When you’re an entrepreneur, like all things in life, it’s just as important to know what not to do as understand what you should do. You’ve heard it time and time again, accurate or not, 80 or 90 percent of all small businesses fail (depending on which study you’re citing) and there are a lot of really “good” reasons why they fail. Maybe the founder hired too many dreamers and not enough doers, maybe the economy tanked, or maybe the timing just wasn’t right. However, there are also a lot of really ridiculous and avoidable reasons why small businesses may fail. It’s not easy to start a successful business.
The vast majority of people aren’t cut out to be entrepreneurs, CEOs and founders. The reality is that the American dream is more of a rarity than often supposed, and it takes a unique combination of the right person hiring the right people for the right idea at the right time to make it work. Unfortunately, a lot of people only see starting a business as an “easy” way to get rich quick.
Here are some of the worst reasons to start a business:
1. It seems easier and more enjoyable than working for the man
Why work for a horrible boss when you could work for yourself? Starting a business solely because you hate your boss, career, or a certain job will almost certainly set you up for failure. This is a move often made impulsively and steeped in being fed up and overwhelmed at your job. That’s not a good foundation for a business venture, and things often get rushed in the process (like a solid, well thought out business plan.)
2. You want to get rich quick
Starting a business is the last thing you want to do if getting rich quick is the dream. Most successful businesses don’t turn a profit for the first few years—just take a look at Amazon and other slow but steady success stories. That’s why it’s so critical to have a big nest egg saved before taking your first entrepreneurial step. Even if your business is “successful,” most entrepreneurs are never “rich.”
3. You have a lot of passion—and nothing else
Yes, being passionate with a great degree of energy to contribute to your venture can help make it more likely to succeed, but you won’t be successful with love alone. You also need ambition, drive, business sense, and the ability to see a clear path of turning what you love into a marketable venture. If passion alone were enough to create a success story, every comic book store would be on par with Barnes & Noble in its heyday.
4. You want to look like a success
Whether it’s to impress a romantic interest, your classmates during your high school reunion, or your parents, starting a business because it looks impressive is a sure fire way to fail. It’s really easy to call yourself an entrepreneur (kind of like, it’s really easy to call yourself a writer, artist, (said, "arteest," in this instance), actor, and the like.) However, there’s a catch: You’re really only an entrepreneur if the vast majority of your income comes from your entrepreneurial venture that you’ve created.
There are many good reasons to start a business, but also a lot of, well, stupid ones. Make sure you’re blazing a trail for the right reasons and you’re equipped with savvy strategies. Otherwise, it could end up being a costly and embarrassing flop.