A quick trip to Youtube and Instagram will automatically present you with influencers telling you to chase your dreams and shoot for the stars. “If not now, when?” they ask. Although it’s true that you figure out many things in the journey itself rather than on the onset of a vision, it’s also equally true that this isn’t just a walk to the plant store.
Your decision to build a business, no matter how small, could mean working on the same venture for years on end—maybe even for the rest of your life, if you’re lucky. If you want to be sustainable, you should have a solid game plan and a secure sense of self.
Think about it: why do you want to establish a brand? Why is the idea of a startup so enticing to you?
Now, your answer can range from principles involving a revolutionary change to wanting to make a sizeable amount of money. But even so, why establish these things with and through a startup? Why are any of these goals important to you?
Don’t limit your answer to changing the world and regular business goals. Think about your personal welfare, as well. Consider recognition, wealth, respect, growth, and societal impact. Keep asking these questions, and you’re more likely to better understand yourself. For example, if your primary answer to the question why is to build wealth, ask yourself what your financial end goal is.
Once you’re well-acquainted with your why, determining your how becomes much easier. For instance, the first exercise can reveal that, while you envision yourself running an impactful startup, showing up to an office daily isn’t what you enjoy. This awareness will help you understand your bigger picture, and perhaps lead you to a business venture that lasts through investment and delegation, instead.
Once you’ve established your internal rationale for things, you can then figure out what factors are stopping you from pursuing your goals. What usually happens is, people dwell on a business concept for months or years then arrive at a conclusion to finally do it. Once they do, they end up quitting as soon as the first big iceberg collides with their ship. Then they go on to say, “I went for it, but it just didn’t work out.”
The truth is, a lot of business-minded folks only pursue ventures to get it out of their heads. Once it’s out of the way and they can finally use the at-least-I-tried card, they then proceed to whatever it is they’re comfortable doing. This philosophy is mainly anchored on a failure to acknowledge one’s why and how.
Following through an idea doesn’t happen overnight, and requires more than just your time and a few thousand bucks. It’s a tedious process that involves a lot of self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-confidence. If you run a business based on your mood, free time, and peer pressure, best believe it isn’t going to last. The first step is to acknowledge what you struggle with the most. For instance, if you’ve been planning on launching a no-code app with bubble.io, list the main reasons why you feel like you’re not ready yet.
I don’t have enough money.
I don’t have people I can fully trust with my vision.
I don’t have a whole lot of time on my hands.
Clearly, all of these are valid concerns. But the truth is, our initial reasons aren’t always what stops us from going for our startups of choice. Many times, there are bigger reasons we don’t want to talk about or simply are unaware of just yet.
In one study conducted by a business expert, more than 300 aspiring business leaders stated that their main roadblocks were fear of failure, insufficient time, and lack of funding. But upon closer inspection, many of these budding entrepreneurs later cited many other reasons for not starting yet. Others mentioned the fear of failing a partner, while others confessed to not being smart or brilliant enough to pull off an elaborate project.
Think about the reasons and hurdles that are keeping you from putting a foot forward. You’ll know if you’re being honest with yourself if you have solutions that make you feel giddy and make you want to start immediately. Otherwise, launching a business may not have been your real why, to begin with.
Still, you’re not obliged to find out solutions by yourself. If one of your biggest fears is the fear of failing—which can, clearly, negatively impact many people in your life—talk to your partner and determine a scenario where failing may not be the worst thing that can happen. This can reduce immediate expectations of success, and help you make braver and bolder decisions.
If one of your roadblocks involves hiring key employees and making big decisions, ask a mentor to help you out. Again, you don’t have to do these things alone, all at once. There are many digital experts and experienced business leaders who can help you with ideation, marketing, and recruitment. Let seasoned entrepreneurs help you out.
In all of this, remember your solutions to these challenges should be enduring. In other words, conquering a slice of your hurdles just to get started isn’t your green light. You have to lay out a blueprint detailing all the possible scenarios and embrace every possibility. You’ll know when you’re prepared to take on the CEO startup role when you’re both vulnerably honest and confident with your why and how.