Estimates vary, but generally, more than 1 million businesses are started every year in the United States. Yet for every American who actually starts a business, there are likely millions more who begin each year by saying "OK, this is the year I'm going to start a business," and then nothing happens.
Everybody has his or her own roadblock, something that keeps them from taking that first crucial step. Some people are afraid to start; they may fear the unknown or failure or even success. Others are just overwhelmed by the belief that they have to start from scratch. They think they have to start with an empty slate and figure out "OK, what product can I invent? What service can I start? What can I do that no one has ever done before?" In other words, they think they have to reinvent the wheel.
But unless you are a technological genius, trying to reinvent the wheel is a big waste of time. For most people starting a business, the issue is not coming up with something so unique that no one has ever heard of it. It's answering the question "How can I do something better?" or "How can I do it differently than the other guy doing it over there?"
Rieva Lesonsky is editorial director of Entrepreneur Media Inc., which publishes Business Start-Ups, Entrepreneur and Entrepreneur's HomeOffice. This article is excerpted from the new book Start Your Own Business (Entrepreneur Media Inc., $24.95), available at bookstores near you.