Have a great business idea, but are uncertain whether you’re prepared to take on the responsibility of starting and managing your own company? Here are a few common obstacles preventing people from becoming entrepreneurs, and reasons why those reservations may or may not be justifiable.
You’re strapped for time
You might be surprised to learn that starting, marketing and managing your small business can be done even when you have other responsibilities on your plate. Entrepreneur offered advice for busy people who are interested in opening a business, and shared the story of a woman who built a successful enterprise designing wedding dresses while balancing the responsibilities of being a new mother.
“Do I keep going with the company or not, because I’m about to have the baby?” designer Angela Broyles asked herself. “And I decided to go with it.”
If you’re worried about being overwhelmed by the additional responsibilities of starting a small business, Entrepreneur recommended finding an extra pair of hands. Broyles lessened her workload by hiring an unpaid intern, and becoming “super-organized.” You can increase your productivity and time management by investigating one of the many programs aimed at organizing your schedule and responsibilities.
You don’t know where to begin
Fortunately, you don’t need an MBA to learn how to start your own small business. State and local economies can benefit by increasing the number of local companies, and often offer free or subsidized classes to assist those who are interested in starting one. Cities across the U.S. host workshops for people like you who have great ideas but limited experience planning and executing the steps necessary to turn that dream into a reality.
Check online for courses in your area that can help jump-start your business-building process. For people who are already well on their way to becoming small business owners, but would like further information about marketing strategies for small businesses or branding your business, similar classes may also be available and a cost-efficient way to learn about sustaining your enterprise.
People with more time and financial flexibility may consider abbreviated MBA-like courses, a new trend recently covered by the Wall Street Journal. According to the news source, the classes run between two and nine months long at discounted rates, and offer an affordable option for students and those seeking alternatives to traditional MBA programs, which typically last 2-3 years and can cost tens of thousands of dollars per semester. The condensed coursework focuses on specific, relevant topics like local lead generation for small businesses or managing a remote workforce, and has gained popularity among people looking to jump-start their own companies.
You’d have to dip into retirement for startup funds
Starting a business certainly requires capital, but if you’re considering taking money out of your IRA or 401(k) in order to fund entrepreneurial plans, you might want to think again. According to USA Today, baby boomers are becoming small business owners at record rates, and a growing number are dipping into retirement savings for the financial backing required. Experts in small business management, however, caution retirees against leveraging their IRA or 401(k) in these pursuits.
“You’d be surprised at the amount of people who see the IRA or 401(k) as a savings account,” financial planner Mark VandeVelde told USA Today. “That is a dangerous approach. It is a tremendous amount of risk.”
To fund a small business without jeopardizing your retirement savings, Kiplinger recommends researching business loans through a bank or your state or local economic development offices. Although not risk-free, these options can offer greater security for your personal savings and future retirement.
Do you have entrepreneurial plans that you’ve put on pause? What’s stopping you from starting your own small business?