What it Really Takes to Start a Small Business

I was originally going to write about the nitty gritty technical details of getting a small business off the ground, but then I realized that those details have very little to do with what it really takes to start (and succeed at) a small business.

What it really takes is guts.

Sure, you need an idea, and if you want the business to be successful, it should be an idea that you’ve sold someone other than your mom and your spouse on.

You have to be willing to fail, to learn from your mistakes, and to get good advice — but not so much advice and information that you’re paralyzed.

You have to be willing to START, and then get out there, work long and hard, wear many hats, and say “I don’t know, but I’m going to do it anyway and I’ll figure it out as I go.”

Then you have to be willing to keep going through the down times, and to be able to tell the difference between a downtime that’s just about to turn the corner into success and a downtime that’s a sign to try something new.

So most of all, you need guts.


  • If a blog is like a small business, then I would also say you gotta love what you do, and be ready to put the time into it!

    The great thing about Internet-based businesses is that you can slowly dip your feet in and see how deep you’re comfortable with.

    • A blog is like a small business in many ways, so that’s a good point. (And if you’re making money at it or trying to make money at it, then it IS a small business.)

  • You definitely need guts, but you also need backup resources in case an income stream takes awhile.

    There really is so much opportunity out there to start an internet business, and with very little up-front cost!

    • I agree, having backup resources is critical if you’re planning on not working at other things while you get the business off the ground. But with there being so many things that are possible to do with little or no upfront cost, there’s no reason folks can’t do that on the side while getting started.

    • Yep, they bring up a very important point–savings! I suppose it comes down to a ‘calculated risk’ + gusto. It’s definitely not an easy route to take, so having ‘guts’ is definitely what will push you over the edge.

      • I think that push over the edge is the reason we need guts to get started. It can be scary to start off into the unknown, but usually worthwhile!

  • I agree that you really have to love what you do in order to make a small business work. It involves long hours, hard work and passion. Before you start taking any big risks you should makes sure that your savings are in tact.

    • Risk should definitely be taken into account, but there’s nothing that says starting a small business has to involve a lot of risk. (Other than the risk of failure, I suppose.)