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What’s Holding You Back from Starting a Business?

Author: Heidi Hjerpe Date: July 01, 2014

Is your fear of failure or lack of time keeping you from starting your own business? Learn how these entrepreneurs took the leap.

Most people think about quitting their jobs twice a week, and 57 percent of them have an idea for a new business or product, according to an April 2014 survey conducted by Wakefield Research and sponsored by Weebly. So what stops people from pursuing their entrepreneurial passions?

The survey says people don’t take the plunge for five reasons:

  1. Lack of money
  2. Lack of knowledge on what to do first
  3. Perception that their idea isn’t good enough
  4. Not enough time
  5. Fear of failure

Here’s how you can make sure these common hurdles don’t stop you from taking the critical first steps toward achieving your dream.

Make the Time

“I always tell my clients, ‘You are much closer to infinite money than infinite time,’” says Brad Farris, small business advisor at Chicago, Illinois-based Anchor Advisors and publisher at EnMast.com. “If you have a great idea and market and sell it, money will follow.”

Block off time that’s dedicated to your idea, even if it means waking up at 5 a.m. to work on your business idea for two hours each day. “Some of my clients will say, ‘I have 15 vacation days, so I will take off one day per week for the next 15 weeks to work on my business,’” Farris says.

Figure out Your Funding

If you are selling a service, you begin making money as soon as you start providing that service to a customer. For product-oriented startups, it takes longer to make money. If you are selling a product, online crowdsourcing platforms such as Kickstarter are a great way to go, Farris says. Small business owners have better odds receiving funds through these platforms than from bank loans.

In December 2010, Emmy’s Organics conducted a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo that helped raise $15,000. 

“We used part of that crowdfunding money to redesign our label and make custom-printed bags. Our sales increased by 150 percent with the new packaging,” says Samantha Abrams, co-founder of Emmy’s Organics, maker of vegan and gluten-free snacks and cereal in Ithaca, New York.

Overcoming Fears

“It’s important to settle issues of self-doubt and fear of failure before you start,” Farris says. One way to do this is to test your product on a small scale.

He suggests launching a website that describes your product or service. Ask website visitors for an email address to solicit feedback from potential users.

“You can hear directly from your potential customers,” Farris says. “Once you test your product and get their feedback, you can refine your idea based on their responses.”

Learn as You Go

When it comes to determining the best way to run her business, Abrams has never shied away from asking questions. “Walking into our first tradeshows, we met and talked with as many industry people as we could. We networked and developed relationships over time—people who we could call when we were in a bind,” she says.

Farris agrees with Abrams’s approach. “Find someone who has a similar business to yours; ask that person to point you in the right direction,” Farris says. “People are generous.”

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