Yes, you. You who was were so excited to start a business but you still haven’t done anything meaningful towards getting it going. I know it’s hard, but waiting won’t make it any easier. Remember back to those weeks, months or years ago when the idea for your business first entered your head? Did you promise yourself you’d do it? Where would you be now if you’d started then?
Despite what you might think from the last paragraph, I actually don’t want to berate you for not starting. Starting a business is damn hard – on so many levels. But I think starting a business is worth it and I want to help you get across the line.
I usually find that once I can pinpoint the specific problem, it’s a lot easier to solve. So, why haven’t you started your business? Let’s try to get to the bottom of that. In my opinion, there are 3 main reasons you haven’t started your business yet…
1) You’re Waiting For the Right Time to Start Your Business
You know what I’m going to say here. There is no perfect time to start a business. When this season is over, there’ll be another one to worry about, when the kids are older there’ll be different challenges, when you’re not as busy…. hang on, you’ll never be not as busy!
Let’s face it, waiting for the perfect time to start a business is (almost always) just another form or procrastination. Decide if you really want to do it and, if you do, start taking actions today. If you haven’t got much time to devote to this, remembre that even small actions taken consistently can add up to a lot.
2) You Don’t Know What The First Steps Are to Start Your Business
Unfortunately there is no step-by-step manual for starting a business. Each business is different and no-one can tell you what the right things are to do to get going and in what order they should be done.
I can say that a lot of people waste a lot of time (and money) on things that don’t really matter. Things like designing logos, ordering business cards, setting up an office, etc. For me, none of these things make a business. You have a business once you have customers buying something from you. That’s the basic definition of a business and that’s what you should be aiming for- customers buying something from you.
So, what are the things you need to do in order to get to the point where customers will pay you for something? Maybe it’s getting on the phone and offering your services to 50 contacts. Maybe it’s writing a Facebook post about what you’re doing. Or maybe it’s taking the steps to create the product you want to sell.
Do a big brain dump and write out a list of all the things you think you should do to get customers buying from you. Break them into small chunks – or “micro-actions”. Put them in some sort of an order and start working through them. Focus on one thing at a time and you’ll get there.
You can also use our New Business Launch Plan Template (for free) if you prefer.
3) You’re Worried About What They’ll Think
This is common and often disguised as procrastination. We worry that if we put ourselves out there, we’ll make a fool out of ourselves. We get ourselves all twisted up thinking things like…
- they’ll think we’re crazy for choosing this type of business – there’s too much competition, it’s a dumb idea, it’s a bad industry
- they’ll think we’re not capable of pulling it off – that we don’t have the drive or know-how
- they’ll think we’re selfish for pursuing something we’re passionate about when we could just take a more secure option
- or my favourite, they’ll think we’re full of ourselves for even thinking we could start and run a business
There are probably more, too.
But who are “they” anyway? Identify exactly whose opinion you’re most worried about. Is it people you went to school with? Your colleagues? Your parents? Your partner? Sometimes just identifying that there are a couple of people whose opinions you hold too highly can make you feel more at ease.
Sometimes you might also need to go further and get some validation from those people. (I know you shouldn’t need this, but if it helps you get started, why not?) A good way to do this is to ask their advice. If people feel involved in your project, they start to want you to succeed.
Or another way to overcome this fear is to get some validation from other people whose opinions you admire (hopefully more than the people you’re worried about). Maybe a business mentor, or maybe by interviewing potential customers (this is the best type of validation!)
But really, do the opinions of others really matter?? If you’ve done the thinking and decided to have a shot at starting a business, don’t let someone else’s views (real or imagined!) stop you!
Which reason for not starting your business do you identify with most? So what are you going to do about it?
There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to do something but feeling the time slipping by without you starting. Don’t let it continue. Set a deadline for starting, overcome those mental hurdles, write out your plan for starting, and then follow it.