Why businesses don’t get started.

Dreaming of starting a businessOver the years I’ve had friends that have talked about starting their own business but never got around to it. More recently I’ve also had hundreds of entrepreneurs contact me about various aspects of either starting a business, or making a significant change to an existing business to move it to a higher level of activity, but then not done so.

It’s been a puzzle, because not all of these were due to lack of finance, or capability. Many of these people had money, were well qualified and experienced at what they wanted to do. So what was going on here?

The first observation I had was that quite a lot of them were individuals, rather than those with business partners. Even the ones in businesses already started, were often founder/directors of the business, with limited additional leadership in the company.

It makes quite a difference in committing to get actions done, if you know that you have a business partner who will be chasing you.  It was one of the reasons that we set up Company Partners, in order to allow individuals to find a business partner to start or grow a business with.

But it’s become apparent that there is also a “psychological” aspect to why people just dream about starting their own company, or committing to the big change that will push their fledgling business forward.

While it’s a dream it’s warm and fuzzy. You can go to sleep at night thinking about how your life can change for the better, fantasise about the great time you’ll have when your business takes off. How your friends and family will admire you. It’s very comforting.

But as soon as you take the plunge into the cold waters of reality, starting a business may be a nightmare. You’ll have difficult decisions to make, it might not work out.

The result is that for many, the warm and fuzzy dream becomes preferable, even if unconsciously.

Sometimes to make significant changes we have to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and just do it.

9 thoughts on “Why businesses don’t get started.

  1. subhash

    You have rightly put it.People want to start a business.But when it comes to taking action and getting off the ground ,they seem to go into state of mental paralysis.They feel they are at crossroads and do not know which one of the four directions to take at the end of which is their supposed destination called successlies.They all seem to enjoy the dream,like you said,rather than the real stuff.This mental block has to be first addressed to become an entrepreneur.Entrepreneurship is a great responsibility as you carry on your shoulders a burden of other people who are with you and dependent on you.Also toward the people who fund the enterprise.

  2. marco

    I understand that the investor and the entrepreneur does not have a clear idea.
    Maybe the stock market has given a bad perception to the market making business.
    What advice, what strategies might be useful to interact optimally between an investor and an entrepreneur?

  3. Malcolm Red

    you need a partner(s). no man can make it alone. those that appear to have done so dont count their silent or unoffical partners (wife, family, best friend) who service, push and help you.

  4. Mark

    I guess some people have the Strategic and Operational capability and even some funds to invest but haven’t yet thought of or been presented with the right business opportunity for them!!.Lets not be scared to network with like minded individuals and groups and create collaborative profitable relationships!

  5. Sean Langford

    It takes a lot of tenacity, initiative and resourcefulness to set up a company & an investor. What’s the point in giving up at the first setback or just dreaming away about the revenue you can generate. I have learnt so much since I started to set my own company up. Just doing things for yourself that cuts down the startup amount like making your own letterhead, website design, learning about business writing, how to write proposals and basically getting off your arse and walking around local businesses in the freezing rain and snow to raise letters of tender. Its all a big learning curve that gives you skills to survive stormy times once you have set up your company. I have gone from being turned down outright, for my startup, to not getting the funds on a technicality and now I have been accepted for funding but need to find a set up fee which I don’t have. So now what do I do? I remain as productive as I possibly can. While I am looking for the money for the setup fee I continue to pursue another source for the startup and I think I may have found an even better source which doesn’t require a set up fee. In the meantime I am also developing 2 of my products at the same time so my time is managed as productive as I possibly can be and I think that this is a key to starting a successful company.

    Kind Regards,

    Sean Langford.

  6. Jayne Smith

    Excellent advice given, finding it very difficult to find investment for something I know will succeed, but I have researched the product and the market and not prepared to give up with something that I am convinced will be a huge success.

  7. Bradley Porter - SaneChoice

    This is something I have encountered first hand – whether I worked on a client site or investing time in my own business, I tended to be somewhat of an Island in the way that I worked.  At the start of a new project, this style seemed to work extremely well and enabled me to be focused and get the idea off the ground.  However, I noticed that I could only go so far on my own before running into hurdles and mental barriers over what to do next.  Having a partner and a good team can give you the steer and next step you need to progress.

  8. Education Tay

    My own situation of starting a business was the correct time and a few other factors. I am well educated and qualified for the business activity I will be starting on 1st March 2010 and I know will take time to grow. Just finished another higher degree in Management Studies I was busy and did not want to get distracted towards my goal of finishing the studies I was doing. 45 years young next week I have had he idea of an education related business in my head for sometime, and of course I have recently been a teacher/lecturer.

    I have no hesitation to start myself, self motivated and little outgoings, or more of these someone else may have. Depending on a persons situation may deter that person from starting a business and many other factors.

  9. Bill Aitch

    Some days when I am really attempting to make some form of progress, I can feel extremely lonely in an overcrowded room. No one has the urge or time, to even listen, let alone understand me & my plans.

    I am normally surrounded by 1 of 2 types:

    A/. I oft find myself drowning in the completely illiterate/innumerate whom I constantly hope to assist, but they have the greatest problem simply attempting any form of survival, & are therefore not to be confused as suitable business partners. I tutor/mentor Deaf/Blind, in the hope that they will learn British Sign Language from me. They are not stupid, & the ability to communicate, & express themselves, improves their life tremendously. Tied to this, both strictly as a hobby, I tutor/mentor the barely literate/numerate, oft dyslexic, etc, in basic BSL. After the first few weeks, I attempt to introduce the Deaf/Blind alphabet, to compliment the pure Deaf version. Some NHS, & other care industry personnel, are not even fully literate in basic English, which slows progress to a crawl.

    Did I pick a crazy hobby?

    B/. The 2nd type whom I rub shoulders with are extremely arrogant civil service, & other security personnel, fully literate/numerate, oft with a completely irrelevant PhD, otherwise completely devoid of any skill, & certainly not outward bound. Such people have no wish to learn,or indulge in, anything other than completely superfluous admin. They are purely control freaks, therefore no use to man, beast, fool or even ornament as any form of partner. Most appear to run on Pink Gin, or some other form of booze/nicotine, which they can mostly ill afford.

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