There are a lot of reasons for not starting a business—and of course, many of them are valid. But some of the reasons for not starting that business you’ve been thinking about really shouldn’t stop you.
Here are 3 reasons you may be giving yourself for not starting up a business, and here are the 3 types of people who flip these roadblocks right on their heads:
1. Being afraid of failure
This is a big one, and an understandable one at that. The rate of failure in startups can definitely be discouraging. When interviewing about 20 people in the city of Ann Arbor, the most frequent answer to my question of “Why haven’t you started a business?” was the fear of failure or “It’s too risky.”
But as this picture shows, there are two routes you can take in response to fear. Any successful entrepreneur will tell you that of course they were afraid of failure, and still might be fighting that fear. But the difference between these people and those who choose not to start up is that these people are afraid of failing—but they do it anyway. If we don’t keep optimism in our outlooks, the future looks pretty bleak. Instead of letting the fear of failure stop you from trying, think about it this way: the only way to fail is to not try. And if you need some extra inspiration, check out this Forbes article to put things into perspective.
2. Worrying that you don’t know what you’re doing
Again, this might seem like a deal breaker for starting a successful company. Yet, regardless of whether you have an actual lack of business knowledge or you do in fact have knowledge but are a normal human who grapples with impostor syndrome, this is something that can definitely be dealt with. Take Rene Greff, for instance, the co-founder of Arbor Brewing Co. in Ann Arbor. In her words,
“I was a philosophy major and [my husband] was a political science major, so we had no business experience. We knew nothing about setting up or running a business, and we kind of just did everything by the seat of our pants.”
And 20 years later, Arbor Brewing Co. is still a thriving brewpub in Ann Arbor. In the words of Bob Helber, founder of Continental Capital Real Estate, Inc., if you are an aspiring entrepreneur,
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way, because mistakes are probably what makes you a better business owner. And you never know whether or not you’re going to be successful if you don’t take that leap of faith.”
And lastly, from David Klingenberger, founder of The Brinery,
“I got told early on to pay all this money to take a week-long business course and write a business plan, but my business plan was making a product and getting it in front of real people. And the feedback I got was enough for me to say ‘There’s something viable here.’ Of course you should be competent and you should have a business plan, but make your thing and get it in front of real people—that’s my best advice.”
While figuring out the logistics of your business is important, it doesn’t require an advanced business degree. One of the most successful local entrepreneurs in Ann Arbor, Mark Hodesh, never even graduated high school. In this day and age, it’s incredibly easy for an entrepreneur to take initiative and find endless online resources to help get their bearings on the basics of entrepreneurship—and most of these resources are free.
3. Not having enough funding
This is a tricky one, but if you think about it, there are actually countless businesses that require little to no startup funding: these include anything from online boutiques or website design to music lessons or tax advising. But even if your business does require funding, over 90% of small businesses are successfully started via personal funding. While this may end up taking more time, the advantage is that you alone own the business and are free to take all control.
The difference between someone who lets this roadblock get the best of them and someone who doesn’t is that even in seemingly hopeless financial situations, entrepreneurs will find a way to make it work. There are countless options to get outside funding for your startup. These include, but are not limited to: startup incubators, friends and family, angel investors, crowdfunding, and small business grants. If you are struggling to find a way to fund your business, the U.S. Small Business Administration is a great place to start.
There are endless ways you can convince yourself not to start up and incorporate a business, but the thing is, anyone can be one of these 3 types of people. Instead of letting fear prevent you from pursuing your passion, take a step back and realize that everyone is facing the same fears. It just that some people choose to rise above them.