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Startups: Don’t let bottlenecks hold you back

Startups: Don’t let bottlenecks hold you back

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Last updated: 28 March 2024.

Bottlenecks: if you’re in the startup world, you’ve probably heard a lot about them. You may have been warned that they're are one of the biggest threats to a new business and that thought may leave you feeling pretty intimidated.

With the implication that many startups ultimately fail because of bottlenecks, you may find yourself wondering if there’s any point in trying. Is it worth it to create a startup if it’s just likely to fail?

Well, we believe that bottlenecks don’t have to hold startups back! So, let’s take a look at a few great reasons why. But before we dive in, let's make sure we're all on the same page.

What is a bottleneck? 

Put simply, a bottleneck is a limit or obstruction that slows progress or halts it altogether. 

Bottlenecks can come in a variety of different forms for different types of startups. For example, issues with production, progress, publicity, and time management can all create bottlenecks that make it difficult for new companies to succeed. 

Why are bottlenecks scary?

Setbacks that arise as a result of bottlenecks can be especially detrimental for fledgling startups because, when your company is in its youth, you can’t afford to lose momentum.

Stalled progress can kill new startups out of the gate and, if the setbacks are significant enough, it can be difficult to recover from them.

Fortunately, however, you are not doomed to fall victim to a bottleneck. With the right strategies, you can surge right through them and prevent them altogether! How do you do it? Here are a few of our top tips...

How to beat bottlenecks

1. Superior time management 

Have you ever heard the phrase "Time is money"? Well, when it comes to a startup, that’s very true! If you want to be successful, you have to practice superior time management.

In the interest of preventing bottlenecks, it’s not enough to simply meet deadlines. Instead, you need to always think one step ahead and be prepared to tackle the next issue you might encounter. This is especially important when it comes to supply chain management.

Studies show that the future of supply chain management will hinge on automated efficiency, so you want to implement that as much as possible right now. 

In practice, this means identifying time-wasting processes, and areas for improvement, and integrating technological solutions that can help you maximise your efficiency and optimise your productivity.

Another thing that falls under time management is delegation. Founders, you need to learn to let go - you can't do everything. Trust the people in your team to take on tasks and give you the chance to step away from the day-to-day and focus on high-level stuff.

2. Sufficient startup capital

A lack of funds is a huge obstacle for any young company. And not every founder can afford to bootstrap the whole way.

Insufficient capital will make it very difficult for you to grow as quickly and effectively as you’d like. So, before you make any promises that you might be unable to fulfil, be realistic about your financial situation. 

Whether that means finding new investors, pursuing a new round of funding, or scaling back on a few things, it’s important to be realistic and able to successfully finance your goals. 

Cash in the bank can help solve your problems. Whether you need a new type of software or an expert who can help, money can help you get the resources you need during the early stage of your startup. 

But there's no point in taking on investment if you don't have a clear idea of how you will put the funds to good use. A wise founder will only accept the cash injection their startup truly needs.

Don’t be afraid to pursue a wide variety of funding opportunities if that's what your startup needs to create a financial safety net. Here's how to WOW investors in your pitch and a few more tips from our friends at Concept Ventures.

It may also interest you to know that investors love the tax benefits that come with investing under the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme and the Enterprise Investment Scheme, so any startup with SEIS/EIS advance assurance is an attractive proposition - something we can help you get. 

3. Stay original

Being unable to cut through the noise is another common bottleneck. It’s a very loud world full of other businesses clamouring for attention, so it’s important to establish your originality early on.

If your product, marketing strategy, or business plan is too similar to that of your competition, you’re likely to waste a lot of time on the struggle to pull yourself out of obscurity and make your mark. 

So, spend some time figuring out what makes you special and how you’re going to showcase it before you ever launch. It may require a few long nights of serious market research but it beats getting stuck out of the gate and losing momentum while you struggle to distinguish yourself. 

Bottlenecks don’t have to hold you back

There’s no doubt about it: starting a new company is scary. But even though there are a lot of risks involved in a startup, there are plenty of pitfalls that you never have to encounter.

Poor time management, insufficient funds, and a lack of originality are some of the most common, but in most cases, avoidable issues that kill many startups in their infancy.

But if you know the core issues that cause bottlenecks, you can strategise in advance and develop ways to prevent them.

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