The feeling of starting a business gets the best of every entrepreneur.
We’ve all been there. Typically, we have many emotions, thoughts and feelings when taking a calculated risk as a first-time business owner. Some of these unexpected sensations include excitement, risk, charisma, patience, appreciation, courage, and even hope.
What’s more, there is one particular feeling that resonates with every new business owner when preparing to launch their first venture…fear. But there are so many other variables that hang us up from launching something great, and they have to do with both internal and external factors.
At the end of the day, when building a business, we have to overcome our insecurities. The best part, that’s ok! Take in to consideration that becoming a successful entrepreneur doesn’t get easier, we just get better. Ahead we will discuss a few of these fears and insecurities, and how to embrace fears to succeed in entrepreneurship.
Lack of time.
One of the largest insecurities people have when they think of starting a new endeavor is the lack of time they have to build a business. However, some of the most successful entrepreneurs in life have humorously stated that “it takes ten years to become the next overnight success.” From the administration, faculty and team at BLU University, we couldn’t agree more. Anything in life worth having takes time to nurture.
In fact, some of the most successful businesses today were started by entrepreneurs who were in their 40s and 50s. Take Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), for example, the second largest fast food chain (in terms of sales). KFC was started by Colonel Harland Sanders at the age of 40. He eventually sold it at 62 when there were more than 600 KFC outlets. Not a bad way to retire!
Alternatively, Millennials recently ousted the Baby Boomers America’s largest generation, so it is safe to say that age is not particularly a crutch when it comes to starting a new venture. That said, why do people think there is not enough time in the day to start a business?
Maybe, take a step back and reflect on your circle of influence. What are your friends doing with their day, specifically when they are not at work? Is the day filled with activity and productivity, or is it consumed with video games and partying? You have probably heard that you are a combination of the five people you hang out with. If you are looking to start a business, we recommend finding a circle that has the type of success you desire. Check out networking groups such as MeetUp.com and other circles where you can rub elbows with successful business people, and maybe even land a mentor or advisor.
Additionally, successful entrepreneur, speaker and venture capitalist, Gary Vaynerchuk, recommends building your business after getting off work…while your peers are relaxing or going out with friends. So, the question really comes down to, how do you value your time? And truly, are you struggling with a lack of time…or a lack of discipline. Remember, you either pay the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Go get it!
Lack of money or funding.
Lack of money is (almost) never the problem when getting a business off the ground. There is so much money in the world, and so many wealthy people today that are just dying to invest in people and ideas so that their money will work for them. But why give up equity in a startup when you have all the resources at your fingertips?
Truthfully, the real setback is only the lack of execution. In today’s world, the ability to start most businesses can grow organically for less than $5,000. Between a website, a great product or service, marketing strategy, and tenacity, most any business can get through their startup phase on a next-to-nothing budget.
This non-traditional start-up strategy is most commonly known as “bootstrapping,” which is starting a business with very little investment and growing the venture with the operating revenues of the new company. Want to start a restaurant? Start out with a home kitchen or food truck, and get out to festivals and events. Car dealership? Start with one car, fix it up, sell it for profit, then buy a nicer car or two cheaper cars, and so forth. Regardless of the business, bootstrapping is the alternative to capital when getting off the ground.
On the flip side, are you one of the rare companies that cannot take off without capital? Check into crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the backing of a project or company, usually via the Internet, where people support the venture by making a small financial contribution. In return, the “backer” receives some type of exclusive material, whether it’s a first look at the product/service or free merchandise upon the release of the product. The beauty of crowdfunding is that the campaign serves as a PR project so there is awareness spread about the new endeavor, but more importantly the owner maintains equity.
Another reason BLU University advises new business owners to engage in alternative funding methods, such as bootstrapping or crowdfunding, is because acquiring a loan from a bank is nearly impossible for today’s Millennials. In many cases, young professionals also have young credit, and there is not much collateral to offer in case the company fails.
Essentially, seek to crowdfunding or bootstrapping as a means to get the company off the ground, and use the revenue to then hire employees and acquire other necessary expenditures.
Lack of direction.
In terms of finding a path, it is important to determine what we want and why we want it. This can be difficult for some to discover, because maybe no one in the family or circle of friends has been successful (respectively), or maybe even owned their own business. Yet in an entrepreneur’s eyes, that is nothing but opportunity to change the course of one’s family wellbeing.
Lewis Carroll once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” This is paramount to the growth of a new entrepreneur, because success is never linear. There is not clear path to success.
The important thing to know if there is a lack of clarity or a lack of vision is simply, stay busy. Get involved with networking groups, create something new, land an internship, find a mentor, or find a job (or jobs) that will bring out different sides of you. Putting oneself in new territories will quickly bring out one’s strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, these new perspectives may lead to a brilliant idea or find a niche opportunity to propel the aspiring business owner to develop their passion.
Low and behold, fear can actually be a good thing to entrepreneurs because it acts as the fuel that sparks the fire to launch, grow or scale a company. It is the fear of the unknown that should excite the new business owner. It is very similar to the scary feeling of becoming a new parent. There is this “baby” that we have to nurture, grow, and then one day let it be free in to the world (exit strategy). But up until that point it is a constant time and energy commitment to become the best person (or company) we can make it become.
If nothing else, refer to this quote by a lead BLU University instructor, Dan Vega, “Stop looking for opportunities. Start looking for problems that you can solve.” With that mindset alone, anyone can begin a new endeavor and achieve the life they have always wanted.
Ready to take the next step but don’t know where to start? Visit this article: The First Ten Steps to Starting a Business.