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Prep

Funding 101: Prep

 

You are Already Ready

Entrepreneurs often ask themselves when the right time to start a company might be.  They hang around waiting for the stars to align, for their moment of inspiration to hit, and for their career to prepare them for something big.

Well I have some bad news for you.  The stars will never align.  The brilliant flash will probably never come, and nothing you will learn or do working for someone else will make you more ready to start your own company.

Now here’s the good news – none of that matters.  The truth is that you’re already ready.  There’s absolutely nothing to hold out for in order to start your company.  You really just need to get off your butt and get started.  If you still aren’t convinced, and think you’ve got a few more excuses under your belt, let’s get rid of those right here and now.

You Don’t Need More Education

No matter what you’re about to learn in school (short of becoming a surgeon) it’s not going to make a lick of difference in starting your company.  Sure, you may learn how basic accounting and bookkeeping works, but who cares?

You’re not going to do so much revenue in your first year that your bookkeeping skills are going to make or break you.  Even if you do, you can hire a professional bookkeeper for peanuts and never think about it again.

You’ll learn more in your first year of running a business than you will in your undergraduate and MBA tenure combined.

Anything you don’t know now you can either figure out when you need to or find someone else that knows the answer.  More importantly, there isn’t a class in any school’s catalog that will teach you how to take huge risks and always succeed.  You’ll learn more in your first year of running a business than you will in your undergraduate and MBA tenure combined.

You Don’t Need More Money

Over 500,000 companies are started every month in the U.S. alone.  Only a small fraction of those start off with significant funding, like the kind you read about in popular business magazines.  In fact, professional investors like venture capitalists and angel investors fund fewer than 1% of those companies!

So how do you think the other 99% of the world gets started without these guys?  The answer – they bootstrap it and figure it out as they go.

You don’t need that big infusion of cash to get going.  You need to get started with what you have right in front of you and push the limits of your resources today.  Excess cash breeds sloth, and a tight belt encourages resourcefulness. The majority of entrepreneurs figure it out without a check from someone else, and you’re no exception.

You Don’t Need More Time

There really is a right time to start your company, and it’s called “today”.

Waiting around a few more months for some imaginary milestone to pass is not going to help.  No matter when you start your company, it’s going to be really hard.  It doesn’t matter if your kids are still in school, if your day job is particularly hectic right now, or if you think it will just be a little longer for the “market to be ready”.

No matter when you start your company, it’s going to be really hard.

Once you get started, your world is going to be completely overcommitted and loaded with anxiety.  That’s how a startup works.  Trying to avoid this is like trying to decide where you want someone to shoot you: the head or the chest?

It’s going to suck no matter what. Don’t burn up valuable time pretending like you can soften the blow.

You Don’t Need More Experience

I won’t mislead you here – experience certainly helps, but it’s not a requirement.  I’ve started nine companies, and certainly each experience makes the next one work better and faster.  But I wouldn’t have gotten through the first one if I had waited around to be more experienced.

You also need to realize that the experience you get by starting a company compared to just working for one are worlds apart.  Learning how to run a company by working at a company is like trying to become a chef by ordering meals at fancy restaurants.

While experience can help, it often takes too long to get useful experience working in an existing structure.

By contrast, the experience you get by starting a company yourself is like going from short order cook to Wolfgang Puck with a case of Red Bull in your system!

While experience can help, it often takes too long to get useful experience working in an existing structure.  The best and fastest way to get relevant experience is to actually start your company and figure it out as you go.

There’s No Money in Excuses

If you want to spend the next few years coming up with more elaborate excuses to convince yourself you’re not ready, then by all means have at it.  That path will most certainly resemble the one you’re already on.

But if you truly understand that nothing you can wait for will prepare you for being an entrepreneur, then it’s time to put this column down and get started.  You’re already ready, and it’s time to go kick some butt.

Summary

While many entrepreneurs wait for the perfect timing to start a business, the most important thing to do is to get started and start generating traction. You can do this in your spare time but don’t use obstacles like money, experience, and education as an excuse for not yet starting your company.

Those who really want it will get started, today.