This is an exciting period of time to be an entrepreneur. There has been an increase in the number of entrepreneurs who have successfully turned their passions into a fully-functioning, thriving business – some even managing to do it in short periods of time. Funding for startups is also more substantial than ever before, with more alternative options that are replacing the traditional small business loans of the past.
It has been said that we are in the “golden age” of entrepreneurship. What this means is that there are more opportunities available for entrepreneurs to build startups that actually have a significant chance of being successful. This is not, however, to imply that entrepreneurship is easy. It is still a very challenging pursuit, filled with hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and unpredictability. Many small businesses still don’t make it past their first year.
There are so many positive things about startup culture to embrace, but it’s important to recognize the challenges that we still have yet to overcome. If not acted upon, these 3 issues could ruin the progress we have seen so far:
1. A lack of diversity.
There has been some progress in entrepreneurial diversity over the years. For example, since 1997, the number of African American women starting their own businesses increased by over 322 percent, officially recognizing them as the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. While this growth showcases that more minorities are creating a place for themselves within the entrepreneurial world, the numbers are still very disproportionate when compared to the number of white male entrepreneurs.
This is dangerous because it limits the perspectives that are available to the community, which also limits growth.
2. A focus on repeating ideas rather than creating new ones.
After reading the success stories of certain companies, there has been an onslaught of people who, instead of using that inspiration towards their own business ideas, have chosen to piggyback off of the prosperity of others by repeating their success stories. This hinders their growth because they are now competing to grow in a territory that is already full of similar companies. This void in new, innovative ideas being brought to the forefront is dangerous because we are not creating additional products or services that are serving to help sustain our culture and benefit us as a country.
3. The negative connotations around the word “failure.”
Failure is a nasty word and we use it with such negativity. People fear failing because they believe that it defines their worth. Some entrepreneurs are hesitant to even attempt to build their own companies, while fear causes others to take very few risks. This is because the meaning of failure is associated as being permanent. Failure should be celebrated because it provides us with lessons that allow us to propel ourselves forward. Learning from these mistakes is how we can continue to grow and prosper.
As entrepreneurs, we need to come together to combat these challenges that our startup culture currently faces.