You want the truth? No one is born with everything it takes to be an entrepreneur. That sort of nerve is a choice. The raw materials might be there—determination, grit, faith—but it’s a person’s choice how or if they want to develop them. Entrepreneurship is a wild ride, emotionally, financially, psychologically, and yes, even physically, especially when you consider how many businessmen have ulcers. Speaking of ulcers, you could say entrepreneurship is a lot like marriage: anyone can have a try at it, but before you take the plunge there are a lot of things to consider. In starting a business, you want to find the right field, the right means, and the right time.
Selecting a field is like choosing a college degree—there are so many emphases and specialties you may not have been aware of, yet it is precisely in one of these corners you may find your niche. Say you want to be a baker. Shall you open a bakery and eatery? It’s a long legal road of trademarks, permits and licenses, lease agreements, insurance contracts, calls to the health department and health inspectors, etc… It’s a long road, but if it’s what you want then there’s no reason on God’s green earth why you shouldn’t try. But maybe you’d prefer something else. You might buy a franchise or become a supplier to other bakeries or simply deliver straight to your customers’ doors. You might decide to start an online video channel or blog, where you discuss recipes in depth, chronicle each experiment and engage with your viewers.
The possibilities are as wide as your imagination, and it’s that way for any industry, from mechanical biology, to music publishers, to software engineering. But let’s say, you’ve found your niche, that perfect angle which gives your work or product the best possible chance of success and you the greatest satisfaction. Next, you have to find the right means and tools to start the wheels turning. That might be an investor, a small-business loan, or grandma’s savings. In other blogs we will delve into the pros and cons of each of these, including what grandpa might have to say.
The one thing that moves mountains more than any other is persistence. Don’t take “no” for an answer. I was turned out by five banks before I finally found someone willing to invest in my idea. Push and keep pushing. And if you don’t find it in one place, keep looking. Pound the pavement. Don’t give up. If you believe in yourself and in your idea, you’ll find someone who will, too.
And finally, timing. Timing is key to everything. It may mean that you get a hold of an investor exactly on that morning when he is willing listen, or that you announce the opening of your business precisely when the world is ready to receive it. It’s the one aspect over which we have the least control. But we do have some. The trick is not to worry about. Just be sensitive and know that the right time will come. In 1960 the Old Vic in London was showing Romeo and Juliette, directed by Franco Zefirelli and starring a young Judy Dench as Juliette. In one scene, Juliette made her entrance and asked the Nurse, “Where are my mother and father, Nurse?” From the audience came a cry, “Here we are, darling, in Row G!” True. But not the best timing.
Business is not for the faint of heart, and I’d be a liar if I didn’t warn anyone that no matter how much you plan, there will be pitfalls. The ups will carry you into the stratosphere and the downs will hit when you least expect them. But it’s worth it. Nobody marries to divorce, and nobody starts a business looking for bankruptcy, yet those things may come. But you can’t let the fear of them stop you. If you’re afraid of divorce, you might never marry, and if you’re afraid of losing, you’ll never win.