Obstacles and Opportunities for Startups

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Yesterday morning we had our webinar (“Start Something … It’s Not Really That Hard”). It was a fun hour-long conversation about the obstacles and opportunities of starting something, whether a new business startup or church. As I was pulling together notes on the webinar and planning out what I’d share and what we’d talk about I realized that nothing I would be talking about was anything technical. Instead, the conversation revolved around “why don’t we just start?” and “how to just start.”

Why Don’t We Just Start?

Sadly, a lot of ideas die right here. We’re burdened for a people and desperately want to see a new church started among them … but we’re afraid. Self-doubt creeps in. We have an idea for a new food truck that would be a great way to love our city and participate in its economy … but we’re afraid. So why don’t we just start?

  1. We’re Paralyzed by Fear. One of the biggest obstacles really has nothing to do with skill and know-how, but instead we’re afraid. We don’t want to fail. We don’t want to let ourselves down and especially those around us. We mull over questions like … what if I fail? What will others think? We operate as if we’re standing before some internal Board of Doubters. These are people … voices from our past who told us cutting things … you’re not good enough. You won’t make it. We often have a broken record playing in our minds from conversations in our past or even times we’ve underperformed, were fired, etc. That sticks with us and those voices and messages speak loudly as we contemplate starting something new.

  2. Doubt ... What If??? The previous voices I shared about eventually become our voice if we don’t pay attention … what if I fail? What if I let them down? The reality is that no one else thinks that about you. That broken record is our record that we keep on playing. No one else is playing it for us.

  3. Lack of Resources. What do you really need to start? Depending on what industry the answer to that varies. If it’s a new church you’d don’t need a penny. For some business startups you need some (even minimal) capital. As a result we let the lack of resources become an obstacle. Then that gets added to all of the negative voices in our lives … whether from self-doubt or our curated Board of Doubters … and then we find ourselves stuck, afraid, and apprehensive to move on.

  4. Lack of Know-How. What if we don’t know how to do something? But before we jump into something does anyone really know how to do something? You’d be shocked to find out how many people are simply figuring things out on the fly. If then can, why can’t you?

How to “Just Start”

So, rather than focusing on the negative … that “can’ts” or “shouldn’ts” … what if we took this one step at a time? So how does one really start? What are some good things to know?

  1. Know Who You Are. There’s only one you. Be you. How are you wired? What’s your temperament? What are your gifts? What are you good at? The better you know who you are the better you will be at starting and sustaining something. Don’t try to be anyone else … be the best version of you. Mimicking and copycatting is unhealthy and damaging. There’s only one you. Start something with that in mind.

  2. Know your Setting. Not all places are equal. Often times the place shapes the how and nuances of what we’re starting whether a church or business. Are you in urban LA or rural South Dakota? That means a lot. Each place will have built-in advantages as well as unique challenges. Discover what those are.

  3. Know your Industry. What are you starting? How do you learn more about it? How do you dive deeper into it whether we’re talking about marketing, digital media, or a church? Read, read, read (or watch).

  4. Know your Network. We all have a network. How do you leverage your social network to launch and grow your idea? New churches are especially impacted by social networks. Usually the reason one “pops” and most don’t are because of this very thing. How connected are you?

  5. Be Humble and Teachable. Since most (if they’re honest) are simply figuring things out on the fly that should give you permission to do so yourself. Therefore throughout the process be humble and teachable. No one has all of the answers.

  6. Have fun at it! While it is work, starting something from scratch is invigorating and exhilarating!

I trust these simple points and ideas are an encouragement to you today.

Sean Benesh