Today, Business Insider is launching the first weekly post from The Young Entrepreneur Council, a group made up of many of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs, Gen Y business owners and thought leaders.
Natalie MacNeil is the Co-founder of award-winning digital media firm, Imaginarius, and Founder of the blog for career-oriented women, She Takes on the World.
After founding her company this year, MacNeil has already encountered some major setbacks. Here, she describes each issue, and how she overcame them.
Challenge No. 1: Determining a course of action and finalising a strategic plan that my business partner and I were equally satisfied with.
Why: Imaginarius is the result of a merger between the media companies my business partner and I formerly owned. When working with a partner, it is important to move forward as a united team, so we needed a plan that united both of our visions.
Solution: We had a series of meetings and planning sessions to establish goals, mission, vision, and strategic actions. The key is being able to compromise and being open to new ideas. Merging and transforming ideas is a great way to expand your vision and grow your business.
Challenge No. 2: Communicating a strong brand message.
Why: A clearly communicated brand message is important for every business to have from day one. It was especially challenging because we were merging two companies and needed to communicate the new brand to our client bases.
Solution: recognising how important it was to get our brand message right, we didn’t rush. Our brand went through several revisions and incorporated advice and feedback from other people before we were comfortable with the brand we were presenting.
Starting Out Challenge No. 3: Establishing positive cash flow without any external investment.
Why: You’ve probably heard the saying “cash is king” but cash flow is often a challenge for new businesses. We wanted to launch from a position of financial strength from day one.
Solution: A huge part of our strategic planning process consisted of cash flow forecasting and preparing statements. This put everything into perspective for us and became the foundation upon which we were able to merge our former companies to form what Imaginarius is today. Never underestimate the importance of the almighty cash flow statement!
Young Entrepreneur Council was founded by Scott Gerber, a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated small business columnist and author of the book, Never Get a “Real” Job. The YEC’s mission is to help young people build successful businesses and overcome the devastating epidemics of youth underemployment and unemployment.
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