Where are the Entrepreneurs?

Photo (CC) Bruce Berrien, on Flickr

Photo (CC) Bruce Berrien, on Flickr

Thanks to Connie Hancock and Becky Vogt of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln for the idea and background material for this blog post. 

If you have been paying attention to the news over the last year or more, there has been a ongoing discussion of how there is a decreasing number of small business start-ups.  This trend may be seeing some signs of change, but the trend is concerning given how small businesses are the lynch pin in our economic engine. Just think of how many key businesses in your life are small businesses. This is true in urban areas and even more correct as you move to rural areas.

A Gallop study found several reasons for why people are not starting businesses. Forty-nine percent indicated that they didn’t know where to start. Prospective owners also feared that their lack of knowledge in running a business would be a hurdle

Survey respondents, 84%, also indicated that they liked the security of a steady income, and although not shown in this study, other work has shown people shy away from business ownership because of the loss of fringe benefits.

Other indicated that they did not have the savings necessary to start a business. It does take money to get started. And it takes even more money to make it through the lean first years. It is often said that you estimate your cash needs and then you should double or triple that number to get to an amount you actually will need.

And there is another group worried about the odds of success, 49%, and the competition, 28%.

Yet as you examine the list, there is a clear theme that runs through it. None of these items are insurmountable. The skills of being a business owner can be acquired by the owner (plus the owner can also hire needed skills). In terms of business financing, history is full of stories on how businesses have started using very few dollars being very frugal or bootstrapping instead.

Regarding the risk, potential business owners can minimize the risk by careful planning. Admittedly you can’t eliminate the risk. And the odds may be against you, but individuals who have the passion will start. It’s understanding what drives you and then looking for how that drive can fill a niche in the market.

Potential business owners can decrease their risk and eliminate some of their questions about how to start and run a business by accessing the vast variety of resources available to help small business owners. PowerofBusiness is one such effort. We are focused on small, often rural, business owners.

There are also resources such as the Small Business Administration, SCORE, and Small Business Development Centers. Plus most states have some type of program as do many colleges and universities.

As you can see that while there seem to be many hurdles, there are ways of removing them or, at least, minimizing them.

Starting a business can be a scary thing, no doubt. But ask most business owners and they will tell you they are glad they made the decision. Make your plans and then take the leap. As Shia LaBeouf once said, “Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”

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