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Afraid of success

I'm not sure if this is my problem but I always wanted to start a business.  I don't do it because... well I don't really have a reason.  I don't know if it's because I fear failure or success or some other reason.  How do I determine and overcome this handicap?  Maybe it is anxiety?  It drives me crazy.  Maybe I am just lazy.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

I've done the research to start a business a dozen times, each time with a different premise, but I'm always certain by the end that the idea will fail, and I'm just not very business savvy anyway.

muppet from
Sunday, June 27, 2004

I think that the key to starting a business, like any other problem solving, is to do it incrementally (iteratively).

E.g., do it in pieces, where each piece validates the whole concept.


1. Find out what your potential customer needs.

2. Build a prototype. See if you can please ONE customer (at least).  If you can sell it to ONE customer, then you can probably sell it to MORE customers.

3. Figure out how to repeat #2 for more customers.  (E.g., marketing, sales, etc.). The good news, is that this is already a solved problem. The bad news is that most of the solutions don't work very well (lots of bad marketing advice out there).

Mr. Analogy
Sunday, June 27, 2004

Whatever you choose to do in business, make sure you write a business plan before doing anything else. It will help you determine whether your idea is viable, crystalize your goals, and it will give you an exit strategy.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

You can be in business without starting a business.  You can buy a failing business, or even a decent one, and work with it.  Some people do quite well at this, and it saves you the trouble of coming up with an idea.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Start small is not always the way to go.

Look at the history of Fedex as an example.

Monday, June 28, 2004

I think the key is not to allow yourself to realize how likely you are to fail.  Pretty much every succesful small busness I've worked with, if you had looked at the idea when they started, you would have said that there was no way it would work, yet 6 years later they end up being a major (local) player in the market.

Steve Barbour
Monday, June 28, 2004

You should start a business when you feel confortable that:

a) it's what you want to do with your life,
b) you have some indication it will succeed.

Create a business plan, mull over it for a couple of months and if it still sounds as exciting to you as it did when you first wrote it then it probably has legs to run.

Something else: remain calm and think of your business from a customer perspective *at all times* -- at every minute of your day you should ask yourself: "if I was a potential customer, why would I give my money to this company".

Best of luck,

--Nuno (

Monday, June 28, 2004

Fear of the unknown is what's holding you back, but if you identify the worst possible outcome you'll realize that if it happens it's not so bad.

Ask yourself this question "What's the worst possible thing that can happen if it fails?"

Probably the worst is that you'll be out some money, so don't gamble more than you can afford to lose. OTOH it will be an educational experience and almost any education is expensive.

Tom H
Monday, June 28, 2004

My wife is in the process of starting a small business.  She worked at it for about 4 months before there was *any* revenue and another 2 months before she had a (monthly) profit.

You have to make a plan that has some definite measurable goals.  Therfore, you can take measured risks along the way and never risk more than you're willing to.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet.
-- Horace

(He who feared he would not succeed sat still.)

Monday, June 28, 2004

Just took the plunge, and for me the hardest part was the first step ... cutting the cord to the mother ship.  I had a great relationship with my former employer, worked hard, liked the work (most of it) and liked our clients (most of them).  They (my REGULAR salary) paid for my kid's school, my house, everything.  It was VERY difficult to walk in and give two weeks notice. 

That all being said, I've been on my own for about three weeks.  No business has closed, but some very good relationships and prospects for consulting work are in place.  I expect some revenue "soon", although probably nowhere near what I was making before.

I echo the sentiments of others here... have a plan or at least a solid, well thought out, implementable idea.  If in the same area that you work now, ask an existing client that you trust and that trusts you if your idea has any merit.  Plan on no revenue for several months.  Realize that expenses don't stop, including healthcare costs, mortgage, school clothes, whatever ...

If after doing all that thinking / planning you can convince yourself, your spouse, your kids and the rest of your family that you're
    a) not insane, and
    b) that "it" is a good idea,
it's time to think about starting a business.

Good luck.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Also, there's the vague idea of "I'd like to own a business" as compared to the clear idea of "I see a hole in what's being provided, and I know how to fill that hole."  Don't start a business just to start one.  Have a clear product or service in mind, and commit to it completely.  Don't go halfway on it - go as much all-out as you can.  If you are afraid of an interruption in pay, do it part-time, but don't look at it as "something in your spare time" because that lets you relegate it to below other things.  It's a part time job you now have, and when it starts paying you enough per hour that if you did it full time you could pay your bills, then it's time to quit your other job and devote 40+ hours a week to it.

Don't bother incorporating until you hit that point.  You might think it would be good to have the framework in place in advance, but unless you have capital handy and the willingness to do it full time from day one, the paperwork alone will annoy the crap out of you.

Aaron F Stanton
Monday, June 28, 2004

Just take 3% of the advice provided by most pop business books and dive in. For example: 

* Don't make 50 page plans, have a sheet of where you were, where you are going, what you want to see.

* Less talk and case studies, pay attention to the unique problems found in your business, if there's good examples great, but really think about whether you can apply cookie cutter solutions to your unique business problems.

* Don't borrow, make every action count and profitable.

Monday, June 28, 2004

No business ends up as forseen in the first place.

Get in and move forward. If you have to do it, you'll see that you have a lot of "undiscovered" resources in you;

Not for the faint of heart of course. But I would  never go back !

Philippe Back
Monday, June 28, 2004

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