The negativity is deafening. In an economy transitioning from industrial to technological skills, with fewer and fewer people capable of performing in traditional jobs, large numbers of us have to find another way to make a living. Polls often show the majority of people would like to own their own business. These are the same people who want individual challenges, professional creativity, schedule and lifestyle freedom. But only a fraction actually start a business. Why? Because potential entrepreneurs get psyched-out, by friends, family, co-workers, the media and most of all…themselves.
What does it mean to be psyched-out? The phrase is an informal term but it does have a dictionary definition. To psych-out is to intimidate, or frighten psychologically or make nervous or, when you do it to yourself, to lose your nerve, to lose your confidence. Where I come from people just say ‘psych’ as a way to scare you away from doing something you show any hesitation in doing. Your ‘psych,’ your psychology is a huge barrier to getting started with your business, but it can be overcome.
For many wantrepreneurs – the following statements said by or to themselves, or stated by others, are exactly the phrases used to prevent people from following through on their ambition to start a business. But if you are serious, and committed, and really want to move forward with your business plans, you have to conquer these ten big psych-outs. So here are the psych-outs and some ideas for fighting back.
The Top Ten Psych-Outs Wantrepreneurs have to Conquer…to start a business
#1 – I do not have the – time, patience, knowledge, skill – to write a business plan
If this is your obstacle…good…do not write a business plan!!!
A business plan is for third parties who want a document for themselves to justify their time or financial investment in your company. The business plan is not for you if you have not even prepared yourself to work on your business. You have many other activities you can do before sitting down to write a long, formal document. The most successful business ideas did not launch because someone first sat down and wrote a business plan.
You need to find the time to work on your business, identify upfront cash you can use, and layout the detailed action items to actually get the digital or physical door open. You can do all those activities without a business plan.
So if someone told you to start with a business plan, and now you are doing nothing because you are intimidated by paperwork…skip that step and get to work on other business building activities.
#2 – I may be the only person in the world who thinks this product or service is a good idea
Okay, let’s test your product or service and see if you are right. The only way to find out if your product or service would be purchased by customers, is to make it available for customers to purchase. The consumer marketplace is always open for new and innovative ideas. Nobody has any clue as to what will be the next great consumer product or service. Think of the amazing industrial and technological products, which replaced other products people thought would last forever. The marketplace will switch gears as soon as a better option comes along.
You probably came up with your idea because you saw a gap in the marketplace or a need to be fulfilled or an opportunity to do something better. Do not give up before you have even tested your own intuition. You have a business idea in your head, and you want to turn it into a functioning business. Your inner entrepreneur is encouraging you to move forward and get it done. You are alert and aware of these issues. So the fact you have the idea means there is an opportunity to turn it into a functioning business.
Understanding why you came up with your business idea will help you overcome your fear about trying to turn the idea into a business. Avoid the trap of thinking your new business idea is no good, and go ahead and at least make a commitment to yourself to launch the business and prove yourself wrong.
#3 – The economy is saturated and there is no room for my business
You are in the 21st century global economy and the technological revolution is changing all facets of how we do business. This means you have access to a world market with a current (January 2017) value of around – $78 trillion – that’s Trillion with a ‘T’ dollars. And growth is pushing forward all over the world. Which means as the world economy marches towards a $100 trillion dollar value, you have ever opportunity to be right there – with your business – earning, contributing and fulfilling your entrepreneurial dreams.
Even if you are thinking about launching a hometown store or restaurant, there may be elements of your plans that are global. Are you selling a product that can be shipped worldwide? Do you live in a tourist area? An idea may look local to you right now, but with today’s technology, it may also be a much bigger opportunity.
#4 – I’ll start a business next year when I might have more time
Let’s see what could be holding you back – spouse, kids, work, weather, sports finals, chores – will all of these factors be around next year? Using the facts of your current life as an excuse for not building a better future is simply put…procrastination. Probably little will change between this year and next. You will continue to trade dollars for hours in a job you no longer want to do, while managing all the daily life activities just as you did last year.
Postponing the opportunity to create the dream of your life will only prolong your pain. If you begin right now, on even the smallest steps towards your business like researching product production or looking at other service providers, you will begin to put yourself in a business-building mindset. Over time you will add more and more activities leading to the launch of your business.
There is no perfect day to start a business. Everything in the world is very fluid. Start small, but start immediately. If you are constantly thinking about starting your business, you do not want another year to pass you by.
#5 – I don’t have the money
How much money do you need? Do you know? If you have done no work on launching your business, you probably do not know how much the set-up would cost. Claiming you do not have the money before you have made an effort to figure out your costs is inventing an excuse for not starting the business. With technology changing daily, your business start-up costs may be falling, but you are still thinking about last year’s possibilities.
Give yourself an opportunity to find out the true cost by taking the time to get started on business activities. Research actual costs, which will help you develop an understanding of your industry and market. At the same time, consider potential funding sources. By the time you have finished your analysis, you may find you have all the money you need to get started.
#6 – I do not have the experience or relevant skill to start a business in my field
Passion is the skill most desperately sought in almost all endeavors. You need to identify only your desire to create the business, and education will follow. Have you determined exactly which activities need to be completed to make your business successful? Take a look at the competitors in your field, or investigate a local operation. The more time you spend actually creating the business, the more experience and education you develop along the way.
#7 – Potential customers will never find me
Are you a potential customer of your own business? If you are looking for the business, where can you be found?
Opening a business is an event. And events, whether in the physical world or online, typically have build-up and fanfare. You can begin reaching out to potential clients even before the business has been created, and build anticipation and excitement for your launch. Many different strategies and options exist to reach new customers and appeal to their tastes and interests. You will be able to set-up your marketing strategy and find people who are interested in your product as soon as you begin speaking about it.
#8 – My family and friends will not support me (and maybe they’re right to think I’m crazy)
A lack of support from family and friends has nothing to do with your business idea and everything to do with how we are wired as human beings. Our number one instinct is survival. Most people are risk adverse, and survive best within groups, tribes, of those who feel a certain obligation to ‘stick together.’ So if you are within a tribe (as we all are), and you do something innovative, you present a fellow tribeperson with an ancient fear.
If your innovation is so great and other people in the tribe begin to look up to you, the fellow tribeperson will feel as if their personal value has diminished (the person falls behind you). If other people copy you, the fellow tribesperson will feel pressured to keep up (the person falls behind everyone in the tribe). And scariest of all, if you take your innovation to another tribe, the whole other tribe will become stronger than your fellow tribeperson (the person falls behind outsiders).
These options put your fellow tribeperson’s figurative survival at risk. Given those odds, their reaction is to discourage you, maybe even prevent you from going forward with your innovation and making progress.
Understand why people are behaving the way they are, it’s because they are scared for themselves. But do not let them force you to live a backwards life. You have to fight their survival fears with your own, and believe your innovation will provide safety, security and opportunity for all who associate with you.
#9 – Business is so competitive; people will try to sabotage me
In economics, the competitive marketplace is generally defined as a situation where a lot of producers deliver products and services to a lot of consumers who want their product or service. And in a truly competitive market no one producer, or producer groups, and no single consumer, or consumer groups controls how the market functions.
Guess what? That’s exactly the situation you want. Because in a competitive market, consumers will decide based on the merits of your product or service, and you must deliver to the consumer. You are a consumer yourself, so I’m guessing you do not want a situation where you have to accept what only one producer has to offer.
As for sabotage, in the 21st century with 24-hour news channels, social media and independent news organizations, it’s very difficult for a company to behave illegally in the marketplace and get away with it for long. People are using their smartphones to record consumer injustices everywhere, and if your competitor wants to stay in business they will most likely have to play by the rules. Some businesses may slip through and continue unethical or illegal market practices for a while, but these things do have a way of catching up with people.
Forget about an action that has not even happened, and focus on creating and delivering the best business you can imagine to a waiting marketplace of eager consumers.
#10 – Most new businesses fail (so why would I be successful)
But what about most new entrepreneurs??? Do they fail? No! Entrepreneurs keep going testing and promoting new business ideas in the marketplace. Have you ever heard the term, serial entrepreneur? That’s the name given to people who have started many businesses, and if you look at the history of successful entrepreneurs you will often find they made their success not on their first or tenth or twentieth try, but on the 21st. Maybe the first business idea did not fail, but morphed into a great success.
The statement about most new businesses failing is what I like to call ‘twisted statistics.’ People take a portion of the information, use the data to illustrate the point they want to make, and leave off the rest. You do not fail in starting your first business. Instead you gain valuable knowledge and experience towards establishing your successful business. The act of setting up a business and finding out what works, and what does not, actually accelerates your business education and broadens your entrepreneurial experience. Remember the statement about most new businesses failing is not about you, the entrepreneur.
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Okay we have called out and addressed the top ten psych-outs for wantrepreneurs. Take a look and see which of these psych-outs are attacking you, and then use the suggestions to conquer those very points. If you can get beyond these old claims against you, you can move forward with your business idea, and secure your place in the thriving 21st century economy.
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