5 Barriers to Starting Your Own Business — and How to Overcome Them

Sep 16, 2014 - Joe Matar
Have you ever dragged yourself through a meeting at work, listened to your coworkers ramble about meaningless ideas and thought to yourself, “I’m done! I can’t wait to leave this place and start my own business!” Well, it’s likely you have according to a recent study by the University of Phoenix School of Business. The study shows that nearly half of workers in their 20s and 30s want to own their own business someday. But a few common reasons keep people from taking the leap. Whether it’s lack of knowledge or lack of funding, these barriers can prevent you from reaching your full potential as an entrepreneur. Here are some of the most common ones and how to push past them to get the career of your dreams.

You lack adequate finances

Maybe you have that one big idea. You know the one -- it’s what you can’t stop thinking about every morning as you go about your hour-long commute. Maybe your idea is so big it needs investors to come to fruition or maybe it just needs the right developer, scientist or designer whose services are a bit over your budget. Once you define your big idea, it’s time to discover where the money is and figure out how you can get your hands on it. Shannon McLay, Founder & President of NextGen Financial says, One of the best ways to finance your new business venture, especially if you are having difficulty obtaining bank or SBA loans, is through angel investors like friends and family. If you truly believe in your venture, then they should as well. If you don't want to mix your personal and your business relationships, then there are a number of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter that you can access for funds.

You need more education or training to run a business

You’d be surprised how many people became accidental entrepreneurs. I’m one myself. Although there’s a lot of value in obtaining your MBA, mostly in terms of connections and networking, it’s definitely not a requirement for owning a business. John Schmoll, who owns two businesses, Ink Harmony and Frugal Rules, explains:
If you're waiting until you know everything about running a business, you'll never do anything. You don't need a business degree to run your own business. You do need to spend some time thinking through what skill, service or product you can sell or offer.
Plus, when you’re trying to gather funding or bootstrap your way to success, pricey degrees may not be the answer. As John further explained, There's an abundance of free information online about how to create a business plan and develop a marketing strategy. You can start there and answer basic, big picture questions like who your audience is, how you will reach them and why they need your product/service/skill. Also, don’t forget that failure can be a great teacher. We don’t like to think about failure, but some of the most successful people on Earth used early failures to their advantage. Jon Oringer, who is one of the youngest billionaires in the world, recently gave a speech where he described several business failures before hitting it big with Shutterstock. Don’t be afraid to fail. Know it’s a possibility and try to avoid it, but don’t be scared if it happens because you never know where it will lead.

You don’t have the time

It’s amazing how much time we’re capable of wasting every day. From getting lost on social media to lounging in front of the TV, we could all think of a handful of times in the last week where we could have been more productive. Despite this, 22 percent of people who want to own a business say a lack of time is stopping them. Whether family commitments or exhaustion from full-time work is weighing on you, there are many ways to find those rare moments to work on your business idea. Grayson Bell, a successful entrepreneur and owner of iMark Interactive explains:
Owning a business is not about “finding” time to make it successful. It is about managing the time you already have to be the most efficient.  While we may feel there isn't enough time in the day, if you prioritize your tasks based on importance, then you can learn how to manage the time you have available.

You haven’t found the right idea or concept

Maybe you’ve always wanted to start a business, but you can’t come up with an idea for one. (Or annoyingly, some guy in the next state over had the same one!) Conversely, maybe you have too many ideas and don’t know which one to pursue. If you’re having trouble creating ideas, try a new field, work on something that “bugs you,” talk to consumers to discover what they need or reinvent the wheel by making an existing product cheaper or more streamlined. (Click here to tweet this idea.) If you have too many ideas, choose the one that gets you so excited you can’t sleep at night. Many people make the mistake of picking the idea that seems the most lucrative, but when it’s late at night and you’ve already put in 100 hours for the week, it’ll be easier to keep going if you’re working on something you’re truly passionate about.

You need to develop leadership skills

Leadership skills are acquired through experience, and Joe Saul-Sehy, co-host of the popular Stacking Benjamins podcast and former financial planner, echoed this sentiment when he told me, I don’t believe that leadership skills are innate. Anyone can learn to be a good leader. How? First, create a vision that’s big enough for employees to share in the “win” and continuously show them the route to your combined success. Even if you’re an experienced leader who wants to start a new venture but lacks the confidence, Joe suggests:
Sharpen your “leadership saw” by learning from the best of all time... such as Walt Disney, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Sam Walton and Warren Buffett. You have to carve out time to consistently practice. That’s how you’ll see your leadership skills develop.
Ultimately, the most significant barrier to starting your own business could be you. Remember, believe in yourself first and have an unending passion for your venture, and the support and funding will follow. Carve out the necessary time to focus on your business ideas. Be kind and compassionate to others, continuously seek out new (and affordable) education and resources, and you’ll be surprised at how far you can go as an entrepreneur. Have you ever wanted to start a business, but were met with one of the barriers listed above? What did you do to break through it? Catherine Alford is a full time blogger, personal finance freelance writer, and mom of newborn twins. She writes about how to balance life and a budget all across the web including her own site, Budget Blonde.