So you are heart-centred. You probably buy from ethical stores, live on a plant-based diet, are keen to reduce economic disparity and are concerned about the state of the planet. So far so good? What about dreaming of launching a successful business that helps make this world a better place? Ever do that too?
Most compassionate people at some point or another have looked at a social or ecological challenge and have thought of a business idea that they felt would provide a solution to the issue. I’m sure you have too, right? Well, what stopped you from bringing these dreams to life?
‘Ecopreneurs’, as we like to call them (conscious businesses), face many of the same challenges other entrepreneurs would in their startup journey. A recent study found out that 62% of people consider starting their own business at some point or another. But, most of them aren’t able to. Here are the top 6 reasons why:
1. Lack of Skills-
People tend to get into business when they specialise in a certain field. They are experts at what they do and know enough about their offering to address queries and solve any issues that may arise. However, what scares many of us is the various hats one needs to juggle when starting up. Marketing, sales, technology, bookkeeping etc. the list goes on! This fear is completely understandable. But here’s the thing- You Don’t Need To Juggle Those Hats On Your Own!
Solution: Surround yourself with the right people & resources who can help you with managing the aspects that you are unsure about. Example: This very article! It has been co-written by me, a content writing specialist along with the founder of the business! I know- Inception right! Also, find the right tools. In today’s technological world, almost any workplace challenge has an app or a software. Use the ones that help you.
2. Lack Of Time (Or When IS The Right Time)-
This is a common issue, particularly when one tries to maintain their ‘day job’ while getting started. The fear of working nights, weekends and forsaking a ‘work-life’ balance can be very dissuading indeed. Another common fear- ‘when is the right time to do it’? As I write this, most countries in the world are experiencing their worst recessions ever. Yet, many of our business-coaching clients are doing better than ever before. Figure that!
Solution: Conduct an audit on where you spend your time right now. You may find that a large chunk of it goes towards activities like social media or the TV, things that don’t add much value to your life. Now ask yourself, what if you look a little bit of that time and dedicated it towards your dream?! Wouldn’t that be worthwhile? Also remember that there’s never a ‘right time’ when it comes to doing the right thing. If you believe you have an idea that could solve serious problems, then the right time to get started is always NOW!
3. Lack of Financial Funding-
Wouldn’t starting a business seem like a breeze if every business owner could walk into a bank and acquire a loan? Maybe your idea needs a cash influx to get started and finding funding may seem like the scariest task ever. Scary enough to sometimes make some give up before they even begin.
Solution: Yes, funding is often very important and not everyone’s got a large inheritance to fall back on. However, all investors look for three very important features in a new business- what’s the vision, mission and objectives of the endeavour (usually outlined in a robust business plan), does it have a market (usually expressed in a ‘Proof Of Concept’) & does it have the potential to grow (again, in the plan & in market research) And guess what- These are all things that most of us can put together or achieve with very little to NO funding. So complete the first steps. You will find that the path ahead gets clearer.
4. Lack of Prospective Clients-
“I wonder if anyone is going to value my services….What if no one is interested in what I have to offer?”. It’s intimidating to take the risk of offering your services to the world, wondering if they will like it, let alone pay you for it. Especially when you are starting with zero clients or prospects.
Solution: Manage your expectations- don’t expect a line outside your door the day after your launch. Plan to start slow and build from there. Understand your target audience and map out a clear marketing plan that tells you where they are and how to approach them. If you approach your marketing and sales with loyalty and passion, consistently delivering what you have promised, you greatly increase your chances of winning prospective clients.
5. Lack of Encouragement and Support-
Lucky are those who have supportive friends and family to encourage them on their journey into ecopreneurship. The reality is that most of us are surrounded by people who think from the traditional paradigm of working 9 to 5 for someone else as a way to make a living. Starting off on your own sounds scary to them and very often, they may project their own fears onto you.
Solution: Speak honestly and passionately with your family members about the venture you are going to undertake. Discuss frankly about the risks you may encounter and how it’s important that you will need to invest your time and energy into the business to reap in success. Prepare your family politely and ask them to walk this journey along with you. You may be labelled crazy and will be discouraged by the people around you, but don’t let that affect you. As Steve Jobs once said ‘those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do’.
6. Lack of Expert Guidance-
“I don’t know where to start from, I feel lost.” Most ecopreneurs don’t know where to start when it comes to executing their business ideas. Should they write up a business plan? Should they get the funding first? Maybe invest their own money and begin selling their product or service? What about the website? How to sell?
They basically ‘DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY DON’T KNOW’
And this can seem daunting, so much so that many quit before they even start.
Solution: Start out by seeking advice from someone who has done it before you. People who have achieved the goals you’ve set for yourself. Someone who can show you the ropes. Together you will be able to work on the structure of your business and the important steps you need to take like marketing strategies, investments, etc. and thus realise your plan into a full-fledged start-up.
Finally, remember: This isn’t a foolproof system. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what we do. We fail. It is at this point when you must remind yourself that failures are a stepping stone to success, as long as we learn from them. Also remind yourself that your idea not taking off in this moment has no bearing on who you are as a person. In the words of Edison ‘I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.
Muster the courage to stand up once again and put the pieces of your heart and courage back together. As an ecopreneur, you may need to lose the battle to win the war. Believe that you are a warrior, the ‘change’ that this world has been waiting for. Let it be known that it was the heart-centred people of this world, people like us, who eventually saved it.