14 Surprisingly Common Startup Challenges Before And After Launch

5 Mins read

At any given time, startup founders can face numerous startup challenges. These range from how to find investors to what business model they should adopt, but there are also some unique difficulties unique to startups in general. For example, each startup has its own culture and team dynamic which changes week-to-week, month-to-month and year-to-year depending on the people involved. This makes it challenging for founders to know exactly who they’re recruiting into their company or whether they’ve hired the right person for the job.

Common startup challenges

1. Attracting top talent and keeping morale

A challenge faced by startups is to maintain employee morale and attract top talent. Startup employees typically enjoy the thrill of working at a startup, but also face extra pressure and stress. This can lead to employees leaving, especially if they bought into the company’s vision only to discover it’s not as easy as expected.

2. Finding and Keeping funding

Finding funding and keep funding once they’ve found it. It’s often difficult for startups to get funding from banks or other corporate entities due to their lack of track record or history – even if the startup’s founders have already created successful companies in the past – and so VCs are often the only choice available. This can be a double-edged sword as startups often need the money more than larger corporations and they may not have as much say in how it’s used. If a startup fails to get funding, they may not have the same options as larger corporations and may even shut down.

3. Fostering effective communication channels

Communication is probably the biggest challenge faced by startups, especially if their team members are located remotely. It’s important for entrepreneurs to make sure everyone is on the same page, especially when working on projects or marketing strategies, but this can be difficult with team members who are in different locations around the globe. To protect against this, it’s important for startups to create as much as possible in writing. This reduces the likelihood of miscommunication and saves time.

4. Balancing work and life

Startup founders tend to work long hours, especially during their early days. It’s important for them to get downtime when they can, not only to recharge themselves but also their relationships with friends and family who aren’t involved in the startup world. This isn’t always easy to do, especially when there are deadlines or negative situations that require immediate attention.

5. Finding a niche market

It’s important for startups to distinguish themselves from competitors by finding a niche market. For example, a startup may be interested in finding a market that’s lacking in the kinds of products and services they’re targeting. However, finding a niche can be difficult because it requires careful research and careful examination to determine whether the market really needs that product or service. Not only that but startups need to create their own products or services that fit into this niche and then design them in the way they need to be designed.

6. Adapting to changing customer needs

A major challenge faced by startup founders is making changes based on changing customer needs. This requires them to have strong business sense, have good communication skills and adapt quickly. One of the biggest challenges they face is reacting quickly to changing market needs. For example, a startup may create a new product or service based on customer demand, but it may not be enough to sustain the company if they don’t adapt quickly enough.

7. Building a successful team atmosphere/culture

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Startups need a good team atmosphere because it breeds success. If not handled correctly, this can lead to employees leaving because they’re unhappy with working at a startup. While there are many challenges that startup founders face, the most important of all is creating a team atmosphere that allows people to work together in harmony.

8. Developing a good product or service that serves the customers

It’s crucial for startups to develop a good product or service by listening to customer feedback and developing it around what they need. As mentioned above, they often face challenges in this area because they may not have the resources available to create the type of products or services customers ask for. While many startups are successful once they’ve developed their product or service, some fail when this doesn’t happen quickly enough.

9. Creating the right marketing plan

Creating a good marketing plan is one of the biggest challenges faced by startups. While startups may have to spend more money on marketing than their larger counterparts, they can’t afford to spend too much or else they risk losing money. This is especially true when startups are in the process of getting their name out there and trying to attract investors.

10. Focusing on maintaining relationships with investors

Startups need investors not only to provide funding but also for advice. As mentioned before, VCs may not have the same interests as startups and may use funding in ways that hurt them down the line. This makes it important for startups to maintain good communication with investors not only before they get funding but also afterward.

11. Minimising legal risks

Startups are often small and this can lead to them making mistakes that could have negative legal effects on the company. Not only that but startups are often first-time entrepreneurs and may not have dealt with lawyers or experienced legal problems in the past. This makes it important for startup founders to educate themselves on the laws related to their industry so they know how to protect themselves against legal risks.

12. Coping with the ever-changing climate

Startups are often first-time entrepreneurs, which means that they may not have much experience in the way of dealing with the pressure that comes with working in a startup. As mentioned above, this can lead to stress and setbacks. When faced with difficult situations, it’s important for startup entrepreneurs to keep their cool and not let things get out of hand.

13. Overcoming external challenges

As startups become larger, they often need to overcome external challenges. For example, if their industry changes or they take on new competitors who are able to create similar products, it’s important for them to stay ahead of the game by making quick changes accordingly. This is something that takes time and effort, but can pay off in their ability to compete with larger companies.

14. Meeting high expectations for future growth

As mentioned above, startup founders face the challenge of meeting high expectations for future growth. It’s important to keep in mind that VCs often expect startups to grow faster than they normally do because they want to see their money grow as well. However, startups need to be careful not to overextend themselves by spending too much money too quickly on things like marketing campaigns.


Startup founders face many different challenges when they launch their companies, but these are just some of the more common ones. For most startups, finding a niche market that’s in need of their product or service is the biggest challenge they’ll face. However, there are things you can do to overcome this challenge and still be successful.

Read more about why startups are risky.

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