How can I find the courage to launch a start-up?

This article first appeared on December 11th, 2010.


I want to launch my own start-up but I’m afraid to jump out on my own.


How can I find the courage to make the leap?


If business was easy – everyone would do it.


The best advice I was ever given was this: “It is generally not the things that we do in life that we end up regretting – rather it is the things we didn’t do, that often end up being our biggest regrets”.


Simply put, there are no guarantees in anything we do in our lives (particularly in business), however one thing is for sure; we are far better placed by being in a position where we control the results of what we are capable of achieving, rather than being in a position where we end up being a passenger of someone else’s dreams, or even worse, a victim of someone else’s bad judgement.


You could just as easily be retrenched tomorrow from your “secure” job, as you could failing after starting up on your own.


There are various statistics and numbers around business failures in Australia (and I am not sure how accurate they are), but some figures show that up to 90% of all small businesses that started before the year 2000 no longer exist today.


This could be for a myriad of reasons, from the most obvious of closure, to restructure, a sell-off or just as simple as retirement.


Either way, the single biggest reason for business failure, in my opinion, is a lack of a well thought-out business plan.


I mean a genuine, intelligent, thorough plan that covers off every facet of the idea. From where the idea originated, right through to future exit strategy options.


You need a plan that covers financial, marketing, legal, customer sourcing, infrastructure and positioning, just to name a few.


If the plan is correct and clear, then this is your road map.


Fear of starting up is often no more than the fear of the unknown. You wouldn’t simply wake up one morning and say, “I am off to La Rinconada in Peru”, without a plan of how to get there, a map, a budget, a translation book and an understanding of where you were going.


If you did try this, no doubt fear would be a factor in your journey. If however, you researched every part of the journey ahead, had a clear itinerary, had budgeted for all variables and investigated every aspect of La Rinconadian life – as well as having a clear reason and desire to do the trip – then the fear would be replaced by excitement, and the courage would come naturally.


The same goes with starting your own business. If the plan is correct and clear, and you truly believe the plan is spot on, then the fear is gone.


In the words of Napoleon Hill: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.


Get your plan done and get your new start-up started!


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