How To Own Your Own Business in 2018: The 5 Excuses Stopping You from Success

Source: Pixabay under the Creative Commons License.

It’s the start of a new year! Are you still sitting on that business you promised to get off the ground last year (or maybe a few years ago?), telling friends and family “if only” you had launched your idea, you’d be rich by now? Or “when you finally get x,y,z into place,” you’ll be able to seriously start working on your product? Below are the FIVE most common excuses I hear from “wantrepreneurs.” If you’re ready to stop letting these excuses get in your way, this article is for you!

1. Someone Else Did It First

So What? Entrepreneurship isn’t about who does it first, its about who does it BEST! Nothing demonstrates this better than the competitive landscape for ride sharing apps. While Uber may have been the first to be featured prominently in the space, Lyft, Juno, Curb, Via and other apps are grabbing market share with business models that feature only slight differentiation. Do some extra research and Find ONE unique factor about your idea and makes your idea a credible rival in the space!

Source: Lyft, Inc., Uber Technologies, Via Transportation Inc., Curb by Verifone Transportation Systems.*

2. The Idea Isn’t Perfect Yet

And it shouldn’t be! The goal is to just GET STARTED! Do you remember the first version of Facebook before “memories”, “timeline”, or “messenger,”? Snapchat before “stories” or “filters?”

Many entrepreneurs will start out with just an Minimum Viable Product or MVP. The point of an MVP is solely to show proof of concept by demonstrating interest, testing your ideas, gathering research, and incorporating your findings. In the early stages of your business, you should be going through this circle as often as needed! Focus less on making your idea visually/aesthetically perfect or technologically complex and think instead on the easiest way you can test your business, service, or product. Sometimes this might mean using the least sophisticated technology possible and doing a lot of the process manually. Read The Garage Group’s article below to see how Rent the Runway’s MVP led to a million dollar business.

3. I Don’t Have Any Money/Resources

If you’re struggling to get accepted into an accelerator program or you haven’t raised any funding yet, don’t panic! Think like music artists who publish their albums independently without a big record label; you don’t need the support of a well-known VC or Incubator to co-sign your idea. Your MVP should be the simplest, pared-down version of your product and shouldn’t require heavy funding to test and gather insight.

In many cases, critical research, testing, and marketing, can be done for free or relatively cheaply using tools available on social media. Facebook and Instagram both have “business” tools available to allow business owners to get targeted marketing exposure at very low cost. You don’t have the break the budget.

Source: https://blogs.constantcontact.com/instagram-business-account/ *

If you want to learn more about using social media to promote your business, check out the article below by Target Public Marketing.

4. I Don’t Have An Audience to Test On

This is one of the biggest blind spots for new entrepreneurs. Your audience is everywhere! Don’t underestimate your personal network. Asking friends, family, and casual acquaintances for feedback or advice may seem like a small circle at first, but their feedback is valuable! Be genuine in asking them for their help and offer them a value add in return. Also, don’t be afraid to solicit feedback from strangers in the community. Join entrepreneurship Meetup or Facebook groups in your town, leverage local retailers or restaurants to pilot your product or service at little cost, visit college towns and campuses to run trials, surveys, focus groups.

5. What if I Fail?

“This is one of the most important lessons of the scientific method: if you cannot fail, you cannot learn.”
— Eric Ries

Unfortunately, failure is a part of many entrepreneurial endeavors. However, the picture is not as bleak as it once looked. According to a 2016 study run by the Small Business Administration, about 78% of business startups survive in the first year and about 50% survive the first five years. This is a far cry from the often-repeated false statistic that 50% fail in the first year and 95% fail in the first five. Still, some businesses will fail. The key difference between entrepreneurs who fail continuously and entrepreneurs who eventually become successful is the learning curve. Any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you that success is about how fast you can learn from your failures, innovate and pivot your strategy, and try again. If your passion is still there and the need is demonstrated, don’t abandon your project, refresh your strategy!

*The photos, videos, and other media appearing in this article are not owned by me.