The Miami Herald

Risk alone doesn't reward entrepreneurs

Here we are at the end of this short series on how to start a business. We have had great feedback and it has been a lot of fun. I would like to thank all of the folks who have been reading my articles and watching my videos online.

Some people have an entrepreneurial idea, and because they have heard all the hype about ''no risk, no reward,'' they forge ahead and start a business without sufficient preparation. They usually wind up in serious debt and their families, of course, tend to be less than pleased.

While it is true that entrepreneurs do take risks, they are actually engaged in doing everything to minimize risk and maximize the possibility of success. With that in mind, let's focus on three success killers you need to be aware of when starting a business. Avoid these and you increase your odds of success!

• Did Not Plan

Too many folks start a business without a written plan. They borrow some money from family and friends and then sign what they think is a great lease. They're in business.

Several months later they realize they are in trouble. Several more months and they realize they are in serious trouble. At that point there is usually little they can do. If they had done only half of the things suggested in this Launch Pad series, they could have avoided many problems.

Ben Franklin said, ''An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.'' We say, ''A few hours of planning could prevent years of financial woes.'' If I were you, I would listen to Ben.

•  Did Not Know

There are so many things that each of us just doesn't know. This is the first thing we have to admit to ourselves. You may know everything about brain surgery but be totally ignorant of many other areas of knowledge.

When starting a business you will need help from experts in diverse areas. At minimum, you will need an accountant, a lawyer and a banker. These three wise men or women provide you with information crucial to good decision-making. Do not fall for the myth of the lone entrepreneur facing all odds, starting a business and ending up fantastically wealthy. The reality is that if you read the stories of successful entrepreneurs, you will find that all of them had substantial help when they started. That is why they spend so much time thanking people.

Remember, it is not what you know that gets you into trouble; it is what you don't know.

• Did Not Do

Some people know but they just don't do or they wait too long to do. You must commit yourself to action. You must do the most important things first. That means you have to decide what is important. That is what an executive does. Executive comes from the word execute, meaning to do or to kill. You must either be doing something important or killing a bad idea. At the end of the day it is your business and everyone is looking to you for leadership. Why did you start a business if you didn't want to be at the helm during the storm, crash against the rocks, right the ship and discover a new world?

It has been a pleasure taking you through the steps of launching a business. The rest is up to you. Get out there and start your business. Thank you and much success!




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