I was recently asked whether I had any regrets starting a business that failed and I can honestly say that I’ve not once ever thought that I shouldn’t have given it a go.
Running a business is probably one of the most rewarding things that you can do for yourself. It certainly was for me, it gave me skills that I’ve been able to us in other projects and taught me a lot about my own limitations and abilities.
20% of businesses fail in their first year but this isn’t a figure that should deter you, if you have that entrepreneurial spirit alive inside you, what’s the worst that could happen if your business didn’t turn out as you hoped.
What stops us from starting a business?
Getting a business off the ground is never easy and there are some common reasons why you might decide not to start a business at all.
Sometimes we can get carried away with the idea so much so that we become blinkered to the obvious. How many times have you watched Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank and shouted at the TV because someone has spent their life savings, remortgage the house and the shirt off their backs to coming up with an idea to reinvent the wheel.
No matter what business you choose, there’s no getting away from the fact that you are going to need some money to get it off the ground. How much you need will depend on the business and you might be able to use your savings or borrow from family, otherwise you are going to need to go cap in hand to your bank manager.
How you set up the business, whether that be as a sole trader, partnership or limited company is also going to have a bearing on your personal liability should things go wrong.
Self doubt is always going to be an obstacle for anyone wanting to start a business. Going from being an employee to a business owner can be a daunting prospect especially if you have spent most of your life working for someone else. Are you going to be able to manage the books, deal with the administration, sales and marketing and the work that is going to make you the money.
Your current circumstances
There are some businesses that you are going to be able to start while working full, or being a full time parent but if not are you going to be able to go all in? Building a business isn’t something that you can do only working on it a couple of hours a night.You are going to have to acknowledge that you are going to have to make sacrifices, whether this is not spending time with loved ones or not having as much time for your self before you commenced this journey into self employment.
Everyone seems to have an idea of what a business should look like and that is especially true when you are starting out. Everyone has an opinion of what you should do and how you should do it. only listen to those that know what they are taking about.
Find a mentor if you can that can show you the ropes and help you get your business off the ground. I can’t emphasis enough the importance of learning from someone that has been there and done it.
The fear of failure
Is failure really a thing?
Is it really the failure of the business that stops us from starting a business or is it the though of what others might think others are going to think of you should the business fail?
It’s rare that someone starts a business and they strike gold straight away. Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Walt Disney all failed before finding success. What makes these people different from the rest is how they see their set backs and move forward.
Starting a business isn’t for everyone
Just because we might have an idea, doesn’t’ mean that running a business is for everyone. It can be easy to look at those that have started their own business and think that it is easy to emulate. Their success must have come overnight.
This is not the case, starting a business is stressful and don’t let anyone tell you any different, especially if it is your only source of income.
You are never going to have time for yourself and others. When I started my first online venture it was not uncommon for me to wake up at six in the morning and go to sleep at 3am the following morning. Weekends didn’t exist and I’d sometimes sacrifice time with people just because I believed that this is what you needed to do when you ran your own business.
Giving yourself a fighting chance
Whether you are starting up as a sole trader, partnership or limited company, you don’t have to do it alone.
The internet has made it easier to find those that have the skills that you might be lacking to help grow your business. Don’t like admin, hire a Virtual Assistant, don’t like dealing with the accounts, hire a bookkeeper there are people out only to happy to give support for a a one off fee or hourly rate.
What’s worse? never putting into action an idea that could have possibly changed your life or living a life of what ifs and could have been.
Starting a business isn’t for everyone and if you can come to terms with this then that’s okay.
There is the potential to lose everything but also gain everything too. Depending the legal entity of the business you might be able to limit your liability if things do go wrong.
If you don’t feel that you have have the ability to start a business, take some time out and decide why you believe this to be the case.