When people ask me what I do, I tell them that I help people start their own business or side hustle. I usually add that about 1 in 3 Americans own a business of some sort. If after discovering that they are not a business owner already, I ask them if they have ever considered business ownership and if not, what reasons are holding them back? The following is a list of the top 19 most popular responses I get for not launching a business and my response to each objection.
1. No Access To Capital
The old idea that you need a lot of money when launching a business is no longer true. I share the experience of one of my mentors that used strategic partnerships to get 3 companies to each pay 1/3 of the development cost of an application that he would own the code for after completion. Essentially, he was paid to develop a program that he then sold to others. I also tell them they can borrow their own money from their own 401k, and pay the loan back to themselves with interest that is better than any bank loan where the bank pockets the interest.
2. Fear Of Losing Money Invested
Starting any business is risky but many can be started for little or no money. I share that every investment has risk, and with risk comes rewards. I encourage them to read my blog posts “The Seven Types of Risk” and “How To Control Business Risk”.
Being lazy has no place in business. Business ownership- even a side hustle is a serious commitment, and that if the person shares they are in fact lazy then I suggest that perhaps launching a business is not for them.
4. Fear Of Losing Interest Halfway Through
I share that burnout is the number one reason that people sell a business. Business ownership does not have to be forever. Depending on the business, many can be sold for profit when you lose interest. However if they lack any degree of follow through, I tell them that launching a business may not be the right path for them.
5. A Mountain Of Tasks Are Required To Be Legal
I share that some businesses like a small service business can be operated as a sole proprietor and really require very few steps to be legally compliant.
6. Not Having The Right Partners
Larger businesses benefit from having the right partners because they each bring not only capital but expertise in specific areas. With regard to the expertise part, I ask if they ever considered a franchise since the franchiser sells you a system and acts as the expertise partner.
7. No Time
A Lack of Time Is No Excuse for Not Starting a Business. I confirm that launching a business is a serious time commitment but so too is a hobby. Many people commit huge amounts of time and money to a hobby because they enjoy it. I share that I really enjoy what I do, and exploring new business ideas is like my hobby for me except that I can get paid for it too. I add that picking the right type of business may be what they are missing.
8. Not Sticking With An Idea
If their idea is for a product, I recommend they try to license the idea to someone else. I have met many very bright inventors that have no business trying to launch a business around their idea. I recommend they read Harvey Reese’s book “How to License Your Million Dollar Idea”.
If their idea is that of an e-commerce type business, I often suggest that there are many evergreen businesses models that once set up really require little or no effort from the owner.
Finally, if their idea is for a service-based business. I talk to them about tools like upwork.com that can source online workers and remind them that they can hire employees or 1099 contractors to do much of the work.
9. Too Young
I remind them that the internet does not reveal the founder’s age. I share with them the story of 14-year-old Jonathan Labed who in a matter of only a few months turned a few bucks he received in birthday money into over $800,000.00.
10. Too Old
If they are thinking about a service-based business I remind them that Colonel Sanders was 62 when he opened his first franchise restaurant.
If they are considering a technology business I remind them that Charles Ranlett Flint launched IBM at age 61
11. Waiting For A Guarantee Of Success
When it comes to any investment there are no guarantees. I share that if they are so risk adverse that they need a guarantee of success, perhaps they should invest not in a business but invest in T-bills and hope that inflation is not greater than their yield on the investment.
12. Not Knowing Where To Start
I love this issue as this is my sweet spot. I tell them to find a mentor that has “been there and done that”. SteveBizBlog and more specifically my FREE Small Business Advice Navigator exists to help provide readers to overcome this reason for not launching a business. I also recommend seeking advice from a local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or from a local SCORE chapter in their area.
Many people I know have said that they have always wanted to start a small business of side hustle, but that they are just waiting for the right time to start. I remind them that my businesses grew when the economy was going down or going up and not so much when the economy was at the peak or the trough. I share with them the “Six Ways to Make Money in a Bad Economy”. If their procrastination is related to just being lazy I share that business ownership is not for them.
14. Don’t Know The Right People
When it comes to getting access to consultants and mentors, there are always local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or local SCORE chapters in their area. Moreover, the internet is full of business consultants that have made a business of helping others. I also recommend that they consider using networking groups like 1 Million cups. I might also recommend they visit a local co-working space, or to seek out assistance at the reference desk at their local public library.
15. Don’t Know What To Do That Makes Money
When it comes to lacking an idea I share that a great idea rarely yields a successful startup. I share with them a post on “Your Best Chance to Succeed In Small Business” and that it is not the idea that makes a business successful, but better execution.
16. I’m Ready But I Have No Idea
When it comes to the “idea” it is highly overrated. As I describe in a post about Nikola Tesla, while he was a brilliant inventor and invented alternating current and wireless radio he died penniless. To become a successful entrepreneur requires much more than a great mind for inventions, it requires business acumen. I add that when it comes to Coming Up with New Ideas to look for an uncontested Blue Ocean market by using the Business Model Canvas.
17. Scared Of Not Succeeding
I always recommend failing small. I share that my first business was an Invisible Fencing franchise that I ran as a side hustle while I worked a full-time job. When I started it, I knew nothing about business. After several years I was asked to go full-time or lose my franchise. Not willing to give up my day job at the time, I lost the franchise. However, I learned a lot about what it takes to own and operate a business. My next business was much more successful, and I achieved a successful exit when I sold it to a publicly traded company.
18. Afraid Of Leaving A Good Paying Job
Leaving a good paying job with benefits for a risky startup is scary. So, I often share that the role of business planning is to quantify the risk and reward of a venture and to give a reasonable approximation to when the business will become profitable. I recommend they spend considerable time developing a cash flow statement, and coming up with options if it talks longer than expected. I also encourage them to consider several side hustles to develop multiple revenue streams before taking the leap.
19. Too Much Debt
What is preventing you from starting a small business or side hustle?
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