At some time virtually everyone has dreamed of starting their own business. There is something about owning a business that appeals to many people for various reasons. They may believe they have a great idea for a service or product they want to offer people. It may be that they see starting their own company as the path to a better life for themselves and their families. For some, they are just tired of working for other people. But, whatever the reason people want to start their own business, most of them never will. Their daydreams never turn into reality primarily because they convince themselves they can’t do it. Like the old saying goes, “If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right!” People who want to focus on all the reasons they can’t succeed or start a new business will find plenty of those kinds of reasons. Let’s look at some of the most common ones.
- I don’t have enough money. It is certainly true that one of the primary reasons many small businesses fail is a lack of sufficient capital, but are there other ways to get started in your business that do not require a lot of capital upfront? Do you have to have a brand new van to begin a service business or can you start off with an old beater until you begin to make the money to upgrade? Do you have to buy a store building to sell your antiques or could you begin by renting a booth in an antique mall? It may be a slower way to begin, but it at least allows you to begin and this strategy doesn’t require a lot of capital and offers much less risk if you don’t succeed.
- I don’t have the education. People with this excuse evidently believe that education is no longer available. Guess what…I drive past college campuses and community colleges all the time and see their parking lots full of cars both day and night. These are people who are getting their education, and many of them are second-career people who are learning new skills and gaining knowledge to begin something different in their lives. I got my bachelor’s degree when I was 46. I didn’t get a master’s degree until I was 58 and my doctorate when I was 61 years old. You are not too old to get the education you need to live your dream. It’s entirely possible that the new business you want to begin doesn’t require a formal education anyway. You may be able to apprentice for someone in your off-hours to learn what you need to learn about the business you want to start.
- I don’t have the time. One of the best lessons I learned was in a class I took my very first semester of college. “You get done what you spend time doing.” I first heard that in the mid-1980s and it has impacted my life ever since. If time is a problem you may want to check how you spend your time. How much of it is in front of the television? How much of it is spent playing video games? Spend one month and write down everything you do in half-hour increments and see how you are spending your time. (If you think that’s not possible, I did it every day for four years!) This is an exercise that will get your attention! You can spend your time doing things or you can invest your time in ways that will make a positive impact on you and your family. Your choice.
- I don’t have the experience. Years ago when I was working in a factory we were being asked if we would work overtime in a different part of our plant. We were told we had to have experience on that job before we could accept the overtime. I said yes to the overtime even though I had never even been in that part of the plant. That next Saturday when I reported to work the supervisor was not happy when he learned I had never done that job before. I told him, “After today I’ll be experienced. All someone has to do is show me once.” I did the job and it went well. If you don’t have the experience, get it and stop using that as an excuse. Everyone has done everything they’ve ever done for the first time at some point in their lives.
- I just don’t think I’m ready. Maybe not, but when will you get ready? More important, what are you doing to make yourself ready? If you’re doing nothing intentionally to get ready in five years from now you still won’t be ready.
What I really want you to see is that you can find plenty of excuses to keep you from moving forward with your life, but none of these are insurmountable. What your success as an entrepreneur or small business owner really depends upon is what is inside of you. How badly do you want this? What are you willing to do to achieve your dreams? What sacrifices are you willing to make now that will allow you to enjoy a better life later? You can read more about this in my latest book Mistakes: Avoiding the Wrong Decisions That Will Close Your Small Business.