All Articles Leadership Management 9 common business obstacles successful entrepreneurs face

9 common business obstacles successful entrepreneurs face

Entrepreneurs offer advice on how to be better organized while running your business.

4 min read


yec_Andrew Howlett

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBrief posts by YEC.

If you enjoy this article, join SmartBrief’s e-mail list for our daily newsletter for entrepreneurs.

Q. If you could be more organized in one area of your business, where would it be and why?

1. New-business development

The new-business pipeline is one of the most important and also one of the most chaotic pieces of our company. While there are tremendous tools (both large and small) for this process, it still seems to always end up a little unorganized and frenetic. Better organization of basic information, lead flow tracking and then sales process prompting is something we’ve always struggled to pull together. — Andrew Howlett, Rain

2. Delegating tasks

One of the most challenging jobs for entrepreneurs is delegating tasks. To do so, you need to have standard operating procedures in place so that your team members can perform tasks without your involvement. SOPs require a lot of attention at first, energy that will only be paid back in the long term. Being organized with your procedures is key in successful delegating. — Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

3. Documenting company processes

Developing and documenting a process within a startup is the most overlooked task. As a company who has been around for five years, I look back and wish I had documented everything. Every leader should document every process within a company from recruiting, hiring, on-boarding, off-boarding, account management and sales, to marketing, finance and payroll. This saves time and quickens training. — Shalyn Dever, Chatter Buzz

4. Managing teams across the country

With me in New York City and various team members living on the west coast, getting everyone together for meetings — and making sure that all participants stay engaged — can be difficult. Keeping weekly check-ins with everyone, delegating tasks, following up, and making people feel like I’m in the room when I’m not there are things I constantly strive for. — Jojo Hedaya,

5. Streamlinging email

So many digital organization tools have popped up during the years, but the one area that can still be a struggle is email. Switching to Gmail a few years ago has definitely helped, but I think there is untapped potential in finding a better way to organize and streamline email communications. — Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

6. Direct-sales outreach

It is easy to focus on smaller problems that offer immediate psychological return like a small programming issue or simple accounting fix. However sales outreach can be a drag, where you put in hours of time for no immediate payoff. If I could organize and force a certain amount of hours per day into direct sales outreach, I could ensure consistent monthly recurring revenue growth for my business. — Michael Averto, ChannelApe

7. Prioritizing tasks

With an overwhelming amount of work on a day-to-day basis, it is hard to focus and prioritize my daily tasks by what is most important. I wish I had the time to write out my tasks for the day every morning, and color code them according to how urgent or important they were to get done. There are too many times when I get a lot done in one day, but forget about the most important thing that I had to do. — Chad Keller, Eyeflow

8. Filing paperwork

It’s so easy to throw receipts, invoices, tax, payroll data into a bucket and hope that it magically gets filed by someone, sometime. Admittedly, that’s kind of the hope here, and usually once or twice a year, we hit a day of reckoning where we have to purge and file it all away! I’d really like to work on our system for this, and would love to see a list of pointers to do so! — Josh Sprague, Orange Mud

9. Time for companywide professional development

In a fast-paced agency with looming deadlines every month, it’s difficult to find the time and implement a system for continued professional development across the company. There is a “jump in the deep end” mentality that works well in many cases, but often leaves gaps in people’s skill sets over time. Ideally, we’d have a way to fill these gaps without impacting time for client work. — Ross Beyeler, Growth Spark