• Susanne Birgersdotter

There are many reasons why starting a business is a daunting leap of courage. Some business people do it so naturally, while most of us struggle. I’ve taken the plunge a few times now, and I still have fears. Being in business a good many years and having to start businesses from scratch several times now, I can honestly say that fear will always be there. It’s just a matter of steadying the nerves and showing a brilliant and confident smile while you hide crossed fingers, frustrations, and doubts. What makes starting a business hard? Here are some of the most common reasons why starting a business is hard;

Security to taking chances – This is the biggest challenge for first-time entrepreneurs. Getting out of your comfort zone is always hard and we, as human beings, will naturally shy away from the uncomfortable and the unknown. Transitioning from the security of employment to the unpredictability of entrepreneurship is something many of us can’t handle. Many will eventually choose the comforts and familiarity of the oyster to the vast opportunities and the splendor of the sea.

Risking your own money – Many small business owners put up their own money as capital. They would either use their savings, took out personal loans, or sell assets to come up with the required starting capital. Nobody likes to lose, especially hard-earned money.

Inadequate knowledge – This is a very common reason for not starting a business, however, this is also the most sensible cause and the easiest to resolve. I agree that one shouldn’t take the plunge without the basic knowledge of what you’re getting into. The more you know about the business and the industry, the confident you grow. However, do not expect to learn everything from the sidelines. At some point, you have to join the fray.

Doubts, doubts, doubts – Would-be entrepreneurs will surely have to fight with doubt – lots of it. Is the business study correct? What if the market situation changes? Will I be able to put up enough funding? Can I really sell my product? Can you do it? You will not really know the answer unless you take the plunge, but it will be a resounding NO if you don’t try.

So, how does one get over startup jitters and take the plunge?

Start by knowing as much as you can about the business you’re about to enter. The products, the suppliers, the consumers and the industry. Know if there are any legalities involved, permits and licenses to procure, and regulations that you need to follow. Get into the details of money matters. How much capital is needed, how much you have available, are you going to borrow the necessary funding or getting partners to provide the capital? Most importantly, get to know your target market. Who are they? What are their spending habits, needs, and purchasing power? Having a very good idea of the business will give you a boost of confidence needed to start the company.

Transitioning from the secured employee to a hustling entrepreneur can be daunting. Overcoming the fear is not an easy feat, and how one does it really depends much on one’s personality, conviction, and determination. We often hear stories of successful businessmen and women starting their business small, struggling and not having much choice. You see, once the safety net is removed from under you that you do your hardest to stay on the line and hold on to dear life.

Successful entrepreneurs are commonly adventurous, thrill-seekers, and risk-takers. But conservative and precautious people can also succeed in business. They just need to strengthen their resolve by getting out of their comfort zones. Hate to lose your monthly cheque? Think of writing the cheques instead! Focus on the opportunities and the possibilities, rather than what you will be letting go of.

Business will always be a risky undertaking. The higher the risks, the greater the rewards. The great thing about risks is that you have the ultimate control of it, always. Afraid to break your heart? Don’t fall in love. Afraid of losing money? Don’t invest. Afraid of the world? Stay at home. It’s simple as that.

But life is not so simple.

Not trying at all is not winning, nor staying safe. It is losing. Because not trying is the fastest way to failure. As Michael Jordan put it – a shot not taken is a missed shot.

Again, risks are totally controllable. It will be up to the entrepreneur to manage the risks. Keep it low with thorough research, secure personal wealth by forming the appropriate business structure, and ensure success with a brilliant business plan.

Lastly, have a strong support system. A circle of family and friends who believe in you, will cheer you on, and who you can count on to pick you up when things are down. The people who will be happy for your success and see you as a real person, not a persona. The people you care and love. They are the secret to every entrepreneurs’ success, and the source of courage to start carving your way in business.