Have you been thinking of starting your own business? Now let’s be honest here. How long have you been thinking of it? A few months? A year or two? More than a decade?
Excuses interrupts execution; people have more reasons to procrastinate when they are good set of excuses. If only they could replace excuses with a set of execution strategies, even a lame idea will turn in a profitable venture.
Most of the time, people are reluctant to venture into business, as it is the riskiest decision; its risky due to the uncertainties attached to it. People want to be part of celebration and not failure; it takes a lot of guts and grit to accept failures and be responsible for it. Moreover, when you are in business, you cannot blame a boss or subordinate for loss or failures, and the fear of being responsible for everything stops them doing what they really want.
However, your decision should not be made out of fear. In fact the greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure. We may not accept this fear but we show fear through a myriad of excuses and justifications.
Here are some common excuses that put off people from starting their own businesses:
#“I don’t have enough money.”
That’s good news!! Lucky for you! If you had loads you’d only blow it anyway, like most cash-rich start-ups do. Stop complaining and look at it this way: when people start business with nothing, the enthusiasm and excitement as every penny you earn to meet your needs gives a sense of achievement and thus boosts your confidence, if taken positively. Most of the success stories talk about starting on a shoe string budget. If you examine business history, you will learn that many people have substituted capital with hard work and time.
Start from where you are with what you have. If you don’t have an office space, start from home, start small and work with what you’ve got – it might take you longer, but what’s the rush, it is better than not starting at all. Many businesses can be started with little or no money. In fact history says that many company’s have bought basic requirements after they receive the cheque for their first order.
While a lack of money might keep you from starting big, it doesn’t have to keep you from starting at all. For those who are scared of losing the security that a job can give, they can start their business as a freelancer simultaneously keeping their job but without affecting the job performance.
#“I don’t have the right connections or experience.”
You don’t need any connections to begin with and once you actually start your business, you will naturally make connections. Many people did not have prior experience either. Here is the secret: ‘You can learn about business by being in business.’ Certainly, none of entrepreneurs who started today’s household brands knew everything they do now, than when they started out. You will learn along the way and that’s usually from your mistakes and victories. Do not hesitate to ask for help whenever you need. Pay someone who knows as a consultant or take up a course. Take up a mentorship program. If you’re still adamant that you need sufficient hands on experience, then work for someone who will teach you most of the tricks of the trade, if not all. Offer to be someone else’s shadow.
#“I don’t have enough time.”
There is not a single excuse that gets me more fired up than this one. When you want something badly, you will take time out to make it happen. Priorities matter. What do you think everyone else running their own business does? They make sacrifices. They give up TV. They stop watching cricket and reality TV. They reduce their social hours. They spend less time with alcohol.
Start focusing on your downtime hours. What do you do between 5am and 8am and 9pm and 2am? Sleep? Read the paper? Watch TV? Pick the sacrifice that will make your dream a reality and make it happen. Simply put you can build a business with the time that you spent on watching all the episodes of the Game of Thrones.
#“I’m not sure what to do next.”
Most of the successful business enterprises in history have gone through this particular phase. Uncertainty is a great guide for an entrepreneur. It will awaken your imagination, keep you guessing and excited about the future.
There are great companies that are built with out having a clear idea. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, the founders of HP, decided to first start a company and then figure out what they would make. Thy just started moving forward, trying anything that might get them out of the garage and pay the light bills.
According to Bill Hewlett, co-founder of HP, he said “When I talk to business schools occasionally, the professor of management is devastated when I say that we didn’t have any plans when we started-we were just opportunistic. We did anything that would bring in a nickel. We had a bowling foul-line indicator, a clock drive for a telescope, a thing to make a urinal flush automatically, and a shock machine to make people lose weight. Here we were, with about $500 in capital, trying whatever someone thought we might be able to do.”
The truth of the matter is that their bowling foul-line indicator did not become a market revolution; neither their urinal flush nor fat reduction shock machine got any market acceptance. In fact the company stumbled along till they made a sale of oscilloscopes to Walt Disney studios. Even then HP continued its unfocused ways, with variety of products, until they got a sale boost from 1940’s war contracts.
# “I don’t have an idea”
Sony is a company that started without a specific aim or a product idea. When Masaru Ibuka founded Sony in august of 1945, he had no specific product idea. According to Akio Morita, who joined the company shortly after its founding, “The small group sat in conference… and for weeks they tried to figure out what kind of business this new company could enter in order to make money to operate”. They considered a wide range of possibilities and products from sweetened bean paste soup to miniature golf equipments. Sony’s first product, a rice cooker failed to work properly and their first significant product a tape recorder failed in the market place. The company survived in the early stages selling heating pads, till they made a breakthrough in audio and radio technology.
The truth of the matter is that, most of the great enterprises start small and evolve according to times and are evolved by breakthrough ideas.According to Jim Collins who studied most of the successful companies on the planet, he says “waiting for the great idea might be a bad idea”. Sometimes you don’t need to know all the answers. You don’t need to know the whole path. You may have to just take the first step in faith. We don’t have to see the whole staircase. The best time to start the business was yesterday, the second best time is today.
#“I am not qualified enough”
The majority of successful business owners either don’t have a University degree at all or got a degree in something other than business. Most of the business owners have informal education. They learn by gathering information. They are self taught, or mentored and coached by other successful people. As Aristotle said: “What we have to learn, we learn by doing.” Many drop-outs have already proved this point that you do not need education to start a business, what you need is common sense and knowledge about the business you are in.
Business is common sense. If you can buy something for a dollar and then you can sell it for two, you made a profit and if you can understand that, you can understand the makings of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs will come in all sizes and backgrounds. They can be incredibly competitive, hard working, risk takers, some creative geniuses, visionaries, opportunists; while some may be under educated and some others may have the best university education. Some may start early and some may start late. But all of them will fall in primarily two categories. The first group is not psychologically willing to work for or under anybody because they want to live a life in their terms and the second category wants to give so much of value to the world by building a system where they get paid big in return.
#“I don’t have a business background”
So what if your father or grandfather wasn’t a businessman. You don’t need “entrepreneurship in your genes” to start a business. You just need business acumen. What you need is foreground more than your background-which is vision that can keep your dream alive at all times.
If you have the spirit of entrepreneurship combined with a strong desire to start your own enterprise, you must be ready to take the entrepreneurial plunge right now. Building a great company must be your focus and ideas will keep coming to those who are committed to build a great company.
Let this be a ‘Wake up call’ for all the future entrepreneurs; decide to build a great company; be a value creator. Remember, it is the ‘do whatever it takes’ commitment that will drive your business. The possible rewards can often vastly out-weigh the trials, trouble and tribulations you’ll encounter along the way.
Stop your excuses; begin to live your entrepreneur life from today.