More than 7 out of 10 people in the US today have a dream of learning how to start a small business. It’s more prevalent in younger people than older people, and more prevalent in men than women. How about you? It’s the American dream of being your own boss; big desk, receptionist, polished dark wood office, walls adorned with lighted paintings, a nice new Lexus, beautiful home…the dream of success.
The dream is real in this United States. Many people have achieved it, and many more will. But even if you are in the 7 of 10 who want to learn how to own a business, you probably won’t. Why? The fact of the matter is that just over 1 in 10 Americans are business owners. They are the entrepreneurs and franchisees who have overcome the internal objections, rejected the naysayers and dared to be independent.
Question: What motivates the 10% to learn how to start a small business?
Answer: They felt the pain deep enough to take action.
Why not you? The truth is, you probably haven’t felt the pain deeply enough to make it happen. Yet.
In my industry, about 4 or 5 out of every 100 inquiries is a qualified franchise buyer. However, only about 1 or 2 end up turning their dreams of business ownership into reality. My interest is not in the 95 or 96 who are really not emotionally prepared, don’t have the necessary liquidity or credit, or are truly just dreaming. Don’t get me wrong. It’s good to dream. My interest, though, is in the 4 or 5 who are qualified, have the funds, have the experience and the dream. However, in the end only 1 or 2 will act on it. What is it that inspires the 1 or 2? Their pain.
I ask every prospective buyer I work with, “So what has happened recently in your life to make you believe that now is the right time for you to learn how to start a small business?” The answer is their “pain,” and it varies with each prospective buyer.
This evil “pain” can come disguised in many ways. For many in today’s new corporate economy it’s the realization, that after being laid off, riffed, retired, downsized or simply fired in their mid to late 50’s, they are nobody’s prime candidate for a job. They are too expensive, don’t have a wide enough employment window and honestly may not possess the “new era” technical skills of the younger generation. After working the network, the job boards and social media, the ugly Mr. Pain exposes himself in the reality that the burn rate could exceed the severance & savings if the job search continues too long.
For some, the “pain” transforms into a burning desire to achieve the dream.
Their dream has probably been smoldering for years, tamped down by the comments of co-workers, bosses, friends and even spouses who have casually doused the flame in negativity. But it’s not the dream; it’s the fact that the burning desire is finally red hot enough to ignite the fire. At 211 degrees water does not boil.
Pain can be as simple the yearning to buy back a life. How many executives are never home to see their kids grow up? How many proudly boast of being 1K or Platinum or whatever other lofty designation they ascribe to those who spend too many nights in nameless roadhouses, dining on cheap expense accounts?
Pain is different for everyone, but without the pain busting through the “break glass in case of emergency” capsule the American dream will remain unrealized. For those 8 in 10 who “dream” but never “do,” the pain remains encased.
I think the worst nightmare I could think of would be to see myself laying on my death bed and thinking… I could’a, I should’a, but I never did. And now I’m finally feeling the pain… too late.
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