Anti-entrepreneurs: the six types of people who won't start a business

Why? Why do we, and I'm talking especially about us here in the UK, not take our business or product ideas to the next stage? Why don't we make them a reality? According to the same research, 78% of the 1,000 people surveyed believe we are an innovative country - and yet too many of us seem to leave that innovation to other people rather than going for it ourselves.

For those of you who've started your own business or developed your own product, several hats off to you. But it still leaves us wondering why the majority of people won't do anything more with their fantastic new product idea than swill it around in their heads for a couple of days then forget about it.

So we've identified the six most common types of anti-entrepreneur (those with an idea who will never do anything about it). If you recognise yourself or someone you know among them, read our advice to find out how and why you should just get on with it - you might just end up living out your dream.

1. The approval-seeker

For the approval-seeker, simply telling their mates about their brilliant new idea to a gentle chorus of 'Oh yes, I'd like one of those' is enough to make them feel good about themselves. Then they just stop - they can't really be bothered to develop the business, because they've already won approval. But if your nearest and dearest are interested in your idea, wouldn't other people be too? Isn't it worth spending just a couple of hours next weekend asking friends of friends or getting on the internet to do some research to find out if there's a real market demand for this product? Go on - you'll feel way better about yourself when you can show off about selling your business than you will just sitting in the pub with a fleeting idea.

2. The scaredy cat

We have some sympathy here. Taking the plunge can seem pretty terrifying... when you think of starting a business as a massive life-changing decision. The thing is, it's not. Starting a business doesn't mean quitting your job and risking your life savings. It just means spending a few hours a week nurturing your idea rather than watching TV. We'll explain: we always advise start-uppers to keep their day job as long as possible and keep things as low risk as possible. You should test your idea on the smallest scale you can and make a few sales before investing too much into it. That way, you already have some evidence it will work before increasing your risk.

So stop thinking about the next step as a colossal, petrifying thing, and start seeing the next step for what it is: a tiny slither of action - reading a market report, for example, or doing some internet research. Keep taking those small steps one by one, and suddenly you'll find you've already started your business, and it wasn't so hard after all. See our checklist on how to start a business for help.

3. The unsupported wannabe

This is probably the most tragic of all nearly-did-it business idea people - and they're all too common in the UK. The unsupported wannabe can get to the very verge of turning their idea into some kind of reality - only to be knocked down by everyone that knows them. Why is this such a problem in this country? Because every time someone says, "I've had this great idea...", we have a tendency to give 10 reasons why it won't work rather than getting excited about the possibility that it could.

There's no quick-fix here. But if you spot someone being negative about someone else's idea or initiative, remember from here on that you have a duty to gently reprimand them. Support new ideas, and you can pat yourself on the back for helping nurture entrepreneurship in this country. And if you think you are an unsupported wannabe, have faith in yourself: ignore the negativity, and get on with things. Just don't tell those people who you know will only do you down for actually giving things a go.

4. The procrastinator

There's only one way to start a business - actually starting a business. Stop talking, and actually just do that first thing on your to-do list. Right now. Procrastination is the most sorry excuse in the book - it's totally unproductive and will only leave you feeling unfulfilled and disappointed with yourself when you realise another month has gone by in which you've done nothing to make your dream a reality. JUST DO IT!

5. The haven't-got

You know the type. Haven't got time, haven't got money, haven't got the experience. You know what? None of that matters. Read this feature to see what we mean. Then go for it.

6. The pessimist

"It probably wouldn't work anyway - there's no real market for it." Moan moan moan. We're sick of it! You know what? There's only one way to find out if your idea has any legs - get on the internet, get down the library and get talking to your target market. Do your costings and work out if your product is financially viable. Don't make any assumptions - assumptions are poisonous in business. Stop whining, and get some evidence. You might just find that, actually, your idea has everything it takes to be the next big thing.



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