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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

The 5 Most Common Excuses Of Wannabe Entrepreneurs

There are ample resources and opportunities for you to take your ideas to the next level. All that’s left is for you to take them!

Larry Alton

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If you want to be an entrepreneur, but you aren’t already, what’s stopping you?

Personally, like many in the entrepreneurial community, I’m of a mind that anyone can be an entrepreneur.

With free resources available from government organisations, free reach available through social media and free content and instruction available from anywhere on the web, there’s almost nothing stopping someone with a good idea from going to market.

Related: 4 Tactics For Making Your New Business Seem More Established

Still, inevitably, there are thousands, maybe even millions of people who dream of being entrepreneurs, have good ideas and still never take the next steps necessary to make that dream a reality. Why is this?

It all comes down to excuses, lies or misconceptions you repeat to yourself to justify your inaction. These are five of the most common:

1. I can’t leave my job

You already have a good job, and you might be the only person supporting your family. Does that mean you can’t leave your job to become an entrepreneur? Perhaps.

First, determine what you’re really worried about. Are you just scared of the unknown – or are you in truly such dire financial straits that only this job, no other job in the world, could support your needs?

Even if the latter is the case, imagine the possibility of starting a side business while you still work at your full-time job. It’d be a lot of extra hours and additional stress, but you could secure some short-term stability while you grow your enterprise beyond the incubation stage.

2. I’m not good enough to be an entrepreneur

There’s a common misconception out there that entrepreneurs are “born” to be entrepreneurs, or that successful entrepreneurs have some essential genetic quality that makes it possible for them to succeed and stifles the progress of anyone else. This simply isn’t true.

There are some factors that make it easier for people to transition into an entrepreneurial role, such as high enthusiasm, extroversion and a tendency to attack problems head-on.

However, these can all be learned, mimicked or substituted by people who don’t exhibit these qualities naturally. In short, you can be as good or bad an entrepreneur as you want to be – you just have to do a little work to get there.

3. I don’t have enough funding

funding-for-entrepreneurs

Businesses need capital to succeed, but that doesn’t mean you have to front all the money yourself.

As a first measure, you can draw investments from your friends and family members. Beyond that, you can scout for potential angel investors or venture capitalists in your area.

Related: 6 Keys To Develop A Successful Small Business

If your idea is solid, they’ll be thrilled to back you. If that doesn’t work, try crowdfunding (assuming your business qualifies), and even if all of those methods fall through, you can secure a line of credit with a bank (assuming your business plan and personal credit check out).

4. It’s not the right time

This is a vague excuse that can apply to anything. Maybe you just bought a house. Maybe you just had a kid. Maybe you’re trying to transition between careers. Whatever the case, the timing isn’t perfect to allow you to become an entrepreneur.

But guess what? There’s no such thing as a “perfect” time. Nobody became an entrepreneur because all the stars aligned for some magically “perfect” opportunity – they knew the risks, knew the obstacles and moved forward in spite of them. If you’re waiting for some perfect moment, stop – now’s as good a time as any.

5. I’m worried I’ll fail

This is one of the most common – and most crippling excuses – but it has no logical bearing to hold you back. Yes, there’s a strong possibility you’ll fail – most startups eventually close their doors in the first two years.

The question I pose to you is: So what? There’s no shortage of breakout success stories of entrepreneurs who first overcame a crushing failure. In fact, many credit their success to the hard lessons learned in an initial failure.

If anything, failure is just a mechanism for you to gain experience, insight, and eventually come out on top. Nobody particularly enjoys failing, but there’s no reason to build it up in your head as some life-ending event. Dismiss the stigma, and accept it as a tolerable reality.

Related: 10 Business Ideas Ready To Launch!

Once you learn to recognise these statements as what they are – mere excuses – you can look at your situation more practically and logically.

Yes, there’s a lot of risk in becoming an entrepreneur. Yes, it’s scary and demands a lot of hard work. But if it’s what you truly want in life, these fears shouldn’t be enough to stop you.

There are ample resources and opportunities for you to take your ideas to the next level. All that’s left is for you to take them!

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

Build Solid Back-Room Basics For Business Success

What do South African entrepreneurs really know about what goes on behind the scenes building of businesses?

Marc Wachsberger

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South Africa has a vibrant start-up culture with great ideas starting out with a bang, but closing down with a whimper because entrepreneurs picture the glory at the destination, but not the nitty gritty of the journey to get there.

Be smart about scale

When I started out, I literally did everything myself. I negotiated and signed leases, I arranged the furnishing for our apartments and managed the interior décor process. When guests started using our apartments, I signed them in at reception, and then carried their bags.

At that stage, there was no money in my business to pay for attorneys, interior designers and decorators and there certainly wasn’t enough money for porters.

However, when we got to 70 apartments, it didn’t make sense for me to be a porter any longer, so I hired someone to do that job, explaining clearly what I expected of him. Before I did that, though, I spent time designing incentives for him so that he would be more affordable for me, and so that he could earn as much money as possible.

Related: Training Is A Two-Way Trick

Know your talents – and your limitations

There are certain things I’m really good at, but I know without a doubt that sales isn’t one of them – and without sales, you don’t have a business. I couldn’t afford a top-flight salesperson, but I knew that I could attract the right talent with the right business model. I set some high targets for Pamela Niemand, but offered her one third of the business if she met them. We both won: she earned a share in a successful, trend-setting business, and my trend-setting business became successful!

Use your skills – but know when to hand over

My background in corporate finance meant that I had all the accounting skills I needed when we first started out, but I knew that the time would come when I would need someone focused on that side of the business full time. Doing it all myself first meant that I could brief my first full-time accountant clearly and with a deep understanding of what would be required – and that I could help that person find and fix any challenges based on my experience.

In summary, my simple advice to anyone starting out would be to bootstrap your business yourself without investors or staff for as long as you can, but don’t over-extend yourself. Know when to delegate tasks away so that you can focus on what you’re really good at – but don’t do it before you have a solid understanding of what’s required. Know what you’ll never be able to do, and bring in that resource from the beginning – but do it based on performance-based incentives, so that your fledgling business doesn’t lose out if your early hires don’t perform.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

The Myth About The Relationship Between Entrepreneurs And Taking Risks

This is the true relationship between entrepreneurs and the apparent illusion of risk.

Lisa Illingworth

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“I can’t be an entrepreneur or start a business. I don’t have the appetite for risk.” This line is spoken regularly to brave few that leave the perceived safety of a job, take the plunge and venture into the unknown world of being an entrepreneur. However, there is a gross misunderstanding in the appetite for risk that entrepreneurs are believed to have innately inside of them.

The little-known truth is that the majority of entrepreneurs don’t like taking risks and according to Luca Rigotti and Mathew Ryan in their paper that explores a model for quantifying risk and its translation into enterprising action, the results were very interesting.

Risk is explained by these theorists as taking action where the outcomes are unpredictable as well the factors leading to that outcome are unknown. One of the theorists in this area, Saraswati, who coined the term “tolerance for ambiguity” has a more accurate description of what the outside world deems taking a risk.

In simple terms, entrepreneurs don’t go head-first into the shark infested water because they like the idea of danger and potentially being eaten alive; or the thrill of being able to say that they survived whilst others perished in a pool of maimed flesh. They carefully calculate that the sharks have been fed recently, some of the sharks are ragged tooth sharks that whilst looking like they are set to devour a human being, are actually incapable of opening their jaws wide enough to bite. For those sharks that still have space or who smell blood and can’t resist the urge to kill, the entrepreneur has a cage set up that he can retreat into quickly and a knife with which to protect himself.

Related: 5 Infamous Risks Every Entrepreneur Must Face

Tolerance for ambiguity is the careful evaluation of what is known at the moment where a decision must be made and an open-mindedness for what is not known. This, coupled with the agility to change course when new information is presented, has earned the label of high risk appetite. The appetite is not for the risk, but it is the ability to move down a path, when all the information is not known.

I likened it to a person moving around in the dark holding a candle. The candle casts a light that illuminates a limited parameter around the person holding the candle. What is beyond the light that the candle casts, is unknown and potentially a risk. But as the person moves forward, the light reveals what was unknown and in the shadows. As the light reveals new information and new challenges added to what they have already learnt, the person can make better informed decisions. The tolerance is in not knowing what lies in the shadows yet to be illuminated by the candle and then the confidence in his or her own ability to act on what new information is discovered.

None of this behaviour is risky or irresponsible. There is careful consideration for what is known and a tolerance for what is unknown. And once there is more information available, a calculated next step is taken and more information is assimilated into what is now known. This is the true relationship between entrepreneurs and the apparent illusion of risk.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

7 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs To Adopt Today

Want to know what skills can help you build confidence and your business? Here are seven…

Nicholas Bell

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For some people, becoming an entrepreneur is as easy as stepping off a bus. They have a big idea, they bring it to life, they hire employees and the next thing they are in a building smothered in branding and living the business dream. For others, the idea and the passion are there but they are unsure as to how they can make these into a sustainable reality. Entrepreneurial spirit isn’t like instant coffee – you don’t add ideas and suddenly get all the skills you need to thrive.

Want to know what skills can help you build confidence and your business? Here are seven…

1. Believable vision

Make sure that your vision is believable and achievable. It has to live in the realms of possibility, not as a blue-sky idea that looks good on paper but wouldn’t work in reality. You need to be able to live this vision so make it realistic and achievable. This will not only keep you on track, but your employees as well.

2. Be inclusive

You need to ensure that every person who works with you feels as if they are part of your vision and understand it. They need to relate to where the business is going and how it plans to get there. Many leaders don’t understand why employees are not engaged with their business and it’s because many of them don’t actually understand what the business does.

Related: 4 Ways To Improve Your Budgeting Skills

3. Communication is critical

If you don’t have fantastic communication skills, then now is the time to hone them. When it comes to building employee morale, commitment and engagement, nothing works as effectively as constant communication. The same applies to client relationships. You need to repeat the vision and ethos of the company at every opportunity and you need to be part of the team that does this communication.

4. Be visible and transparent

You are communicating, now you need to make that communication genuine by being both open and clear. People respond incredibly well to transparency. They feel as if they are part of something that recognises their value and contribution and it fosters a more inclusive company culture. Often toxic cultures come about thanks to a lack of communication and visibility. People know when things are being kept secret and react negatively to it, regardless of whether they’re an employee, a customer or a manager.

5. Be practical

You aren’t going to build an empire in a fortnight so focus on a realistic and practical business strategy that has clear benchmarks and even clearer goals. Communicate these with the company and keep everybody on the same page. Practical and achievable means long-term success.

Related: Crucial Skills You Need To Be An Entrepreneur

6. Build opportunities

As people become immersed in your company and part of its growth they will also need opportunities to grow. You need to tie their careers to the business and create opportunities for them.

7. Be human

It takes people to build a culture, a company and a future. It’s essential that you are human in your interactions and your treatment of others. The impact that a down to earth and authentic attitude can have on a company is extraordinary.

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