The popular adage, "Taking the first step is always the hardest part," could not be truer than in the case of the aspiring entrepreneur. Most aspiring entrepreneurs never take those first steps that could transform their aspirations into an operation. Why? Essentially, the issues that cause this stalling are based on the tendencies to underprepare or overprepare. As an aspiring entrepreneur, it is important to identify and investigate any tendency of yours to lean on either side of the preparation scale. The reasons behind it can reveal deep-seated fears, help you address known shortcomings, and very importantly, give your business-in-the-making the best fighting chance.
In the realm of business advice, what hasn't been said about the underprepared? The world of business is already chaotic and unpredictable as it is, jumping into it headfirst with no plan, prior experience, education, expert advice, or research sets you on the path to failing fast and failing hard. You may be excited about a new business idea or can't stand the current career path you're on and want to start making your dreams a reality NOW but this behaviour does not bode well for your business success. The underprepared are not only ill-equipped to handle business challenges because they have forfeited giving their would-be business a strong structure but are showing a tendency for impatience. The reality of business is that sometimes conditions are good and other times, less favourable. This may require you to sit back, evaluate, and readjust which requires the patience to stay the course and the determination to see a difficult undertaking through.
The underprepared aspiring entrepreneur is almost always fated to hit a never-ending series of rough patches when trying to get their business off the ground which eventually kills the business idea altogether. Not doing your due diligence when it comes to business planning, budgeting, and market research can result in poor money management where starting funds are quickly evaporated and initial operations become unsustainable. Legal and regulatory problems also plague this type of entrepreneur because the legal compliance aspect of business planning is often overlooked. In many states, non-compliance can come with hefty financial sanctions and the underprepared may end up in debt before their business has even started.
How to Curb It: For the impatient ones who feel like every second spent planning is a second not spent doing, every bit of preparation should be viewed as a small step towards making the dream a reality. Make tangible planning progress so you have both the knowledge to be adequately prepared and the feeling of making actual advancements. This may include getting a physical copy of a professional business plan done, getting a website developed, or obtaining certificates of registration and licensing.
On the opposite end of the scale is the overprepared for whom the adage, "You can never be too prepared," is a comforting falsehood that prevents any real progress from being made in the evolution of their would-be business. For those of us who prefer to stay on the safe side, the fairly high chance of failure, the possibility of financial ruin, and the lack of a steady income can all feel like risks we simply aren't willing to take. This clashes of course with the desire to start your own business which necessitates that you take on some form of risk. What ends up happening is either you waste time that could have been used getting ahead in the market or you end up not starting at all. The conditions are never going to be perfect for you to enter the race and you'll either come to face this fact or you won't.
Many of the overprepared stall their business dreams by trying to get everything they want for their business set up before beginning instead of prioritising the essentials and working their way up to upgrading. It is never going to feel like you have quite enough funds because there will always be something more to do. Another thing that helps stall the overprepared is running into minor challenges. This type of aspiring entrepreneur is easily scared off and easily discouraged, the overpreparing being an attempt to assuage their anxieties around experiencing failure.
How to Face It: After a certain amount of planning, commit to taking some small operational action, and then repeat. Starting small and taking small steps while still dedicating time to planning keeps the risks low in the initial stages and helps build up the confidence needed to take bigger steps, bigger risks, and eventually get the business fully operational.
Find the Middle Ground
What the underprepared have working in their favour is the drive, passion, and confidence to actively pursue their goals. The overprepared are better equipped with knowledge and safeguarded by diligent planning. The job of an aspiring entrepreneur is to find a healthy middle ground.