If you constantly focus on what ‘could’ go wrong, you’ll never take your business off the ground
Do you want to start your own company but are hesitant to do so? Risk is an inherent part of life, and there will always be excuses. In the preliminary stages of each of my entrepreneurial endeavours, I encountered some form of the following myths. But I relied on the advice of one of my mentors, “Just say yes and figure it out later,” and pressed forward anyway. I have been rewarded by continual growth in each of my three companies.
Here are five myths potentially holding you back, and what you can do about them.
“It’s not the right time”
Realise that there is never a right time to strike out on your own and create a company. If you keep waiting, there will always be some sort of impediment. Just prior to starting Sin City Cupcakes, I closed on my first owner-occupied house. People close to me questioned my timing and asked me to strongly consider waiting. So much in life is timing, and had I waited to start the company in the latter end of the year instead of in the beginning, our press exposure would have been significantly different based on the environment and unique changes happening in Las Vegas at the time.
Keep action and forward momentum at the forefront of your plans. Immediately start collaborating and reaching out to various outlets and brands as soon as you launch. Have faith that your abilities will match your plans and don’t wait. Just as with swimming, if you stay still in your business life you’ll drown.
“I’m waiting for inspiration”
The painter Chuck Close said it best: “Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.”
In my experience, ideas grow organically. Concepts have literally resulted from the sheer process of considering an idea, rejecting it, modifying it and then reconsidering it. Frankly, baking alcohol-infused cupcakes, touring multi-million dollar homes and distributing luxury swimsuits are not my three passions in life, but what I do thrive on is working with people, selling a product and the challenge of growing and building a brand.
“I need to find investors”
Funding for your new company can come from a variety of sources and doesn’t have to be limited to just one. Bank loans and investors are generally the easiest go-to’s, but there’s bootstrapping and self-funding that are just as viable and sometimes better options.
I started my first company from a liquidated 401K and a no-interest loan from my parents. We ran operations extremely lean and I didn’t take owner distributions for the first two years. I poured everything back into the business and leveraged the excess funds I was entitled to into my second company.
Multiple streams of revenue are key to legacy wealth building. Borrowed money and/or loss of company equity is ideal only if you are 100 per cent certain that you need to scale quickly. If you are unsure of scalability, it’s okay to start small, bootstrap funds and let your company grow organically.
“I need a business plan”
A business plan is simply your concept fleshed out in further detail. Of course, having one can be helpful, but it is certainly not compulsory. The fastest way to get going is to get started.
My business plans generally start with a large ream of butcher paper. I learned this trick during law school. Purchase butcher paper and tape a large sheet in an area that you frequent every day. For me, it’s my makeup vanity.
After researching the background of companies similar to the one I had an idea or concept for, I would issue-spot to see if I could fix their challenges. I would then write out concepts, ideas, potential challenges and potential successes on the butcher paper and continue to extrapolate themes further until I boiled them down to basic concepts and calls to action. Turn the idea of building a business plan into a modified “do” and “do-not-do” list.
“I would have to quit my current job to start my own company”
I am living proof that it is entirely possible to pursue multiple ventures all at the same time. When I started my first company, I was still working full-time at a law firm. I continued this lifestyle for an additional one and a half years until circumstances allowed me to leverage my first company into starting the second. Of course, there were long days and longer nights, but my co-founder and I thrived in it. That journey helped me learn immensely about myself, my limitations and my capabilities, allowing me to see and plan a few steps ahead. I’m a better business person for it.
Several years ago, I worked seven days a week. Today, I also work seven days a week, but now all of it is for myself. Believe me, if I can do it, you can do it too.
Lisa Song Sutton, J.D., is a real estate investor and serial entrepreneur, holding ownership interests in several companies in the real estate, retail and food & beverage sectors, including the popular alcohol-infused bakeshop: Sin City Cupcakes. In addition to her professional careers, Ms. Sutton is a contributing writer for various business publications and is actively involved in her community as a former Miss Nevada United States 2014. She has volunteered with numerous charitable organizations and currently serves on the board of the Fundamental Elements Foundation, which supports facilitating help to women and children in their time of need.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organisation comprising world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship programme that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
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