December 15, 2017
Access to capital. Burdensome regulations. Finding great talent. Ability to source manufacturing partners. Unfavorable financial terms from buyers.
The obstacles facing small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs are stark.
But at a recent symposium that brought together small business leaders, successful entrepreneurs, academic professionals, government leaders and others, the biggest challenge to starting a business was identified as something much more basic; fear of failure.
Hosted by HSN and the University of Tampa, the symposium included nearly thirty small business leaders for a morning of conversation about “Cultivating Small Businesses in the 21st Century.” The event took place in Washington DC in mid-November, during National Entrepreneurs month, and was sponsored by Quirky.
Participants agreed fear of failure is natural. “No one wants to fail. And when talking about entrepreneurs – most of who start with nothing but an idea and passion that is unique as they are – failure can feel more personal” said Lilly Gil Valetta, CEO & Cofounder C1EN+ and CulturIntel.
Kevin Moore, Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Tampa, asks all his students to list the barriers of starting their own company. “The number one thing that comes up is fear of failure. Hesitating to go into entrepreneurship, and especially our young females, is very real,” said Moore.
Yet still, fear of failure can be healthy too. JJ Ramberg, who moderated the symposium and is the host of MSNBC’s “Your Business”, thinks the fear of failure is healthy. “I think fear of failure is kind of smart for right now. Successful entrepreneurs have become idolized like rock stars and I think it’s important for students to understand it is scary, and it can be hard. That’s a healthy attitude instead of thinking ‘I’m just going to come up with something and be the next Mark Zuckerberg’.
While everyone agreed fear was the greatest thing holding entrepreneurs back, they also agreed information and knowledge was the key to unlocking that fear.
“That’s what HSN’s American Dreams Academy is all about, giving people the opportunity to get out there with a big umbrella of knowledge. Knowledge is key,” said Bob Circosta, HSN’s original host and one of the people who helped create the multi-billion dollar TV home shopping industry.
The American Dreams Academy is an interactive, educational and experiential two-day scholarship supported summit for emerging entrepreneurs looking to launch or expand their businesses.
HSN and The University of Tampa’s John P. Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, Sykes College of Business, are hosting quarterly academies across the United States as part of HSN’s American Dreams initiative.
The first Academy took place in Washington, DC in November and the next one is in Tampa, FL in January 2018. The Academies are sponsored by Quirky, a free community-led invention platform that brings real people’s ideas to life. The Academies consist of two full days of instructional, informational and educational lessons designed to help entrepreneurs understand important lessons in the areas of manufacturing, legal, quality assurance, branding, marketing, pitching/presenting concepts, and social media.
Read more about the American Dreams Academy and how you can participate here.