In the past week I have been frustrated by entrepreneur wannabes who are enjoying the planning phase just a little bit too much. They figure that they can feel like they’re real entrepreneurs by simply talking about their yet-to-be business without ever actually getting down to starting the business and making it real. In fact, I know at least several of these wannabes who have been talking about their business for at least two years with nothing to show for it except a business plan. Some of them have entered (and in some cases won) one or more of the ubiquitous business plan competitions that seem to be a mainstay of every university or college on the planet. Still, they don’t have a business.
What’s the problem here? Well, I’m not a psychologist, but several things come to mind: fear of failure, fear of commitment, need for security. The list could go on and on but the common problem is failure to launch. This week one entrepreneur in waiting told me that he might take a full-time engineering job to fund his business and avoid having to take angel investment capital because he didn’t want to give up a big piece of his non-existent company. The reason that this is so ridiculous is that people really want to invest in his company! He actually has a great concept and a patented product that solves a real problem.
If you find yourself making excuses for why you haven’t yet started your business, maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you really WANT to start a business. Opportunity waits for no one. Entrepreneurs know this, so they know when to stop planning and start moving–get traction. Stop planning when you’ve answered the basic questions that you answer in a feasibility analysis:
What problem am I solving?
How big is the problem?
Who is the customer?
What is the benefit I’m delivering?
How am I delivering that benefit?
Is my product/service ready to go?
How much capital will it take to start this business and operate it to a positive cash flow?
If you can answer these questions, it’s time to get started, at least in a small way to test your concept. Don’t waste any more time.