One of the biggest reasons people stall on starting their own business or disregard the idea of becoming a business owner altogether is a lack of confidence. The self-doubt that says they should not pursue an entrepreneurial career path is often driven by fears of failure, unpreparedness, and information overload. Whether you’re passionate about a business idea, want to use entrepreneurship to affect change in your society, or you're after a certain level of career and financial independence, you can eradicate the thoughts and feelings holding you back with a little work, planning, and guidance.
Laying Out Your Goals
“A dream becomes a goal when action is taken toward its achievement.” - Bo Bennett
If there’s one thing you need to be clear about before you start your business journey is the ‘Why’ of it all. Why do you want to start your own business? If you can’t give a clear answer to this question, this is your first bit of work: laying out exactly what you want to accomplish with your business and what you want to get out of it. Outlining the ‘Why’ includes both your vision for how you want your business to impact society or a segment of society and what you want to gain from it personally. Once you have an idea of what your answers to these two questions are, you can map out clear goals. Having clearly defined goals is essential, not just in business, but in any undertaking that requires time and effort and includes risk.
Accepting the Reality of Failure in Business
“It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
- Bill Gates
Encountering failure on some level is almost guaranteed in the ever-changing, risky world of Business. Accepting that at the onset of your entrepreneurial journey instead of allowing the fear of it to stop you from even making an attempt in the first place is the best way to proceed. Effective ways to quell your fears about business failure is to take precautions to avoid or mitigate the effects of foreseeable challenges and know that in the event of unforeseeable challenges that cause failure, it is not the end and recovery is possible. Successful entrepreneurs always have their stories of failure. In the end, what mattered was not the failure itself but what knowledge was gained from it and how these successful people proceeded once equipped with that knowledge. So how do you prepare for challenges?
Getting Prepared One Step At a Time
“It's better to look ahead and prepare, than to look back and regret.” - Jackie Joyner-Kersee
The best protection against business challenges is knowledge. Educating yourself before you dive right into your venture can not only help you figure out which obstacles are avoidable but prepare you to deal with unavoidable or unforeseeable challenges when they come. Research and education are your best friends. Knowing what your financial and legal obligations are when you’re a business owner, learning all the components of running a business, and learning about your options when it comes to your business set up are good places to start. When aspiring business owners see the breadth of information and advice out there, however, it can feel like it's too much to process. Don’t get frustrated and give up, take it one step at a time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with information and don’t know where to start, taking a course or getting an experienced mentor to guide you through the basics can help you cut out all of the noise. Business Lifeline offers mentorship programs specifically to address the issue of would-be entrepreneurs giving up on their business dreams due to not feeling prepared enough to proceed.
Anything worth doing takes time, so don’t be discouraged because you don’t have everything figured out right now. Take the steps to define your goals and fill in the gaps in your business knowledge. This will give you the confidence and skills you need to actually take your business dreams from thoughts to reality. Remember, it’s better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all.