Finding courage to take the leap into small business

For some people it is a dream to work for themselves, a desire to make an exciting idea real. Some of these people will jump into the deep end without a second thought, but others are left with the weight of the security of their day jobs which may see their vision of becoming a business owner slip away.

Canberra Innovation Network General Manager of Growth Programs Dr Craig Davis says taking the leap away from job security and into the unknown of small business does not mean you have to throw caution to the wind. Dr Davis talks to hundreds of budding entrepreneurs a year, and says he has one common piece of advice: “Back yourself and take action but manage risks by testing your ideas and progressively ramping up your commitment.”

“Both startup founders and business owners often talk about challenges and pitfalls when running a company, but for many there is a silver lining to the risks. Autonomy, the excitement of ‘what will happen today?’, the constant learning on the job and the personal growth that comes out of being responsible for not just your own livelihood but those of your employees is something that comes with working for yourself,” Dr Davis said.

“Taking the leap to start a new business, especially when working on an innovative idea or prototype often leaves entrepreneurs with mixed emotions throughout the week. Finding new challenges on the daily and looking at ways to solve them is just a part of the job description. There are spikes of adrenalin, which keeps these innovation junkies coming back for more.”

With no certainty in success, when is the right time to dive in so you can avoid the ‘I wish I had done that’?

“Here at the Canberra Innovation Network, we can connect you to an abundance of support, connections and pathways to help develop your idea by testing it with your customers, prototyping it and pitching it to potential investors. Our ethos is all about progressing your idea or startup with limited resources, that you can start something new without risking unnecessary amounts of cash on it.”

Dr Davis says emerging entrepreneurs can fall into the trap of the perfection mindset, where they are convinced that the customer will only accept a perfect solution.

“While striving for perfection in business is generally a good force, in a startup we encourage you to take progress over perfection, to learn who your customers are and what they are willing to pay for before investing more in the product – this is the lean way.

“One of our key observations within the Canberra innovation ecosystem is the attitude of the entrepreneurs. The best motivation often comes from something that really bothers them, an issue or a challenge where they want to make a meaningful difference and see change. They focus on the impact their solution and business can have on their community and this ambition keeps them focused.

“Finding the courage to take the leap in innovation is rarely about creating a job for yourself, it is about your desire to change the world.

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