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Equipment Manufacturers International, Inc (EMI) is a worldwide leading manufacturer of metal casting solutions for the ferrous and non-ferrous foundry industries. At EMI we rely on decades of experience to bring cost effective solutions to our foundry partners unique challenges. Always driven to provide the best products and services to our customers, we will continue to innovate and meet the demands of the foundry industry.
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We could throw a long list of reasons at you as towhysomeone decided to start a business. Weve heard them all, from something as relatable as wanting to earn some extra money on the side to more obscure reasons like wanting to be the first company to make hats for parrots.
There are no right or wrong reasons. Sure, there might be one or two good reasons why you shouldnt start a business right now. But entrepreneurship has proven itself as being life-changing for so many people that its worth considering.
In this post, Ill detail 21 reasons why you should consider starting your own business. Ive integrated images, statistics, graphs, quotes, lists, and links to other resourcesall in the hope that this post will be useful to you as you think about leaping into the world of business.
Freedom is the golden promise of entrepreneurship. Over and over again, entrepreneurs that we interview for Foundr Magazine point to autonomy, to independence, as a key driver of their decision to start a business.
In 2008, the academic International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal releasedstats from a global survey of early-stage business owners. Independence was the most common reason these people gave for starting their business:
Why does this fervor for freedom move people to hurl themselves into the crazy world of business? Freedom is having more control over the course of your life, having the power to direct it in the ways that you want, rather than working for the whims of others.
Starting a small business is no small venture. Youll pay for it in sweat, working hard to move onward. But thats okay because entrepreneurs dont shrink from effort or retreat from a challenge. We aim to do big things.
While some humility is still important, that pride and recognition can boost your self-esteem. Why care? A review of research literature published by Psychological Science in the Public Interest found that self-esteem works some pretty great magic. It gives you:
No existing company does everything right. Waste and inefficiency do saddle the private sector, and beyond the balance sheet sits the simple fact that we havent yet invented everything that could improve the world. One reason to start a business, then, is to go after these problems.
Think about your everyday life. Is everything perfect? No. At least now and again, you encounter things that annoy, pester, and drain you. You wish there was some way to beat these issues, but there isnt, so you sigh, complain, and move on, hoping that someday it gets better. But if thats you today, it doesnt have to be, because each little annoyance you stumble into could be a business opportunity. Theres another approach:
For example, traditional Q-tips posed a safety problem to peoples ears, so one California team created the Oto-Tip, which aims to solve that problem (and netted them $77,000 in crowdfunding money to bring their company to life).
A few young men in the 1970s saw a problem with the difficulty and complexity of personal computing, so they tried to solve it by creating a new operating system. Today, we call that company Microsoft.
A successful business could earn you lots of money. Arianna Huffington, the founder of HuffingtonPost, has an estimated net worth of $100 million. Richard Branson, the entrepreneur behind Virgin, had a net worth of $4.3 billion. Then theres Bill Gates, who started Microsoft. Hes sitting at a nice $115 billion.
Money is a big reason that many people start businesses. The International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal study I mentioned earlier points out that, across the 29 countries examined, an average of 23% of entrepreneurs are in it (at least in part) to increase their wealth. While its a common motive, the percentage of entrepreneurs who embrace it varies between countries. Heres a sampling:
Of course, money isnt everything, so wealth isnt the only motivation that these entrepreneurs have. Its just one reason among many. Even if you do care a lot about money, its true that most people, even most successful entrepreneurs, will not reach the stratospheric wealth of Huffington, Branson, and Gates. But respectable amounts of money do matter, and might even make you happier.
Its said that money doesnt buy happiness, but that old adage doesnt quite jibe with modern research. Some scholars say that after a certain amount of income, more money doesnt make you happier. But even they conceded that up until that point, more money does help.
But this isnt the final say on the matter. A different set of researchers contends that there isnt a cutoff pointthat more income always makes you happier (or, at least, that whatever the cutoff is, we dont have substantial numbers of people whove reached it). The Wall Street Journal graphed the study results:
I think that these empirical findings, while interesting, underscore the fact that this issue isnt like a clear, crisp day. Theres a lot of fog, and you have to figure out what works for you, how you can best balance the drive for money with other parts of the good life.
Dont think that you need an MBA (most of the successful entrepreneurs profiled by Foundr dont have one). This isnt the corporate worldstarting your own business is a different critter, and in many cases, you can pick up the entrepreneurial skills you need as you go.
Just a bit ago, I mentioned the Journal of Business Venturing survey. It also found that education is a big reason that entrepreneurs go at it: 65% of the people interviewed said that they started their business, at least in part, to keep learning.
Why does learning fill so much of the plate here? Starting a business takes more than your idea. You need the skills to make it a reality and bring in customers. Entrepreneurship lets you learn those skills as you go and apply them along the way.
Since you probably cant be an expert in everything, you can also pay others to do some of these things (hey, us freelancers have to stay in business somehow). But the more you learn, the more you can do yourself.
All around the world, people are going back to school, taking online courses, mastering additional languages, etc. all in the spirit of growth and continual learning. With todays more complex business environment, learning is not just a nice thing to do it is essential for staying on top of things.
This obviously wont be your chief reason for starting a business, but it helps. As a small business owner, you may be able to get tax breaks that help your businessand even tax breaks that ultimately help you as an individual.
Since I live in the US (and the most readily available online reading focuses on the US), Ill focus on what the Americans reading could get for their taxes by starting a business. Heres the first bit, from the widely beloved IRS itself:
What this means, according to the Houston Chronicle, is that you might get to deduct things like magazine subscriptions, phone services, travel mileage, and membership in professional organizations. Heck, if you work in a home office, you might be able to swipe some of your rent off taxes. If you need something to run your business, then it might qualify for a deduction.
Sure, when you first start out, your business will be small. But thats not bad, because its often small businesses that create jobs. For example, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that small firms create 64% of new jobs in the US.
And lets not just look at the raw number of new jobs. Theres more to it. As the owner of a company, you could treat your employees well, create a stellar company culture, and make people feel like theyre involved in something thats worth it. Be the boss you wish you had (or, perhaps, emulate a great manager youve worked under).
I wouldnt be writing this article if Nathan hadnt created Foundr. I love this gig, and its an opportunity that never wouldve existed if Nathan hadnt started his business. These are the small things that make a difference in peoples lives.
One reason to start a business is so that your job can be something that thrills you. Most people would love to have work that centers on something they care deeply about. Its time to break out your passion.
Lets get real: not everything you enjoy could make a business that makes money. Lets use a silly example. I love watching The Colbert Report, but nobody will pay me to watch it. Even if the show wasnt ending, nobody would pay me to watch it.
Thats exciting. But its more than that because its also useful. Passion doesnt just make a business fulfillingit might make it successful. There isnt much research in this area, Ill admit, but a 2012 paper in the Human Resources Management Review suggests that the work that has been done shows that passion for the work has a direct, significant effect on company growth.
Entrepreneurship amounts to an ever-changing challenge. New things pop up, big goals loom ahead, and youve got to hustle, hustle, hustle. You only need to spend a bit of time in the blogospheres entrepreneurial niche to see that its an exciting environment.
These are metaphors that describe starting a business, and we can learn a lot from the metaphors we use. A study in the Journal of Business Venturing found that many of the metaphors we use to talk about starting a business are dynamic in nature, emphasizing the constant drive forward, the excitement of the process, and its creative nature.
Thats key: the excitement of the process. What the study points out is a reality that you can see for yourself if you read blogs about entrepreneurship, a reality that in many ways, starting a business isnt only about the company youre creating.
Theres likely been no better time to be an entrepreneur. You can reach global markets, use technology to have smaller and smarter back office operations, and all the while, continue to be nimble and create innovative products and services.
Theres a word for all this buying and selling on the Internetecommercea word whose importance has been magnified by the growth of online businesses. Its not here to sprint, pant, and die. Its here, marathon-like, for the long term.
The Internet also offers a host of tools that make starting a business easier. For instance, the power of the web lets you collect data on visitors to a company website, which you can analyze and use to inform A/B testing.
The article quoted above is titled 10 Tell-Tale Signs You Are Ready to Leave the Rat Race, but Im not sure we need an article about those signs. So many people feel worn down by their careers that weve invented this termrat raceto describe how futile it sometimes seems. Seriously, its in Urban Dictionary:
For many, the solution is to escape the rat race by starting their own business. Its a reason that differs from most of the previously listed ideas in one key way: in this case, youre starting a business not to get to something (money, passion, freedom, etc.), but to get away from something (the rat race).
Its what geographers and sociologists call a push factor. Some people are pushed into business by the crushing reality of the rat race. Alongside some of the other reasons Ive listed, it can be a powerful motivator.
This push factor is real. A whopping 40% of Australians are unhappy with their job. UK workers are more dissatisfied than workers in other European countries. Job satisfaction standsno, lays woundedat its lowest level in two decades.
A business of your own isnt easy or stress-free, to be sure. But its yours: the freedom, pride, and passion of entrepreneurship make it a great alternative to the rat race. Theres another part of all this, too.
2020 has seen hundreds of millions if not billions of people suddenly out of work or facing job jeopardy. Losing your job can be catastrophic, so its no wonder that millions upon millions are now turning to side-hustles and startups to keep their finances afloat during these uncertain times.
Meaning, or purpose, matters. It differs from happiness, which I talked a little bit about earlier, in that happiness is made of moment-to-moment pleasures, while meaning stems from an overarching sense of purpose.
Commitment strengthens that sense of purpose, and ownership strengthens commitment. In one neat experiment, researchers ran an experiment that divided the test subjects into two groups of people for a lottery. Members of one group were randomly assigned a number for the lottery, while members of the other group got to write down a number of their choice.
When the researchers offered to buy back the lottery tickets, the people who had chosen their own number demanded, on average, five times as much money for their ticket, even though their choice didnt give them a statistically higher shot at winning the lottery.
Freedom and pride and excitement and commitment collide to make meaningthat sense of purpose, of drive, of overwhelming worth. I think we can agree that a meaningful life is a desirable life. But if you dont buy that, consider the fact that a life without meaning can actually be unhealthy.
A team of researchers looked at gene expression, which is when the information coded in a gene is used to make a protein or some other cellular product. In a way, gene expression turns on certain genes. When youre under a lot of stress and adversity, your body turns on more inflammatory genes. What the scientists found built on that understandingand twisted it in new directions.
When looking at the gene expression profiles of the adults in the study, the researchers saw that high levels of happiness, just like adversity, turned on inflammatory genes. The problem with that is huge because they noted that this kind of undesirable inflammation can lead to heart disease, brain disease, and cancer.
But the findings arent all sky-is-falling awful. While self-indulgent happiness alone might spell bad news, the scientists found that high levels of meaning clamped down on inflammatory genes. Striding through life with purpose can boost your health.
Is this whole innovation thing nothing more than one buzzword and a pair of dice? Nope. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitors 2013 Global Report found that lots of entrepreneurs innovate in entirely new ways. Heres a graph from the report:
Some people fear starting a business because they dont have trainloads of cash to dump into it. While capital helps, however, you dont always need a huge investment to launch a successful venture. Credit cards, loans, and venture capital arent the only answer. Theres bootstrapping.
A situation in which an entrepreneur starts a company with little capital. An individual is said to be bootstrapping when he or she attempts to found and build a company from personal finances or from the operating revenues of the new company.
Besides letting you avoid loans and begging, bootstrapping gives you independence. It might be harder to start if youre funding your own business, but once you get going you wont be beholden to anyone who gave you moneybecause you provided all the money needed.
Bootstrapping constitutes a reason to start a business because, along with the Internet, it lowers the barrier of entry. A lack of money doesnt have to stop you, and because you know about bootstrapping, you can think consciously about how to do it.
Even entrepreneurs who dont know about bootstrapping often use it. A 2012 CEFAGE working paper reports that even though 83% of the Portuguese small businesses they interviewed hadnt heard the term bootstrapping before, all of them used at least one bootstrapping technique.
Then theres the Gates Foundation, created by Bill and Melinda Gates to address problems in the US and worldwide. Each year, the organization pours billions of dollars into fighting HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria; creating clean sanitation in the developing world; working to decrease maternal mortality and boost healthy childbirth worldwide; and supporting public libraries around the globe. Since its founding, the Gates Foundation has granted over $31.6 billion to charitable causes.
Okay, you might think, thats all awesome, but those are big players: these are people who found wild success and are rolling in the dough. Fair enough. But you dont need to net billions with a business to use the money for good.
A 2010 Ernst & Young survey of entrepreneurial award winners is a good starting point. It found that 89% of entrepreneurs donate money to charity. Whats more, 61% think that theyre more likely to give to charity because theyre an entrepreneur, and 70% also donate their time to good causes.
So far Ive talked about reasons that might prompt you to start a more conventional commercial business. But thats not the full extent of entrepreneurship. If you embrace the idea of doing good through business but want to focus even more exclusively on that, then social entrepreneurship may be right for you.
Social entrepreneurship is a term that means different things to different people, but I like to take a broad view of it. The kinds of businesses and organizations that social entrepreneurs form, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, range from purely social efforts to ventures that mix social and commercial motives to simultaneously running social and commercial organizations that have complementing goals.
Then there are differences in who social enterprises are trying to help. The most common beneficiaries of social enterprises are young people, but theres so much more going on. Heres a quick graph from the study:
(The percentages add up to more than 100 because many organizations are aiming to benefit people who fit into more than one group. For instance, a nonprofit aiming to help disabled youth and their families would fit into three of the above categories.)
Crowdfunding is a relatively recent innovation in how businesses can raise money to get started. It occurs when a large number of people donate to a business project, with each person giving a small amount of money.
It happens on websites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and ArtistShare. Business founders create projects, which include a webpage explaining the product idea to visitors, who may choose to become backers by giving money. Most crowdfunding campaigns give rewards to backers, like a copy of the final product once its made.
Instead of relying on a few big investors, you can go straight to the market and ask mass numbers of people to breathe life into your idea. Crowdfunding helps businesses hop over that initial financial hurdle.
Crowdfunding is also a good reason to start a business because you can choose a crowdfunding platform that fits your needs. While all crowdfunding sites share the same core idea, they do differ in certain areas so make sure to compare notes.
Some will grow big, and some will stay small. Some will become a new career, and some will remain a side gig. Some will push the boundaries of entrepreneurial innovation, and some will quietly do conventional things in ways that make a difference.
Just look at Nathan Chan, the founder, and publisher of Foundr Magazine. He started a little web publication thats grown, giving him the chance to interview big-name people whove accomplished a lotRichard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Dave Goldberg (and the list goes on).
These are experiences that Nathan never wouldve had without launching a business. Thats why you should think about starting a business of your own. You dont know what opportunities will soar your way.
Do your homework! Make sure that you research every aspect of your prospective investment. Also, be ready to put in major effort. You need to make sure you have the will it takes to get the job done correctly and effectively, and if that means working a 12 hour day to get something done, there is no way around it.
You might think that youll never be able to execute your plans. You might think that nobody will ever buy from you. You might think that if you try to start a business, it will shatter into a million pieces, getting you nowhere. But if we dont at least try to start something, well never know if those fears are real or not.
Maybe, as you read this post, you drafted your own list, a little screed offering 21 reasons against starting a business. Maybe not. Either way is fine because whether or not you start a business is your own decision. You have to weigh the pros and the cons and move from there, all while remembering that you wont know what will happen if you dont dive in.
The beauty of entrepreneurship is that it lets you seize on the freedom to make your own decisions and control your own destiny in a way that conventional jobs do not. And in making your own decisions, you can make your own reasons.
Thank you for telling me that starting my own business can challenge my entrepreneurship skills and let me exercise my own freedom, pride, and passion while making money. Im just about to finish college but based on my older siblings experience, Im not sure if I really want to work in a corporate environment. Id ask around if there are some consultants I can talk to regarding business planning and see if it is for me.
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