The Reality of Starting a Business

The Reality of Starting a Business

Starting a Business

Even if You have a Disruptive Business Idea, that doesn’t mean you have the skills to be an Entrepreneur.

Surprise! Starting a business can be difficult. A person may have a disruptive, game-changing idea, but that does not mean they have the skills to be an entrepreneur. I have started several businesses, including starting a business in real estate sales.  I have also worked for more than one entrepreneur.  No two business ever follow the same route in trying to achieve success. However, what I have learned is that some collective experiences apply almost universally to entrepreneurs and their endeavors. Here’s is a little of what I have learned regarding expectations as opposed to reality.

You can’t fear change.

In the rose-colored account of my career path, I knew at a young age that I wanted to open my own business. I happily opened my first stand as a child selling wild blueberries to passing motorists, I won student council elections from high school to college, and I majored in economics and business in college with a voracious appetite. But in real life, I developed entrepreneurial ambitions much later in life.  While it is true, I had a blueberry stand with as I child. I studied humanities in college, majoring in history with minors in political science and art.

Jimmy Carter was sworn in as President the year I graduated college.  Around that time, unemployment in the United States of America was 7.4%, and within two years inflation would climb to 13.3 percent.   “Stagflation” — an economic condition of both continuing inflation and stagnant business activity, together with an increasing unemployment rate — described the new economic malaise. I took the first job that came along.  I worked for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the next decade and learned a great deal about bureaucracy, politics, and regulation and very little about entrepreneurship. What I learned I was able to use when I went to work in a private company in the telecommunications industry. It was not until the 1990’s that I ventured into forming my first business.

I found that I liked the challenges that running a business presented.  I loved working with the emerging technology known as the internet. I saw gaps in what software companies and search engines were providing to small business.  I knew I could make a difference, and I went about helping small businesses develop an online presence.

As I reminisce about my career, it is clear to me that it has not been a straight and narrow path.  It has been more of a winding route with new challenges, to overcome and new avenues to explore.  The one clear constant that I see are changes.  New industries have emerged, new marketing methods have been developed, and new products have been implemented. What I have learned is that those businesses that do not fear change but adapt to it have survived and prospered.

Don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis

When I joined with some colleagues and launched ZipperAgent, we were confident that we were bringing something to the real estate industry that was badly needed. I was using the experience I had in real estate to develop our platform, and others in our company had also worked in real estate.  We knew that some of the other companies in our field were delivering subpar products to real estate brokers, teams, and agents. Our drive came from our experience in the industry. We grew steadily as every entrepreneur hopes.

Collectively we knew the pains and pressures of a real estate agency and the agents that work in them.  We wanted to eliminate as much of that pain as possible.  What was the hardest part was to realize that it could not all be done immediately. Some things would have to wait, and others would need to be modified based on the feedback we received from customers.  Some ideas we had would have to go altogether.  We realized that if we tried to do it all, nothing would get done and we would fail both ourselves and our customers.

This give and take is what entrepreneurs mean when they speak of Minimum Viable Product (MVP).  Often we would need to put out what a useable product, knowing that, an improvement was necessary, but needing the correct feedback to make the product better and more useable.

Learn When to say When and When to Move Forward

A problem often faced by entrepreneurs is knowing when to turn off.  Creativity can come at any time, and entrepreneurs often feel like they are working 24 hours a day. (This is also true of many real estate agents). When we are busy and getting busier, it may seem natural to keep going.  We are often told to strike while the iron is hot.  However, working non-stop will take its toll. Physical and mentally, the human body needs a certain amount of rest. Working non-stop also will take a toll on our relationships.  Could that be the reason that the divorce rate among real estate brokers and sales agents is 41.6 percent?

Many entrepreneurs and startup founders are currently employed in other companies. They have a great idea, but they are still working full time for someone else. Going all-in with a new business venture is a scary step. It helps to remember that it is okay to fail. But, if you are going to fail, it is better to do it quicker, rather than later, and always to learn from it.

Writing about starting a business, Beth Lebowitz, the founder of Nexus Legal, puts it this way, “If you’ve got the drive and the tendency toward innovation, then you’re already on the entrepreneurial career path. Whether you stay on that path is up to you, but don’t let the fear of the unknown or perfectionist inclinations stop you from moving forward. As they say, it’s the hard that makes it great. If it were easy, everyone would do it.” Web source:

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