August 14, 2013

Dear Wanna-be Entrepreneurs, Don’t Scare Yourself out of your Dream Job!

Scared nerd hiding behind a deskEntrepreneurs are the life blood of the American economy, but many would-be small business success stories are never written because the ones with the ideas are too afraid to start a company. There are several common excuses you may find yourself using to convince yourself you do not have what it takes to create a startup: it’s too risky; your idea isn’t “good enough;” you lack the technical know-how (like programming) to succeed, you’ve heard that most companies fail after five years so it isn’t worth the effort. But understand now, that’s all a load of bunk. Take a look at this list of debunked myths about business startups so you can really get to know whether you are just making up excuses that are keeping you from pursuing your dream of business ownership.

The first junk excuse involves the thought that you first need some kind of groundbreaking idea in order to succeed in your startup business. But profitable business ideas aren’t that hard to come by and they don’t need to be revolutionary or even especially original, to work. The hard part is in the execution. Can you make your ideas become real? Are you doing anything about them? The real hurdle is finding the best people to found your business with and realize your ideas.

The second myth that may be holding you back from taking the plunge into entrepreneurship is that you have to take potentially career-ending, life-altering risks in order to be successful. Realistically, you can start a business without quitting your day job or dropping out of school. While you may eventually leave your job for the sake of your business, it will be only because your efforts have been successful and you can now make your business a full-time job. Creating a startup company is about planning, and planning and other developmental tasks can be tackled on a part-time basis.

Perhaps the biggest farce of them all is the misinformation that you must be a techie programmer to start a business. Sure, there is value in programming but programming your idea is not the problem, its finding customers. As a businessperson, you offer plenty of value to your startup without being a technical guru. You have what it takes to attract investments, manage your business, market it, and sell your product or service, or at least you know people that do. The bottom line is to focus on what value you already bring to the table and not on how you’ll never survive without programming skills.

Finally, a myth that frequently keeps capable people from even entertaining the idea of starting a company is the fiction that nearly all businesses fail within a set number of years. Businesses fail due to a number of factors, but a measurement of years is not one of them. Nothing fails by chance; it is sloppy execution that does a business in. Failure is a big part of success, but you can keep your failures manageable by really learning how to execute a business plan.

Read the literature, observe the traits of successful businesses, and learn to differentiate smart risks from poor ones. Don’t be taken in by the fear-mongers and nay-sayers. Instead of fearing failure and risk, believe in your idea, recruit a capable group of smart partners, and learn how to execute your business plan to improve your chances of entrepreneurial success.


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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.