I’ve never been one to push people in a direction I didn’t think they were meant to go. I’m not so egotistical that I think I know what’s best for anyone other than myself.
On the other hand, I counsel with many new and old entrepreneurs and if I feel they are on the wrong path – a business idea that’s not viable, unrealistic expectations, a personality not cut out for business – I feel it’s my duty to give them my open and honest opinion.
Sometimes my advice is taken well, sometimes not.
In the end, it’s up to the entrepreneur which path to take and to accept responsibility for their journey.
Every now and then I run across someone who I think should start their own business.
I can feel their passion or love their idea or just think pursuing a business would be the best thing for them.
Still, not everyone I counsel is willing to jump headlong into their own business and that’s just fine.
I never push, only suggest.
And I never say “I told you so” … at least not out loud.
If they start making excuses as to why they shouldn’t start a business rather than giving reasons why they should, I just close my mouth and let them talk themselves out of the idea.
It’s not my job to convince them to start their own business.
That’s a decision only they can make.
Still, I think many potential entrepreneurs never give themselves the chance to explore a passion or idea that might result in an awesome business.
Call it fear or call it practicality, the outcome is usually the same. They drive all thoughts of entrepreneurship from their head and go back to their day job.
They decide entrepreneurship just isn’t for them.
And if that’s truly what’s in their heart, then that’s the right decision to make.
Along the way I’ve heard every excuse in the book for not starting a business.
Here are a few of the most common.
“I don’t have time to start a business.”
I hear this one all the time from people who spend three hours a night parked in front of the TV or playing video games.
Sorry, couch potato, you get zero sympathy from me.
You must make time for what’s important, so if starting your own business is important to you, find the time to make it happen.
I started my first business from the corner of my tiny bedroom working between the hours of ten at night till whenever I passed out in the wee hours of the morning.
Then I’d get up and be at my day job at 8AM. I’d work on my lunch hour and on weekends.
You’ve only have so many hours in the day not committed to work or sleep.
Use them to the benefit of your business.
“I don’t have the money to start a business.”
Many people are under the misconception that to start a successful business requires piles of cash.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, having too much available capital can kill a business faster than having to bootstrap.
When money comes easily, it is spent easily; usually on things that have no bearing on the success of the venture, like $2,000 flat panel monitors and $1,000 Herman Miller chairs and $300 business lunches that have nothing to do with business.
Many of the Forbes 100 were started for less than $10,000; many for less than $1,000.
When you start a business you should do so for as little money as possible.
Put your money toward the things that are vital to starting the business and back burner everything else.
Become an expert at stretching every dollar until it screams.
Instead of tying up your money in inventory try to negotiate 90 day terms with suppliers.
Instead of paying for things like fancy desk chairs park your can on a milk crate until money starts rolling in.
Instead of signing a lease for office space that will tie up your first born for three years work from your kitchen table.
“There’s no guarantee that my business will succeed.”
When I hear this one I immediately know that I’m not talking to a sincere entrepreneur.
Let’s be honest, everyone would start their own business if they had a 100% guarantee of success, but very few would bet the farm on their own business knowing that most small businesses fail within the first five years.
I knew that statistic going in and so do every other entrepreneur who threw caution to the wind and dove in with both feet.
Fear of failure is the number one killer of success. But understand this: if you never fail, you will never succeed.
“I’m not smart enough to start a business.”
If starting a business was rocket science all businesses would be owned by rocket scientists.
You don’t need an MBA to start a business.
Many entrepreneurs, including me, never even went to college.
I drove by a college once.
It looked really hard so I kept going.
Business success depends more on common sense than book smarts.
Don’t cut yourself short just because you don’t have an acronym after your name.
There are a thousand other reasons why people don’t start their own business, but they all usually come down to one thing: fear.
Fear of failure…
Fear of losing their investment…
Fear of the unknown…
Fear is the killer of ambition.
That’s what separates the true entrepreneurs from everyone else.
“Normal” people are afraid of failure.
Entrepreneurs are afraid of failing to try.