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Entrepreneurs / Business

Why Most People Never Start a Business and Why Some Do

It's easy to think that business people have an inherent 'business sense' that can't be learned, but this is very far from the truth
Why Most People Never Start a Business and Why Some Do
Image credit: graphicstock
Freelance Writer
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

In Asia, in fact, all over the world, the number of successful business ventures that have been started since the turn of the century is almost countless. So many of these have been started within the last decade, and young entrepreneurs, in particular, are making strides like never before. Successful entrepreneurs young and old, do all though, have one thing in common: they had the confidence to start. In running your own business, that's the first step to success.

Almost everyone has an idea for a business. Or, at least, they know what type of business they'd enjoy running. And almost everyone has fantasised about sacking in their 9 - 5 job in pursuit of something they're truly passionate about. However, starting your own business is a scary prospect and most people don't like to do things that are scary. There are five main reasons people give for not starting their own business. I'd argue they can all be disputed (or, at the very least, solutions can be found to overcome these problems). If you're interested in starting your own business, but don't quite dare, read on.


This is the big one. And it's not to be played down. A lot of people who want to start a business simply can't for (initial) lack of funds. And it's sadly true that a fair number of successful business people had money to begin with, either from inheritance or high earning careers that allowed them to save. But there are ways around this. If your idea is strong enough, you can raise capital through angel investment. First, get your elevator pitch down pat. You should be able, to sum up your business, what it's about but more importantly why it should exist, quickly and succinctly. And then: network, network, network some more. Asia is brimming with events for start-up founders and investors alike. Do your homework, find out who might be interested in your business idea and then attend as many of these events as possible, from Business Start-Up Shows to Angels Investment Shows where wealthy investors are on the lookout for exciting new ideas. In short: get out there. There are ways to get your hands on the capital you need.


Second in line after the issue of money, there's the problem on time. In fact, these two are closely tied together: most people aren't in a financial position to quit their job, ergo, they have no time to put into their business. Unfortunately, there's no simple fix for this one. You have to make the time, usually at the expense of a social life. But remember that this won't be forever. And if your business if something that you're passionate about, it won't feel too much like work (at least not all the time!) When the going gets tough, just picture yourself in a few months or years, with that investment secured, when your business is your income and you can enjoy free time again whilst being your own boss. It'll be worth it.

Fear of failure

A lot of people never try because they're too scared that they might fail. This is what separates the most successful from the entrepreneurs that mess it up for themselves. Reading the stories of other successful business owners might help to inspire you. Remember, some of the world's most successful and famous people started out right where you are now, with nothing but an idea. It's also important to remember that failure isn't always a bad thing; you can learn from it, and that's exactly what the most successful people do. As Winston Churchill famously said: "Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."

Lack of business knowledge

It's easy to think that business people have an inherent 'business sense' that can't be learned, but this is very far from the truth. You don't need to get a degree in Business Studies to become a successful business-person. Again, networking can come in very handy here. Ask questions, learn from other business-people. Many super successful entrepreneurs are actually extremely generous; Carl Silverstone, the owner of Alpine and Aquila and well known for his philanthropy and generosity, often helps young entrepreneurs. So do many other successful business people, so if you want someone's help, try just asking for it. You can also attend inexpensive short courses and watch videos on YouTube or listen to audios. Many successful entrepreneurs are self-taught, you can be as well.

Lack of market knowledge

Knowing your market is vital for running a successful business. But it's easy to see this as an insurmountable task. Where do you start in learning about the marketplace you hope to enter? The answer is easier than you might think. If your business is something you love, chances are you already have an above average knowledge of that market. To give an example, let's say you want to open a bakery. You probably visit a lot of bakeries already. You know the streets that have a lot of bakeries (where there's likely to be what's called market saturation) and the streets with an annoying lack of bakeries (great for you: a gap in the market). Simply trust your own know-how and build up from there. As you build your business knowledge, as you network, as you attend events, you'll soon find yourself becoming an expert in your market niche: don't underestimate yourself.

So now you see how all these excuses are just that: excuses. Ultimately, it comes down to one very simple thing: having the confidence to try.

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