Leap Over Five Common Startup Hurdles

Don't second-guess your startup dream! Here are five reasons you might be stalling and what you can do about them.

By Karen E. Spaeder

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Q: I've dreamed of starting my own business for solong, yet I can't seem to take the next step and actually getthings going. What's holding me back?

A: Probably every entrepreneur goes through whatyou're going through before starting a business. Particularlyif you have a job in a comfortable atmosphere, with full benefitsand generous bonuses, it might seem ludicrous to give up what youhave and start at the bottom again. Yet no matter how many perksyou might get at your job, the fact is, it's still a job--andyou still wonder, every day, what it'd be like to work foryourself, not someone else.

It seems apparent that your urge to be an entrepreneur isn'tgoing away anytime soon. It also seems apparent that taking theleap would be the right move for you. No matter how difficultthings might be in the beginning, one day you'll thank yourselffor having the courage to start a business.

There could be other things holding you back other than thefeelings of trepidation you're experiencing, however. See ifany of these reasons sound familiar:

1. You don't have a lot of money in the bank.That's a very good reason to shy away from quitting your job,isn't it? But that just means you need to get a financial plantogether. Consult with a financial planner who can help you map outpersonal and business finance goals. Some local colleges andcommunity centers even offer workshops and classes on financialplanning, usually at a minimal cost, so take advantage of them.

2. Someone mentions the words "business plan" toyou, and you stare blankly. A business plan is not the be-all,end-all of starting a business. But it's pretty important. Italked to an entrepreneur-to-be the other day--someone unfamiliarwith writing a business plan--and she said she didn't need abusiness plan because she wasn't planning on seeking financingfrom outside sources. But even if no one but you ever sees yourbusiness plan, it's still important. It helps you put yourgoals in focus and create a written plan of action for yourbusiness. It's almost like a detailed to-do list. Plus, younever know where your business will take you. You might get startedand find out you need more money than you thought, and that'swhere that handy business plan comes in.

3. You don't know anything about bookkeeping. Goahead and admit it--it's very freeing. Admitting you don'tknow everything will only make you successful later, because itmeans you'll have the courage to ask for help. Get all theadvice and mentoring you can at this stage. There's no shame inconsulting with an accountant, an attorney, a long-time veteran inthe field, and so on.

4. You're not sure you have the dedication it takes tostick with it. There's a simple way to solve this problem:Don't start a business doing something you don't like. Ifyou hate getting up early, starting a coffee shop or a bakery isnot for you. If you get impatient around children, don't starta child-care center or anything else kid-related. You have to lovewhat you're doing when you start a business, or you willnot stick with it. It's no different than working in a jobyou hate.

5. You're afraid of selling. That's a big one,because if you're an entrepreneur, you're also asalesperson--that is, unless you figure out a way to bring atop-notch salesperson onto your team from the get-go. Chances are,you don't have the money for that yet, so perhaps a betteralternative is to psych yourself up to sell. If you believe in yourproduct or service, you'll find the confidence to sell it.

Now quit stalling, and get to work. You've got a business tostart.

Karen E. Spaeder is a freelance writer in SouthernCalifornia.

Karen E. Spaeder

Karen E. Spaeder is a freelance business writer in Southern California.

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