10 reasons why you haven’t started your business yet (and how to get past them)
You’ve been talking about starting a business forever, but (quite possibly to the increasing frustration of your friends and family) you haven’t actually done anything about it yet.
So what’s it going to take to get your business out of your dreams and into your life? To help you identify what’s stopping you – and blast away any excuses – here are the top 10 reasons why most people put off starting their businesses.
Read this list to find out what might be stopping you, so you can move past it and finally get your business off the ground.
1) You’re not really clear about what you’re selling
If someone were to ask you what your business idea was, what would you say? Can you easily sum up your concept and what you sell in a line or two? Or do you fumble for something to say – after all, you haven’t really sorted this out properly yet!
If you can’t easily convey your business ideas to someone else, how clear is it in your own mind? This lack of clarity can leave you lacking motivation to really make progress.
So take the time to hone a concise elevator pitch for your business. Or, even better, craft a mission statement that clearly defines what you do, and for who.
2) You don’t have time
We get it. Life is busy. But if you can’t set aside chunks of time to work on your business, you’ll never move it off the starting blocks.
And however busy your life is, we bet you can make time if you’re really determined to make a go of your business. When we started Talented Ladies Club we designed, built and wrote a 100-page website in just four months, while working full time as freelancers and with pre-school children.
How? By eliminating time-wasting activities and using that time to work through carefully written to-do lists. So ask yourself: what can your give up to realise your business dream? And how can you find proper chunks of time to start making progress?
One tip that works for us is to have a paper diary or weekly schedule and actually block out time when we plan to work on our business. This way you’re not tempted to fill it with other commitments, or find tasks to help you procrastinate and put off getting started.
3) You haven’t made your first sale yet
Nothing fires you up more than actually making a sale in business. But sometimes we can be so worried that no one will want what we’re selling, or it won’t be good enough, that we procrastinate and put off making that first sale.
We tell ourselves that we’re not quite ready; it’s not the right time; we just need to get the marketing right… anything to buy more time and put off making that first sale (and risking potential rejection).
But all feedback is good feedback. If someone buys straight away and loves what you do, fantastic! If they don’t buy, then what do you need to change? Your price? Your target customer? Your marketing? Your presentation? Your sales pitch? Your target audience?
And if they buy it but don’t like it, you have the opportunity to find out how you can improve your offering, and what your customers actually want.
So you see, even ‘rejection’ can be a golden opportunity to learn, and build an even stronger business with a more desirable product.
With this mindset, you don’t even need to wait until your business is 100% ready – you can start selling trial products as you are perfecting your offering, and use that as a research and development phase. If it helps you, you can even tell yourself that: you’re just getting feedback, and remove the pressure of having to sell something perfect.
Now, time to make that first sale?
4) Sales are sluggish
Perhaps you have already tried to sell your products, but have become demoralised because they’re not flying off the shelves. Then you see your competitors’ slick marketing, and imagine all the sales they’re making. After all, they’re so much better than you, aren’t they?
Maybe. And maybe not. Look, we completely get that it feels rubbish when no one is buying from you. We’ve been there! And the chances are (though they’d never publicly admit it) your competitors have too. It’s a rite of passage for most businesses.
But you know what won’t magically transform your sales? Giving up. So don’t let lacklustre sales get you down or stop you working on your business.
Instead, try to work out what may be wrong. Take a look at your marketing, your pricing, your products themselves. Try something different. Test new marketing strategies. Write a marketing plan if you don’t have one. Invest in training or coaching to fill any gaps in your skills. Nothing will change if you don’t try something new.
5) You don’t have a plan
That leads us nicely onto plans in general. And the question: do you have one? One of the first things we get entrepreneurs we work with to do is to write a business plan. Think of it as a map for your business. You can see what you’ve got, how it works, and any holes in your thinking that need to be filled.
When you have a plan, you know what actions you need to take. And when you know what actions you need to take, you can start making lists every week, and get stuff done. Stuff that pulls together to make a business. It gives you direction, motivation and, funnily enough, makes your business work.
So if you don’t already have a business plan, start one now. Just look for a free template online and full it in. It’s as easy as that! And when you’re ready to tackle them, we recommend writing marketing, sales, PR and social media plans too.
Trust us, a woman with a plan can take on the world.
6) You don’t have a goal
So what’s your business goal? Where do you want to be in one year or five years’ time?
When you have a clear goal you know where you need to get to, and can start planning a route there. But without a goal you’re left aimless. What should you work on today? And what is the point?
The entrepreneurs with real drive are the ones who have a clear vision of where they want to be, and what they want their business to look like. They’re purposeful and directed. They get things done.
So if you’re lacking purpose and direction, and are listless and unmotivated as a result, try setting yourself goals. Just make sure they’re SMART (like you!).
7) You don’t have a partner
It’s very common to see people new to the world of entrepreneurship team up with someone else to start their business. And we get it! Starting a business is lonely and tough, and it’s tempting to want to bring someone in to share the emotional and physical workload with you.
You may also believe that you need someone to fill your skills gap. Perhaps you feel envious of people going on their entrepreneurship journey together. Or you just don’t think you can do it alone.
These are all reasons people have given us for wanting to find a business partner; and in many cases put off starting their business until they find one.
But we don’t actually recommend going into business with someone else unless it really is the only way the business can work.
Why? Because starting a business is HARD. And it’s common for one business owner to have more passion and drive than another. Or to actually need the business to succeed more. They may, for example, have no plan B or side income to rely on.
And what can often happen in these scenarios is that one partner ends up shouldering more of the workload. Or wants to push the business harder or take bigger risks. And if you’re not both on the same page, and putting in an equal amount of graft, it’s easy for resentment to set in.
The more driven partner may resent their counterpart for not pulling their weight, or holding the business back. And their partner may resent them for pushing too hard, or expecting them to take more risks than they’re comfortable with.
We’ve seen too many business breakups over the years, some acrimonious and many even destroying close friendships, to believe that starting a business with a partner for the sake of it is a good idea.
So if you’re holding out for the ideal partner to get going, please let go of that fantasy! And have courage to make the leap on your own.
(Of course some business partnerships do work wonderfully, and some businesses couldn’t exist without them, but a business partner should be a necessity, not a ‘I’d really like to do this with someone.’)
8) You don’t have any money
While it’s certainly nice to have a healthy budget behind a new business, it’s certainly not essential. Many businesses (including our own) have been bootstrapped.
Self-funding your business, and starting small and lean as a result can actually be an advantage. In enables you to trim any fat off early, and learn any important mistakes on a smaller scale.
When you launch with a big budget, it’s easier to financially plug any holes in your business, or develop a business model that’s cash thirsty. But what if/when that money runs out? If your business can’t run on the money it earns, then it’s not financially viable.
So starting small is not so bad. And if you do require some outside funds to get started, you can always look at crowd funding or a startup loan. In fact, we recommend researching this right now, so you can stop letting lack of money stop you!
9) You don’t have a ‘why’
While you can usually start a business without money or a partner, you absolutely can’t start one without a why.
Your why is your reason (over and above ‘making money’) for starting your business. It’s the purpose that is the heart and sole of your business, and the one you can sense check any decisions against to ensure they’re right.
Without a why it’s not just hard to grow a thriving business, it’s virtually impossible to start one. You lack the impetus to take action, to create something out of a vacuum, and find it easier to resort to excuses and procrastination.
The right why will fill you with so much fire and impatience that you can’t NOT get started on your business! So if you don’t have a clear why, find one. And you may find yourself compelled to finally bring your business ideas to life.
10) You don’t have a team
When you’re employed you have colleagues to share your day with, to moan to, to support you, to push you on and to turn to for advice if you need it. But when you’re working on your own business you’re often alone. And it can be hard to muster enthusiasm day after day when you’re completely solo.
That’s why it’s important to find a team when you start a business. Your team can be other business owners or freelancers (one of the reasons why it’s good to work in co-working spaces), people who work for or with you on your business, or it can be a coach or business membership or networking group.
We’ve built a big team over the years. It consists of people who work for our business, a business coach and other business owners we’ve met along the way. Each of these people or groups plays an important role in keeping Talented Ladies Club moving.
In fact, we believe being part of a team is so important we created one for small business owners! TLC Team has been specially designed to contain everything you need to keep your business moving forward:
- Practical business advice and tools
- Accountability and support
- A community of friendly business owners
So if you don’t already have a team, start putting one together. You’re also very welcome to join ours.
Need help getting moving on your business? Join TLC Team
Ready to take positive action on your business? Our monthly membership club TLC Team helps motivate and support you with:
- Modules to help you make progress on specific areas of your business – every month
- Monthly live video masterclasses on topics like pricing and confidence
- Private Facebook community
- Monthly goal setting and accountability
- The option of an accountability partner
If you’re starting out in business, or need help keeping your new business on track but aren’t in a position right now to invest in business coaching, TLC Team is for you.
It gives you expert guidance on the areas of your business you need to get right, and keeps you making progress with monthly modules on specific areas of your business, and goal setting and reminder emails.
Think of it as a virtual (and much cheaper!) business coach sharing expertise and motivation to ensure you make progress every month.
Here’s what members say about TLC Team:
I have been so impressed with the modules and monthly masterclasses (webinars). They cover essential business knowledge from brand planning, sales and goal setting to social media (and more!) as well as mindset, confidence and productivity. Hannah has been great responding to queries and been very helpful. Glad I made the leap to join [TLC Team] and very excited about the future of my business. – Karen Boyd
I discovered TLC at a perfect moment in my life! (I was just at the planning stage of starting a new business.) TLC is chalk-full of information for business and life in general. The wealth of information is amazing! I am consulting their resources constantly! When I had an inquiry, Hannah responded right away! – Mary Kalava
I particularly like the monthly membership programme. It’s full of thought-provoking worksheets, challenges and monthly masterclasses to help you get ahead. I highly recommend. – Laura Gibson
TLC is a fantastic resource. Hannah is extremely personable and shares her vast knowledge. The monthly subscription to TLC Team is worth every penny – monthly resources to help you with your business, a monthly masterclass, and a private Facebook group for support. If you are looking to start or ramp up your business, this is the ideal way to do it! – Laura Harmsworth
You can find out more about TLC Team and come and join us inside here.
Photo by My Life Journal