We live in an incredibly entrepreneurial age and everywhere you look, there are articles out there telling you to go forth and start a business! But the truth is, not everyone should start a business. If more of the 80 percent of small businesses that fail had hesitated and considered why they were getting into business, there would probably be fewer businesses and more successes in those that did exist. So if you are thinking about making this life-changing decision any of these reasons ring true, you should hold back on becoming an entrepreneur – it probably isn’t right for you:
- You’re running away from something
You hate your job, and know you could do a much better job than your boss running a company like this. Or you’re not doing well in your performance reviews, but you assume it’s everyone else’s fault but yours. The idea of starting a business is heaven, you’d call the shots, and you could get away from whatever is troubling you. Not a good reason. You need to run toward entrepreneurship if you want to succeed. Otherwise, you’re just hiding from your problems and creating more, since your reasons for starting a business are shaky at best.
- You want control
Are you a control freak looking for a way to have more control of your work life? The kitchen has to be cleaned a particular way, and if a project at work isn’t up to snuff, you make your staff do it again. Running your own business, you would have total control over everything … or not. Starting a business can actually make you feel less in control. You can’t control when customers pay you, or even if they want to buy your product. You can’t force your employees to do things to your crazy expectations. If being in control is your motivation to start a business, you might need to think again.
- You think starting a business will make you a millionaire
There’s this glamorous haze over starting a business, and I just don’t know where it comes from. A few success stories have put stars in people’s eyes and made them think they can easily start a business and become super rich. Think of the average small business: do you think your plumber is rolling in it? What about the shoe store on the corner? Millionaire entrepreneurs exist, but they’re rare. You seriously need to readjust your expectations.
- You want to be in the spotlight
You’re sick of seeing other entrepreneurs in the news, and know that you could get just as much attention … if only you were a successful entrepreneur like them. But don’t kid yourself, it takes years of hard work and dedication, not to mention a great PR team, to get to this level. Once you start pitching the media, you’ll quickly find out they don’t care about you and your brand.
- You want to spend more time with your family
Starting your own business often means that your time is even more pressured. In order to create a successful small business you need to dedicate a lot of time and energy and there is obviously also the added economic pressure of making sure that you are providing for your family. It’s few who have mastered having time and money in running a business. Plus, if you’re working from home to spend time with the kids, this is not as glamorous as it sounds and will mean that you won’t be able to focus on your business fully.
- Your brother or best friend wants to go into business with you
He’s got a great idea, and he wants you on board. Problem is, you disagree about everything. But you both have big eyes about all the money you can make that you’re overlooking that obvious obstacle. Going into business with a family member or friend can work, but you need to be good partners before that point.
- You’re passionate, but have no direction
Many of us have something that we are passionate about and would love to make our living doing. But not every passion can be turned into a business, especially if you don’t have a clue how to run a business or market it. Yes, these are skills you can pick up on your own, but you need to ask yourself if there are other ways you can fulfill that passion other than disrupting your life, reducing your income, and increasing your stress.
- You assume you can get a bank loan
You only have 1-2 years’ worth of personal and business expenses set aside in your savings account, but you’re confident you can get a small business loan. Don’t be so sure: banks are often reluctant to bankroll new, unproven businesses, which means if you just quit your job, you might want to call your old boss back.
- All you have is a really amazing idea
Or at least, you think it’s amazing. You haven’t run it by anyone or done any market research to see if people will actually pay for it, but you’re sure they will! You’re setting up your own demise if you start a business without even knowing who will buy your product.
Starting a business isn’t something to be taken lightly. It’s a major life decision, and one you need to be able to see through for the foreseeable future. This article is not about discouraging entrepreneurship, just about making sure you go in with your eyes open. Manage your expectations about when you’ll make your first million, and realise that it’s going to take a lot of sweat, persistence, and patience to grow it and you will give yourself a much better chance of success.