-doubt about being an entrepreneur. I am an attorney, who in 2005 was working for a mortgage lender. When the mortgage world collapsed, I was approached by a colleague who was starting a new mortgage company. While I had always dreamed of being my own boss, I was frightened to make the leap. Ultimately, I signed on with my new partner and welcomed the opportunity to control my own destiny.
Thanks to: Susan Naftulin of Rehab Financial Group, LP.

54. Find the Best Sales Prospects

The biggest obstacle is in getting qualified prospects. Once a 'way' was found that best worked, then staying with that way opens doors that enables growth. Scan public media for current information about potential prospects, then fashion a way in which your service would/could benefit. Approach by direct mail, indicate one or more benefits, often asking the prospect to call you. Some will. Equally, make follow up phone calls; you'll rarely experience negative feedback.
Thanks to: Jim Herst.

55. Judging a Book by Its Cover

In mid-1960, I was a construction contractor for the gov't, employing union people. The problem was my long hair & beard. It really didn't go over well with the industry I was in. Anytime I was doing a project for a different agency, it was always the same story.

Disliked for my looks.

The more I was prejudiced against, the more respectful and kept to my word person I would be. In time, I was loved by all who knew me. I was once told: You're the most credible contractor I ever met.
Thanks to: Harris Glasser of Serving The People Press.

56. Fear

With less than 1% of the population serving in the Armed Forces, military deployments probably did not jump to the forefront of most people's minds. However, for active duty folk, this is our reality. When starting GLIP.tv, fear was my obstacle. Fear of how to run a company thousands of miles away or adding more to my already full plate. However, with prayer and a little encouragement from my wife, we started GLIP from a tent in Africa on a combat deployment. Fear is no excuse not to act. Go do it!
Thanks to: Tony Weedn of GLIP Inc.

57. Rehabilitating the Madman

The worst difficulty I overcame was trust. I couldn’t trust staff to make decisions and interact with clients for fear of losing the account. I hyper-micromanaged, always looking over everyone’s shoulders. This caused so much turnover, I began to recycle email addresses! After realizing I was the problem, I created a “self-therapy” program to rehabilitate myself. This included staggering my time at the office, working offsite, admitting my problem to my staff, and asking for forgiveness.
Thanks to: Ken Kilpatrick of Sylvia Marketing & Public Relations.

58. The Hidden Side of the "Books"

As unlimited as we want our thoughts and life to be, there are those around us that hold a power that even though it is really an illusion, those still holding on to ego still try and practice old ways of doing business. Whether it be patriarchy holding women back or racism holding those with melanin back from success. It is time for those in old seats of "power" to quit hoarding resources meant for everyone to enjoy happily and freely.
Thanks to: Vickens Moscova of Moscova Enterprises, INC.

59. Never Lose Focus

My biggest obstacle was keeping focus on my original vision. I started Effective Coverage to help all renters get affordable renters insurance after I had lost everything in an apartment fire. But soon after launching, we began moving into other insurance areas. Not only did this divert our attention from my still-young company, it also went against my primary mission of helping protect people and their belongings. I narrowed my focus after six months and haven’t looked back.
Thanks to: Eric Narcisco of Effective Coverage.

60. Pardon Me?

At times, I talk so fast I am practically inaudible. Talking fast is not a plus, unless you sing "Devil Went Down to Georgia" Karaoke, which I rock by the way. In starting real estate, when I did get up the nerve to talk to people (the sales thing was new to me), they didn't respond like I anticipated. I thought they didn't like me. After observing, I figured out that people weren't being rude in their response, they just had no idea what I had said. I am now a "slow-down talker" in progress.
Thanks to: Jennifer Thompson of Allen Tate Realtors.

61. Managing Finances and Demand

Like all liquor distilleries, we are always trying to solve the math equation of anticipating how many barrels to produce today to meet consumer demand in two or three years. We shipped 10,000 bottles in 2009, and last year shipped more than 50,000 bottles.

Becoming good at managing finances is part of this. The first year, I was learning as I went, and my first year of bookkeeping was a MESS!! I recommend good accountants and great accounting software like Sage 50.
Thanks to: Scott Harris of Catoctin Creek Distillery.

62. Software Design & Development

Our biggest obstacle was landing our first client. It's common for a prospect to ask for references of past work as part of their due diligence process while evaluating a contractor or a vendor such as ourselves. With no references to give, we were stuck. To solve this problem, we published our own software in order to have it serve as a reference to our capabilities. This strategy worked, and we’re proud to report that we now service companies as small as startups to as large as fortune 100s.
Thanks to: Joshua Weiss of TeliApp.

63. Live the Life You Prescribe

The biggest hurdle I have overcome as a business owner is living the life I prescribe. I am known for my inspirational morning staff meetings where I talk about how to live a healthy and balanced life. While it was easy to talk about, the more I did, the more I felt challenged and compelled to walk the proverbial walk. I am still far from perfect, but I try my best to be mindful of living a well-balanced and healthy life on all fronts: diet, exercise, civic service and happy thought thinking.
Thanks to: Haj Carr of TrueLine Publishing.

64. Energy Healing in Business

As a law school graduate who went from law to starting a life coaching practice with no business background, the biggest obstacle I encountered was charging what I’m worth. I struggled to not only ask for money, but pricing my coaching programs in the thousands. I overcame this fear by working with business coaches and getting lots of energy healing sessions to clear my aura and develop a money mindset. This combination allowed me become fearless in asking for money and being paid a lot more!
Thanks to: Maria Akopyan of Live and Love Vibrantly.

65. You're a Human not a Robot!

Remembering I am human and there is only one of me. I often lamented that I needed to clone myself and was getting frustrated that I wasn’t getting enough done fast enough. Trying to tackle sales, accounting, marketing, and business operation all in one go is the fastest way to getting burnt out. Remember to breathe and relax! You are a human being not R2D2, so tackle one thing at a time and have a realistic plan!
Thanks to: Melissa Margoulis of First Avenue.

66. Listen to Losers and Then Rise

I grew up in a poorer part of Sydney. Poverty thinking was definitely the flavor. Well, I was being taught (by peers at school) that life is hard and that I couldn't go on to bigger things. I was told that my goals were selfish and for a long time I believed it.

I have since moved on, setting my goals and working to achieve them. Not easy. At first, I had to give myself permission to live a better life.

Now that I am living better, I can see how I can do more good in the world by living better.
Thanks to: Leo Willcocks of DeStress to Success.

67. Age is a Number, Nothing Else

Being a 20 year old female entrepreneur felt like a disadvantage in the business world. Trying to bring my product that was an idea in my head to reality has been a journey. Because of my lack of experience and my youth, I have been taken advantage of and I felt many people not wanting to take me seriously. However, with determination and passion… I've launched my landing page and am close to launching my Kickstarter campaign soon. Age doesn't matter. Hard work, determination, and faith does.
Thanks to: Jenna Baik of Bebox.

68. Achieving Work-Life Balance!

The biggest obstacle that I have overcome in my business career is learning to maintain a healthy work-life balance. I enjoy working, but after years of spending several hours a day working at home, my work was “consuming” my personal life. I decided to stop doing any work at home. It took a month to gradually wean myself off of doing any work at home by training myself to be more focused and productive at work. The result? Work is more enjoyable, and I can relax and enjoy my personal life!
Thanks to: Jerry Bruckner of LetsGetDivorced.com.

69. Home-Based, Not Home-Bound

Owning a home-based business presents a unique set of challenges. Many say that maintaining a balanced schedule is the biggest challenge. I think the biggest challenge is finding clients. There are many ways to advertise, but I've found that most people want to do business with someone they've met. My advice to new business owners is to find opportunities to meet people in your community. Ten years later, almost all of my clients are people I've met in person or people who were referred to me.
Thanks to: Darci Upham of CruiseOne.

70. Fear

Early in my career, I shared the number one fear in America of speaking in public. Yes, I was petrified to get up in front of a group and speak!

Determined to eliminate this fear, I met my mentor and learned that Toastmaster’s had helped her become a better speaker and taught over 300,000 members worldwide. Fast forward three years and I found myself speaking at a Society of Women Engineering conference. Personally, Toastmaster’s taught me how to make the impossible possible.
Thanks to: Kelly Isley, Author of Adapt Now.

71. Change Your Inner Game First

The longer you work for yourself (or your business), the more challenges you have. The biggest challenge is to keep going and remain resourceful.
Now, when I face a challenge, rather than get down on myself, I constantly ask myself how can I remain resourceful in this moment? Every day, I ask myself "What can I do today that will make success inevitable, that will force success to come to me?" This helps me stay in a resourceful state of mind. Try it for yourself, and let me know if it works!
Thanks to: Tanya Veleva of Wellness Thriver.

72. Finding Partners to Work With

Many people try to enter the cannabis industry and don't understand the scope of the legal and licensing process, as well as the sheer amount of work necessary to operate a pot facility. To find people to invest money in the cannabis industry is not the issue, because I think it's happening every day. Finding working partners who understand the true task ahead, appreciate cannabis, and are willing to put the hours in to be successful is a different and more difficult proposition.
Thanks to: Anthony Franciosi of The Honest Marijuana Company.

Have you overcome a big obstacle in your own business? If so, please share it below. And as always, many thanks to everyone that contributed to this article!

And if you would like to become a part of the CarolRoth.com contributor network and find out about opportunities to contribute to future articles, sign up here: http://www.carolroth.com/carolroth-com-blog-contributor-sign-up/

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth
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