Starting a business isn’t a singular event, but a journey with three important phases: permission, planning, and practice.  


Most people who haven’t been entrepreneurs may be scared off by the myths and hype that accompany the subject of starting a business. They’ll talk about it. They may go to seminars or watch motivational videos online. They’ll dance around the subject for so long that they accumulate enough reasons to put off launching their own enterprise until they aren’t able to.

I’ve found that the biggest hurdle to joining the startup movement isn’t the business planning or even the funding issues. It’s that people won’t give themselves permission to try.


Once you’ve given yourself permission to pursue an ageless startup, do a little planning that briefly lays out your goals and expectations. For older entrepreneurs, the joy of planning is that you don’t have to lay out a fantasy growth scenario for attracting investors and taking your company public. If you want that kind of business, you’ll need to expand your research significantly. The vast majority of us will create business plans that support us individually as solo entrepreneurs. The U.S. Census Bureau defines this kind of businesses as something called non employer businesses. Over three quarters of all businesses in the U.S. are nonemployer businesses. That’s just under 25 million solo entrepreneurs out of a total of about 32 million U.S. businesses.


I like thinking about new and emerging enterprises as practices. Think of medical or law practices, or tax, accounting, or consulting practices, among many examples. All of these share something in common with a new startup—they’re deeply rooted in the day-to-day practice of using your unique skill set. As a startup business, you’ll benefit in this new economy by holding yourself to this level of professionalism, no matter what kind of enterprise you have.

Professionals who operate their businesses continually practice. They get better, innovate, and grow. They continue to find new ways to add value for their customers.

Or they fail.