Ask just about anyone considering whether to start a business what they believe to be the biggest obstacle to starting that business and the answer is almost always, money. It's a matter of, "I do not have the money" or "I do not know how to get the money" or "Even if I tried, I do not think I could get the money." It is a valid concern. Many businesses fail in the first three years because they are under capitalized to withstand the ramp up period needed by many new business ventures. The bottom line- money matters. But, the more intriguing question is how much?
On our website, we encourage aspiring entrepreneurs to check their entrepreneurial readiness with a short online survey. Rather than "score" the respondent, the intent is both to highlight the success factor gaps that are most significant to a particular person and to gather information to pain a profile of the aspiring entrepreneur. Several of the questions refer to money matters and simultaneously what the largest perceivable barriers are to starting a business. The results of the survey present an interesting paradox ~ Is Money What is Really Holding You Back From Starting a Business?
As of the end of July, 68% of the survey participants indicated that they understand the costs of starting a business and either have a plan for or an idea of how to acquire them, yet almost a third of those responders also cite money as one of the primary obstacles they have to overcome. As we reviewed the responses of these individuals, we also discovered another piece of the puzzle. Most of these responders, also indicated that they had access to an alternate source of income and could wait from one to three years for the business to become viable. So, here's the paradox -if these individuals want to start a business, understand the financial requirements, have a strategy form meeting them, and have other means to support themselves, how is it that money is the obstacle?
Reconciling the inconsistency is critical because it absolutely will separate those who absolutely take that final first step towards entrepreneurship and those who will likely look back on the disappointment of an unfulfilled promise. Is it that money is the true obstacle or is it possible that aversion to losing that money is the real culprit? Our hypothesis is this-money matters, but not as much as people think.
What are some possible explanations for the inconsistency? One could be that while you may understand what you need to do to gather the financial resources to start a business and know what you can do to acquire them, at the end of the day, you find yourself somehow unwilling or unable to commit to the actions necessary to build the "nest egg". Alternately, it could be that the connection is really tied to the unwillingness to risk losing either what you have today or even what you save to support that new business. This is an extension of the old saying, "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush".
Fundamentally, the question of resolving the money matters of starting a business revolve around three things, taking the time to research the startup and operating requirements, developing a strategy for meeting them, and then recognizing that entrepreneurship changes security for independence as it relates to finances . There is no shame in risking it all for a shot at the brass ring, nor is there any for choosing the financial security of employment. People find satisfaction and fulfillment in both. Understanding the degree to which money really does matter in your desire for entrepreneurship will guide you to the outcome that is best for you.
Take the Money Matters Challenge:
Imagine that you are able to save $ 10,000 to start a new business. You have the desire, and now you have the money, what will you do? Will you:
1) Take the plunge-it's what you've been waiting for
2) Decide to wait just a little longer, to save up some more money-just in case
3) Decide that you have a better use for that $ 10,000
How you answer this question will reveal much about what your next steps should be in deciding whether or not to start a business.