7 Obstacles That Prevent People From Starting Businesses (And How To Overcome Them)

Millions of people dream of becoming entrepreneurs, but they never take that all-important first step. Too many things get in the way of their pursuit of business ownership, or they keep convincing themselves that their dream isn’t realistic. 

If you ever want to move past this phase and found your own business, you need to acknowledge the specific obstacles that are holding you back and work to resolve them. Here are seven of the most common challenges that may be standing between you and your entrepreneurial dreams—and ways you can kick them to the curb. 

1. Financial limitations

Launching a business takes money, and most people don’t have ample cash to throw at a startup. There are several options here. First off, you could begin saving now for the funds to establish your business. If you shop for a better mortgage and reduce your house payments by refinancing, you can sock the savings away in your startup fund. You can trim costs in other areas to put away a few hundred dollars each month or save even more by picking up a side gig.

Barring that, you can secure funding in a variety of ways, such as borrowing from friends and family, crowdfunding, seeking loans and grants or even working with angel investors and venture capitalists. There’s always a way forward. 

2. Inexperience

Becoming a successful entrepreneur typically demands experience; you need to understand your industry and business management in general if you want to earn a living from your venture. When you have limited experience, you may be reluctant to move forward, and understandably so.

You can make up for this, however, by actively seeking the experience you lack. Take an online course to gain a grasp of business management basics. Strive for a leadership position with your current employer so you’ll acquire strategic planning and people management skills. Work with a mentor or shadow an entrepreneur you admire. 

3. No standout idea

You can’t build a business if you don’t have a promising idea for a product or service you can sell. Without a solid business plan, you won’t be able to convince investors or partners to join you—and you won’t even know where to begin. Unfortunately, this is one of the least “fudgeable” obstacles on this list. Without a good idea, you can’t start a business, period.

Luckily, there are ways to stimulate better idea generation, such as talking to a broad range of people, reading entrepreneurial content and taking a more robust approach to brainstorming. Techniques like mind mapping and word banking can get your creative juices flowing. 

4. Current responsibilities

Some people avoid starting a business because of existing responsibilities or constraints on their time. Their current full-time job, their status as a parent or other personal responsibilities hold them back from their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Here the best approach is to determine how much of an impact these responsibilities have and consider ways to delegate or remove them. Could you realistically quit your day job, for example, or hire someone to help with household duties or childcare?  

5. Fear of failure

Lack of confidence is an entrepreneurship killer. It’s true that the failure rate for new businesses is relatively high, with half of new companies failing within five years. To buck those odds, you’ll need a healthy dose of confidence in yourself and your idea. 

The only solution to a fear of failure is to change your mindset. You have to see failure as an opportunity for learning and growth and stop seeing it as the end of the road, an indictment of your abilities or a stain on your character. Reading accounts by successful entrepreneurs will inspire you to see the possibilities rather than focusing only on the risks.  

6. Aversion to stress or hard work

Starting and running a business demands a lot of effort. You’ll likely be putting in long hours and dealing with stressful issues. On top of that, your first few years are apt to be highly inconsistent, with your business only making a profit some of the time. This can wreak havoc on your finances and peace of mind. If you’re not feeling up to this kind of pressure, or if you’re loath to work more than 40 hours a week, entrepreneurship may not be for you.

Again, the only way around this obstacle is to change your attitude. Remember that all this hard work will be in service to yourself, not an employer. While the risks are on you, so are the rewards.

7. Poor timing

One of the most common excuses you’ll hear (or hear yourself saying) is that it’s “just not the right time” to start a business. The truth is, there’s never a truly “right” time—you can always find some reason that today, or this month or this year isn’t ideal for launching your venture. 

But like beginning a diet on a Wednesday or joining a gym in February, the trick is to make your own right time. Microsoft was born during the oil crisis of the 1970s, while Airbnb and Uber were founded in the depths of the Great Recession. Remind yourself that the success of your business will depend not on “the times” but on you.

The Realities of Entrepreneurship

It’s true that anyone can become an entrepreneur with enough grit and persistence. Most entrepreneurs with solid ideas have a good chance of becoming successful if they remain adaptable. But it’s also important to realize that not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurship

If you’re intimidated by the stress, inconsistency and long hours associated with startup life, or if you truly love your day job and you’re afraid to leave, maybe business ownership isn’t right for you. That said, if you feel the pull of entrepreneurship but keep making excuses to avoid getting started, you owe it to yourself to challenge those excuses and try to move past them.

This article was written by Serenity Gibbons and published on Forbes.com.

6 Steps to Prepare Your Finances for a Mortgage


However intimidating entering–or re-entering–the housing market may feel, the benefits could be huge if you approach it in a sensible way.

Following the housing crash in 2007, recovery in the market has been uneven, with many buyers held back by stricter lending standards.

But there are signs of life. Banks are beginning to loosen minimum requirements, with several lenders now offering mortgages with down payments as low as 3 percent.

To anyone buoyed by an improving economy and considering taking the leap, I’d recommend the following steps to prepare.

1. Find a mortgage that makes sense for your financial situation.

Look closely at the fine print of the mortgage you’re applying for. Buying a home can help you build equity and qualify for tax deductions. Unlocking these benefits depends on getting a mortgage that makes financial sense for you. For instance, a fixed-rate mortgage typically gives you a higher starting rate but also the security that your monthly payments will remain the same, whereas an adjustable rate mortgage’s interest rate often starts lower but could spike sharply and leave you scrambling. If you can’t find a mortgage that suits your situation, it is best to hold off and revisit the situation at a later date.

2. Student loans aren’t a mortgage deal breaker.

According to a report from the National Association of Realtors, almost 60 percent of first-time homebuyers said that student loans delayed their saving for a down payment. Student debt is commonplace enough now that in general, lenders will view it as they do any other debt obligation. Having student debt may not prevent you from obtaining a mortgage if you have used it responsibly.

3. Reduce your debt-to-income ratio.

When considering your mortgage application, lenders often look closely at your debt-to-income ratio. For them, your monthly debt obligations mapped against your monthly income is a good indicator of how comfortably you can take on more debt. As you consider whether to buy a house, it helps to get your credit card balance down as low as possible and to examine consolidating your debts into lower monthly payments.

4. Slow down your borrowing.

Applying for a new credit card or loan initiates a hard pull on your credit report that can lower your credit score, which can then impact your eligibility for a mortgage, or the final interest rate you’re offered. If you’re thinking of applying for a mortgage, it’s best practice to hold off on applying for other new lines of credit in the six to 12 months beforehand. Too many recent credit inquiries can be a red flag, sending the message to lenders that you’re desperate for credit.

5. A little self-reflection helps.

Banks have a range of formulas and calculations that they look at when examining your mortgage application, but above all else, they’re trying to make an assessment on how well you can be trusted to pay back a loan of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. Lenders will review your credit history closely. How you’ve handled previous debt is the best indicator they have of how responsible you would be with future debt. Think about how reliable of a borrower you’ve been. Missed payments or accounts in collections are going to give lenders pause. You need to be on your best credit behavior.

6. Educate yourself on your credit situation.

Having a good credit score is crucial to getting a mortgage at a good rate. You may still be able to get a mortgage without good credit, but the structures and rates available to you might leave you paying more than you should. Because of how closely it will be scrutinized, you should definitely look at your credit score and report before a lender does. An FTC study in 2013 showed that as many as 25 percent of consumers have an error on their credit report that could affect their score. Your credit report will help you identify areas of improvement. For instance, credit card utilization rate–the ratio of your credit card debt to available credit–can be a major impact on your score. Something as simple as increasing your credit limit could improve your score before you apply for a mortgage.

*Article by Ken Lin

**Article first featured on Inc.com