Some time ago I was on a beach in California and this woman with a radiant smile just walked past me and met a few of her friends. It clearly distracted me and I thought about approaching her but several excuses suddenly surfaced in my mind: “I should wait until she’s alone.” “I don’t know what to say.” One excuse after another went by, and when I finally decided to go for it, she disappeared. This, my friend, is called opportunity, and it doesn’t wait. We all make excuses for why we shouldn’t have what we want. Fortunately for me that experienced pained me enough to not ever let an opportunity in life go by without pursuing it. You want to start a business-what’s your excuse?
- “The economy sucks.” F the economy. Did you know that more millionaires were produced during the great depression than in any other time in history? In fact, the recession (or “crisis” or “depression”-at any rate you want to call it) may be a hidden blessing-it’s creating problems that need entrepreneurial solutions and it’s making things cheap for you to start. Look at it this way: no matter what kind of economy we’re in, people will always have needs. Figure out what those needs are and start getting involved in providing them. Lastly, people always complain about wealth getting lost during economic downfalls. It’s not getting lost-it’s getting transferred to those who can provide needs and invest.
- “I don’t have the money, and besides: I value the security of my job anyway.” Start small. Don’t try to be Richard Branson and start an airline from scratch. Instead, figure out how you can start small and keep trading up until you become big enough to run any kind of business you want. If you don’t already have a penny, start a blog and gain a following on an idea or topic. Someone in your following is going to have money. additionally, you don’t want to use your own money anyway. If you’ve found an opportunity, angel investors can help you with seed money to grow your idea into a reality. And finally-really? “job security?” You could lose your job tomorrow. Let me ask you this-what’s riskier to you: failing at a business (ad)venture, or going by life with that sinking feeling as you sit behind your desk that you may be leading your whole life without taking that challenge and going after your passion?
- “I don’t have a great idea that will make me the next Steve Jobs in addition.” You don’t have to invent the next iPod, Google, or Prius, or create a whole new market to win. In fact, the companies that rule certain industries today don’t necessarily have something completely different and new-they enhance upon existing businesses and products. Just come up with something good enough to start and make sure there’s a market for it. If you need help with coming up with an idea, go to this post.
- “No matter what I do, there’s too much competition and I’ll probably lose since 9 out of 10 businesses fail.” Think of the market for your idea as a pie. If you see many slices belonging to your competitors, that’s truly a good thing. It method no one is dominating the pie.
No dominating players = room for competition = low obstacle to entry
Looking at it from the opposite perspective, if there are only a few, large slices controlled by powerful entities, that can also be a good thing. The truth is, these large organizations are often so bureaucratic and lazy that it’s hard for them to adjust to new threats. That’s right: they may see you as a threat. There’s always a risk, but don’t become another member of the statistic above. Do your planning and research, go into business with a mentor, and read-then you should do OK.
- “I don’t have a product developed and ready to ship in addition.” Who cares? I sold my first product without already making it. In my finance business I found out what information the market wanted, pre-sold them the solution, then gathered and distributed the information based on their input later. Some things you can do include: using your knowledge/skill as a product/service, buying an existing business that has products you are interested in and improving it, or selling an existing product. If you’re nevertheless hung up on this, focus on needs not products, and the answer will come.
- “I just don’t have the time to devote to this with my family and all.” This is probably the biggest excuse. There’s no such thing as a time management problem: only priority management problems exist. Once you focus on what your highest payoff outcomes are and put those first, all of the other things take care of themselves. You can leverage other people, sets, and software for other things. The rest of the things: facebook, TV, emailing, did I say EMAILING?, can be sacrificed slightly to make room for your business. As you start taking action and setting aside a time of day that you religiously to pay attention to, to work on the business, the other things will fall into place and you will have time.
- “It might not be what I’m passionate about.” This fear prevented me from starting a lot of businesses because I just “wasn’t sure that it was my ultimate dream, which was going to bring me happiness and fulfillment.” You’ll never know for sure if you’ll get bored of something after time, but just accept it and do it anyway. I have a sign on my wall that says, “Good things come to those who take action.” It doesn’t matter what that action is, or whether it pays off or not, because one thing leads to another and you’ll know what you want to have and how to get there in the time of action. So at any rate idea you have, if you like it and it looks like it’s an opportunity that will pay off, take it. Now.
Do you nevertheless have an excuse? I hope this has inspired you to move beyond the land of “what ifs” and “buts” and do something. Don’t let your passion walk past you and not turn back because you didn’t pursue.