5 Excuses Aspiring Entrepreneurs Give For Not Starting A Business

Do you dream of being an entrepreneur? Have you had ever had an idea for "the next big thing", but couldn't convince yourself to press the "go" button?

Read on to learn five common phrases aspiring entrepreneurs use to justify not pursuing their dreams and effective strategies to overcome them.


1. “I’m nothing like [Mark Zuckerberg / Jeff Bezos / Elon Musk / Bill Gates / insert billionaire here]

Stop putting the term “entrepreneur” on a pedestal. It is easy to see these titans of commerce and begin the self-reducing process of comparison. They are outliers and are not a good interpretation of what a more typical entrepreneur is.

Here are a few examples: 

  • The person who owns the corner store grocery is an entrepreneur
  • Your neighbor that owns real estate property is an entrepreneur
  • The person selling personalized greeting cards at the local artisan market on the weekend is an entrepreneur. Let’s also not forget that they might have a full-time job as well, but one can be both a full-time employee and an entrepreneur in the same way someone can be a full-time employee and a parent / band member / blogger / etc.

What is an entreprneur?

entrepreneur definition

By definition, an entrepreneur takes greater than normal financial risks, but what exactly are “normal” financial risks? This definition uses the average human being as the reference point, but that does not imply that you must be an outlier in order to be an entrepreneur – it only means that you have to be willing to take a risk beyond what a typical person would.

Enterpreneurship is a mentality more than anything - it is the spirit of optimism in the face of limited resources. It is guided by a belief that you are delivering something of value to your customers and is built on the conviction that you can grow.

Enterpreneurship is a mentality more than anything - it is the spirit of optimism in the face of limited resources. It is guided by a belief that you are delivering something of value to your customers and is built on the conviction that you can grow.

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One conspicuous aspect which the definition of entrepreneurship does not include a mention of company size. Did you notice that? You do not have to create the next Facebook or a company with $1 million in sales in order to be an entrepreneur. All you must do is start.

2. “I don’t know enough about…”

Among the resources that entrepreneurs lack, knowledge is one of the major inhibitors for individuals wanting to start a business.

Maybe you have spent your career in engineering and have created an amazing product but don’t know how to market/sell it, you don’t know about finance, you don’t know about legal, and you have never set up a company before.

Maybe you are an extremely talented lawyer, but have never done active business development, and have never set up a website before.

Maybe you have worked in the automotive industry for your entire career, know cars inside and out, but don’t know the first thing about anything outside of tasks where your hands get dirty.

getting to "yes"

There is nothing simpler in the world than finding a reason to avoid doing something. The true power is in finding your motivation to forge ahead through all those self-imposed barriers and push beyond them. 

If you’ve said, “I don’t know enough about…”, you have already taken the first step of becoming a humble leader: realize what you don’t know. Think about the items that are one-time challenges and ongoing challenges. For the ongoing challenges, find partners and employees that will bridge that knowledge/expertise gap and leverage them to allow you to focus on the remaining areas of weakness. 

3. “I don’t have enough…”

Figure out the key limiting factor to taking your next step and address it directly.

Are you short on time? 

Well, how much time do you need? Is it possible to prepare incrementally in advance of a larger transition? Take the example of a busy parent working full time and wanting to open a retail store: it might take you a year of working 2-3 hours per night after their putting your children to bed in order to build your business plan, set up bank financing, source suppliers, find a location, etc. before you can leave your job. 

Are you short on money?

Figure out how much you need and convince an equity investor or a bank to lend you the capital required to get off the ground.


Are you short on knowledge?

Understand where gaps exist. Either complement yourself with a partner or start the learning enough to be dangerous.

Are you short on connections?

Start networking now and build the relationships that will benefit you in the long-term.

By identifying what  pivotal factor is restricting you from taking the next step in your journey, you can attack it head-on and accelerate your time to market.

4. “I’m afraid of failure”

Join the club… no one likes to fail. The key here is to aim before you fire.

  1. 1
    Understand your market/customers – who are they? What motivates them? What is their willingness to pay?
  2. 2
    Understand your product/service – how is it made? What resources are required to make it (people/equipment/time)? How much does the product/service cost to deliver?
  3. 3
    Assess how well the product and market/service fit together
  4. 4
    Understand whether your proposed pricing will allow profit-per-sale to be “in the black”
  5. 5
    Ensure that you can sell enough widgets to cover your overhead
Then.. Fire
  1. 1
    Create your go-to-market strategy
  2. 2
    Execute your go-to-market strategy

5. “I don’t have a Unique enough idea”

Remember that not every entrepreneur needs to create the next industry disruptor. Furthermore, entrepreneurs do not have to invent something completely new in order to be successful.

become a new competitor in an existing space

It's worth mentioning that most industries can handle an additional competitor in an existing space. A perfect example can be found within the food industry: is a newly released breakfast cereal brand truly revolutionizing the cereal industry? The answer is no – the product will likely be made from the typical ingredients but finds a specific angle to address a customer want. 

Perhaps it can be low carb, low sugar, paleo/keto, organic, clean label, or some other niche that the current list of competitors don't target. It is important to ask yourself, “What is my edge?” and position yourself to take advantage of it. 

New businesses in existing industries are popping up all the time – just figure out how you can stand out, start small, and build from there.

don't chase "sexy"

Your idea doesn't have to be "sexy", either. Pest control companies, plumbers, sanitation companies, auto mechanics, and other "dirty" jobs deliver services of great value to society and get paid handsomely for it. There are lots of opportunities to be found by turning over stones where others don't think of (or couldn't fathom) going.