1. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    The Struggles of Entrepreneurship

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by TyrannusRex, May 29, 2016.

    How would one construct a story around the struggles of maintaining a startup business?
    This is actually a new topic for me to go at, and I've never really seen any literature cover it, either.
    I want to show things both from the CEO's point of view and from that of an employee.
    Any advice?
     
  2. Diane Elgin
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    Diane Elgin Member

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    Can you tell us what the start-up business is? That would allow more scope to discuss day to day operations. However, bookkeeping, taxes, overhead fees, start-up costs, the strain of knowing everyone you meet is a potential customer and always having to turn the wattage up are the core ones. Problematic customers, the fear of criminal damage or bad reviews are also a constant fear and you never know where the next hiccup's going to come from.

    Question: Would your new business leader refer to themselves as a CEO? It's a fairly lofty title, invoking scenes of bickering suits around a long table in a CBD tower.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    There will be a lot of unknown unknowns. That sounds like snark, but is not. Starting one's business, even with an MBA, is all about discovering the questions that you didn't even know where there in need of being answered.
     
  4. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    To be fair, he almost certainly wouldn't call himself a CEO. I just needed a better word than "boss".
    He's basically built this little wildlife preserve from the ground up, and he needs employees, visitors, and support from the financial world.
     
  5. Diane Elgin
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    Diane Elgin Member

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    'Reserve Manager' might be a better job title for your character.

    As for the rest, Zoos, Animal Sanctuaries and Reservations are often ran by local governments or if privately owned are bound and branded by animal rights regulations. Your likelihood of starting a new reservation would be to have your MC lead a pressure group of like-minded conservationists and say 'We think this is a great place and want to protect/monetize it', then provide a business plan. Local government would then debate and if the numbers hold up would grant the necessary funding for builders, animal health staff etc.

    It's a massive undertaking and would require a large cast of characters to make happen but could be fun with the right plot line to it.
     
  6. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    Thanks!
    I should have realized some of this from hours of playing Zoo Tycoon! :D
    Although I must say, the idea of someone going out there and (this is a perfect term) "John Hammond-ing" it is very appealing.
     
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  7. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I can give you a few struggles of the startup I used to work for, as well as some struggles I've run into in my own small business (though it's nothing of the scale of your MC's). These are pretty generalized, and I think they're somewhat universal, so you'd have to elaborate on them and make them unique to your story.

    • Investors/Board Members
    Where I worked, there was constant pressure to please the Board of Directors. The CEO rarely had much say, because the business wasn't profitable yet. While he was responsible for overseeing growth, etc., if the investors didn't like his plan, he had to go back to the drawing board.
    • Maintaining Growth
    Often with startups, the founders will hire people similar to themselves. Often, the employees are personal friends. The problem is that once the startup is steadily off the ground, it's hard to expand. They hire "here and now" people at first, because it's important to getting the business up and running. Once it is, though, those people who are so valuable to getting the startup off the ground can't always change their mindset from taking risks to maintaining calculated growth. This is typically when a turnover happens, often conceived from the Board of Directors. For instance, at my previous company, there were two founders. One was the CEO and the other was the President. The Board booted out the CEO, and replaced him with the President. This guy founded the company. Can you imagine what that would feel like? Along with him, many employees were also fired because their business minds were too much like his, which caused the morale of the remaining employees to plummet, fearing for their job security.
    • Imposter Syndrome
    Many leaders in companies experience this phenomenon. My CEO was only 35, so honestly, he was always waiting for the shoe to drop, so to speak. After all, his partner in founding the business who was a much more experienced entrepreneur than he was got fired, so he believed that everyone was going to catch on to his inability to run a successful business at any moment.
    • Work/life balance
    Startup businesses are like newborn babies. They require so much nurturing, feeding, growth, etc. that entrepreneurs lose sleep, time with family, personal time, and much more. It's extremely stressful, but it's necessary to any successful startup. It's imperative that if an entrepreneur is married, and especially if they have children, their spouse is supportive and understanding of this, willing to share the family load with a little more weight until the business is off the ground.
    • Lack of knowledge
    New businesses require a varied set of skills and knowledge, and often the founder has to wear many different hats -- some of which don't quite fit. But the fact is that, with investors breathing down your neck and a business still in its infancy not making profit, they can't always afford to hire the many people whose knowledge is necessary, meaning that they'll have to find mentorships and figure out how to act in roles they're unfamiliar with.


    That's just a basic few I can think of off the top of my head. If you want to research more, it might be helpful to pop on over to www.glassdoor.com and read reviews of CEOs of startup companies. Often, the criticisms are so harsh that it can give you a lot of insight into the struggles of new CEOs.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
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  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    What an interesting post! It's not something I'm writing about, but it's useful to know.
     

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