Small Business Development Center

Failure to Launch


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Failure to Launch


Authored by: Eric Grimstead

Have you ever met someone who has been dreaming about starting a business for years, yet for some reason (or multiple reasons) they have just failed to launch?

What I've noticed in many people who say they want to start a new they get stuck in the tiny moments of feeling overwhelmed, caught in indecision and inaction. What follows are some tips to encourage those dreamers to finally take action.

How to Overcome Your Fears And Finally Get Around to Starting a New Venture

Feeling overwhelmed: 
The key to overcoming this sticking point is to break down seemingly large and overwhelming tasks into bite sized chunks. Once broken down into manageable chunks you simply need to pick one bite-sized piece, one tiny action, and just start. Remember the old saying, 'Rome wasn't built in a day.' You can only take one step at a time. So focus entirely on the first step — and only after that momentum is started can you then focus on the next one.

Not sure how to start: 
Frankly it doesn’t matter how you start. What does matter is taking action and getting moving forward. Once you start, you can always make a course correction if it becomes clear you need to do something different. 

To overcome this, just go with your best gut feeling. Now, if you have a history of making bad 'gut decisions' it would probably be a good idea to seek some wise counsel to get a second opinion:-) There is always the chance you might be making the wrong choice, but by making a choice and taking action, you’ll learn whether this choice is right for you or not. You’ll gain that real world experience of learning by doing.

Inventors in particular struggle with this. They keep tinkering with their creation and worry that everything has to be perfect right out of the gate. It rarely, if ever, is...or has to be. As one of my favorite gurus Seth Godin likes to say 'Just Ship It!' You can always correct and improve things over time.

Waiting for the right time: Just more excuses. You'll never know when things are 'just right'. Businesses are like babies, there is never a perfect time for either to be conceived and brought into the light of day.

Fear of failure: Who doesn't fear failing? We all do. To overcome this obstacle, allow yourself to feel the fear and recognize it for what it is. Then from this place of understanding, start to move, start to take the smallest action possible. As you start moving along your start-up journey you will learn to develop a trust that you’ll be OK. Even if things don't go according to plan, you will be alright.

Delaying the hard work of starting by reading everything: This is usually just uncertainty causing you to procrastinate. Paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.

If you find yourself struggling with any of the above sticking points, the SBDC has a team of advisor who can help you get unstuck and moving forward. We greatly enjoy helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams of launching and running a successful business.