Running your own business is challenging, but perhaps even more challenging for some want-to-be entrepreneurs is actually getting that business started. After all, starting a business requires numerous pieces to come together, and for first-time entrepreneurs, those pieces may be confusing, undefined, or entirely personal in nature, making overcoming the initial hurdles a difficult test of motivation and know-how.
If you’re trying to get your business started but can’t seem to move forward, you may find solace in knowing there are others facing similar challenges. Here are 12 things that can be holding you back from starting your own business.
1. Fear of Failure
For many business owners, the only thing that stands in the way of business actualization is fear, particularly fear of failing. The good news is that it’s a common fear among all business owners. The even better news is that the more you plan, understand, and work with available resources, the more you can allay that fear. Failure is a risk, but not acting may be a greater one.
2. Lack of Business Knowledge
You may be the best at what you do, and if your products or services are in high demand, starting a business may be a natural progression. However, many don’t follow that path because what they feel they lack the business knowledge to get things started.
Just because you don’t have an advanced business degree doesn’t mean you can’t run a business. Check with local and national small business organizations, like the Small Business Association (SBA) or work with a mentor who can help guide you through those business based-challenges.
3. No Money to Finance Start-up Costs
Financing can come from a variety of sources, including traditional loans, business credit cards, crowdfunding, and, in some cases, you may be able to work with a friend or family to help get things started. You could even apply for a small business grant. The point is that there are finances options out there; you just need to seek them out – with that business plan in hand, of course.
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4. Bad Personal Credit
If you’re attempting to find financing and you have bad personal credit, it may be difficult to secure loans or lines of credit; obviously, this can temporarily pause your efforts – “temporarily” being the key word.
First, and most important for your personal and business aspirations, work to improve your credit, but if time is of the essence, you can also check out these 5 unexpected places to find money for your business.
5. Licensing and Permits
Business licenses and permits are common place when it comes to opening and running a business, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t confusing. It’s likely your business will need to meet requirements set by the city, county, and/or state (in some cases, federal government).
Finding the information is less daunting than you may think, as most cities and states have departments (and web pages) that provide licensing and permit information. It’s also useful to check with other business owners (preferably within your industry) to see if they can walk you through some of the requirements.
6. Not Knowing Where to Start
Business plans, financing options, tax IDs, inventory, marketing… the list can go on and on, making it hard to figure out where to start, but here’s a tip: plan and compartmentalize.In some cases, you may need to tackle a few tasks at one time, but in others, like when you’re just starting, your primary task should be to get it all down on paper and then figure out where to go next.
7. No Formal Business Plan
Speaking of planning, if you’re serious about opening a business, then you need to have a business plan. At first, like when you’re just getting started, this plan can be informal and is largely used to help you flesh out your ideas. But as you begin to seek out financing, you’ll need to have a formal business plan that you can show potential lenders, backers, or partners. Not sure how to do that? Here’s a few business plan pointers.
8. Not Enough Time
Owning a business is consuming, and in the beginning, you may have very little to spare; however, many business owners find that the demand on time, though still heavy, does decrease over time. Of course, no one can validate or invalidate this concern, but it’s worth asking if you’d prefer to spend time on someone else’s clock or your own.
9. Lack of a Credibility
Your personal credibility goes a long way in paving a solid path towards business ownership. If you look, speak, and act the part, other people (including lenders, customers, family and friends, etc.) will begin to see you as a credible business owner. If you don’t, the alternative can cost you.
Have a business plan, dress professionally when participating in business activities, and be your business’s biggest fan. When you act the part and believe in the goal, others will follow suit.
10. Lack of Resources
If your struggling to open a business and can’t seem to figure out where to go or what to do, then you may be overlooking resources designed for small business owners. The right resources can help you do everything from build a great business plan to scout out the perfect location.
As luck would have it, many cities have business resource centers meant to provide education and direction, and the internet, including Nav.com, offers a wealth of information geared at small business owners. It also may be beneficial for you to partner with a mentor, as the right one can be invaluable to your current and future efforts.
11. No Support
Opening a business on your own can be difficult, but not having the support of friends and family can be tough, especially when you are in the early stages of development.
If you’re struggling with this, consider treating them like potential investors. Providing them with proof that you’ve thought this out (a business plan) and that you’re passionate about seeing it through may be just the spark you need. You may also want to address how they fit into the big picture, as the unknown can often breed hesitations and fear.
12. No Set Schedule
Maybe you’ve started to take action, but one week turned into two, and two weeks turned into two months, and now a year has gone by and you’re exactly where you were 365 days ago.
If you want to get your business off the ground, you must create a schedule and stick as closely to it as possible. Even setting a schedule for your initial business plan can help you kick start your efforts.
If dreams of opening a business are constantly dancing through your head, and you have the skill, product, or service to make that a viable option, then becoming an entrepreneur may be the very next stop on life’s journey. If that’s the case, don’t let those twelve temporary roadblocks signal the end of the road.
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