Starting a business from scratch is intensely creative, exciting, and adventurous. In my work as a small business start-up coach and consultant, I’ve noticed that all of my clients tend to struggle with similar issues. Here are the five nagging questions they most often deal with:
1. Is my idea good enough?
2. How do I obtain the money to start up?
3. Can I run a successful business and still have a life?
4. Do I have the necessary education and experience to do this?
5. What if I fail?
IS MY IDEA GOOD ENOUGH?
By the time you have reached the place where you are thinking of starting up a business, you have likely accumulated a lot of life experience. You’ve acquired general information and developed expertise in one or more areas that is unique and specific to you. While you may share similar strengths and traits with others, in the final analysis, there is only one you. You have a viewpoint that is distinctly yours. The world wants to see what you have to offer and hear what you have to say!
It’s impossible to know completely at the start of the journey whether your initial idea is good enough. You simply must go down the road, allow your idea to be tested, and see what comes out at the end. It’s the only way to discover your niche and to know what your unique positioning in the world will be.
HOW DO I OBTAIN THE MONEY TO START UP?
Most people believe the only way to fund a start-up is through angel investors or venture capitalists. That was never true in the past, and it isn’t true today. Yes, some opportunities require too much capital for self-funding, but certainly not all.
When considering the difference between funding your start-up yourself or funding it with other people’s money, consider this: An outsider who makes a large investment in your business will usually want a say in how their money is going to be used. The same is true for family and friends who invest in your business. This is why I encourage my clients to get creative and find a way to fund their start-ups themselves. That way, they are in complete control of their success, are inspired to become profitable sooner, and won’t be spending a lot of time answering to other people’s expectations.
CAN I RUN A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS AND STILL HAVE A LIFE?
You bet! The key is to realize that being a small business owner is only one piece of your total life pie. It’s not the whole pie.
Just as your business is one piece of the pie, your family is another. Your friends, another. Other pieces include your physical and emotional well-being, your wealth and financial health, and your service to your community. You don’t need to juggle anything. It can all flow beautifully together, one piece dovetailing nicely into another. This is called “having a life.”
Many people think they have to give up having a life to start a business. Sure, starting up a business takes time. It requires focus, dedication, and energy, but not at the expense of everything else you value and enjoy.
DO I HAVE THE NECESSARY EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE TO DO THIS?
As part of the start-up journey, one of the first things I address with my clients is the belief that they might not have the education or experience to start up a business. Most of the time my clients come in with a great deal of experience and education, but they don’t realize it’s applicable to their business idea. By focusing on what they have done in the past, we can quickly make a short list of what skills they might need to develop. They can work on acquiring these skills while they are starting up. Just because you don’t have a business degree doesn’t mean you won’t be successful at running a business. Accounting can be outsourced. Teleseminars can be taken. Books can be read. Questions can be asked. Experience can be gained. You don’t have to do it all! Whatever you don’t have right now, you can learn.
WHAT IF I FAIL?
What if you don’t? What if you don’t fail? What then? It is better to have tried and lost than never to have tried at all – to embellish upon an oft-repeated phrase by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Letting the thought of failure come into your mind whenever you are embarking upon a new journey seems only natural. After all, none of us knows if we will fail or succeed at something new. We can, however, set the tone for success. And setting the tone makes all the difference. Let yourself consider failure for as short a period as possible. Then move on.
GET ON WITH THE ADVENTURE
Don’t let those nagging questions stop you from starting up your business. Instead, address each question straightforwardly and with an open mind. Once you answer them, you can start enjoying the creative, exciting adventure that starting up a business was meant to be.