Four Hurdles to Starting a Business
By Jim Stovall
it comes to career, one of the greatest dreams of many people is to own
their own business. This
paints mental pictures of being the captain of one’s own ship and
being in control of one’s destiny.
Most all people who are considered a world class success in
business own or at least run their own operation.
For the right person, there is nothing better than owning your
own business. For the wrong
person, there is nothing worse than owning your own business.
For the right people, starting or running a company becomes
liberating, creatively stimulating, and energizing.
For the wrong people, it becomes pressure-filled, confining, and
are a number of hurdles that anyone should consider before starting or
running their own business. These
hurdles build upon one another. You
don’t go to the second hurdle until you have successfully navigated
the first one; and unless you get over all the hurdles, you should not
even consider being in business for yourself.
Once you’re over the last hurdle, it doesn’t mean you win the
race, it means you qualify to enter the starting blocks to begin the
competition of owning and running your own business.
remember, there is nothing wrong with not being a business owner,
leader, or entrepreneur. There
are scores of people who function valuably and professionally within
someone else’s corporate structure.
This does not make them bad people.
On the contrary, it makes them very good people at fitting into a
following hurdles should each be successfully cleared before you move on
toward the possibility of even considering starting or running your own
Honestly assess your temperament to determine whether or not you are
suited to be an entrepreneur or a business owner.
Are you a leader? Do
you enjoy blazing your own trail, or would you prefer to follow someone
else’s lead or a clearly delineated job description and career path?
Ask friends, co-workers, and family members who will be honest
with you to assess your temperament as well.
Often, those around us see us more clearly than we can see our
own strengths and weaknesses.
Determine whether or not you have a unique talent, ability, or
opportunity. You have heard
it said that if you build a better mousetrap, people will beat a path to
your door. Obviously, it
would be best to be the very first person to create a mousetrap.
If not, you must determine if your mousetrap is really better and
has either a cost or a quality competitive advantage compared to those
that are currently on the market. You
must also assess whether or not there are a sufficient number of mice
– or in this case, potential customers – in your proposed
marketplace. This area
cannot be overestimated. Entrepreneurs
fail every day because they are not honest with themselves.
They feel they have a unique talent, product, or marketplace that
no one else has.
Do you have enough capital? Most
entrepreneurs will tell you the term “enough” capital does not
exist. There is more truth
than one might imagine in that statement.
When you are in business for yourself, everything takes longer,
costs more, and is more difficult than you imagined.
This is not negative thinking.
It is the real life experience of most business owners.
Too many would be entrepreneurs base all projections on the
proverbial best case scenario. You
would be much better off to base your projections on the worst case
scenario and even cut it in half. If
you can survive in that environment, you’ve got an excellent chance of
making it. The only cardinal
sin in business planning is to run out of money.
Money buys you time, second chances, and many lessons.
With money, you’re like a pilot flying 40,000 feet above the
earth. Any problems can be
dealt with at this altitude. You
have a lot of time to make corrections, contingency plans, and pursue
alternatives. Without enough
capital, you are like that same pilot flying 100 feet above the ground.
You can fly successfully if everything goes perfectly; but if
there’s one mechanical error, fuel problem, or wind sheer, you are
destined to crash and burn.
Do you have a passion for your new business?
This may be the most critical hurdle of all.
It’s got to be more than a good idea or an attractive business.
You’ve got to be willing to live, eat, and breathe your new
venture because, in reality, you will probably be forced to.
Becoming an entrepreneur means that you are willing to do things
that most people are not willing to do.
This is only possible when you have an unbelievable passion to
pursue your dream of owning your own business.
you have gotten over these four hurdles, you may be ready to approach
the starting line. If you
are, indeed, going to launch into your own business, above all remember
the best advice I ever heard about being in business for myself: Make
sure you’re having fun. You
got into this because you thought you would enjoy it.
If you don’t enjoy being in business for yourself, you would be
far better off having a job working for someone else.
your mark. Get set.