startup confidence

By Rieva Lesonsky

Are you scared to start a business? You might be the only one feeling that way. In the past 12 months, startup business owners’ confidence levels have hit record highs, according to the most recent Kauffman/LegalZoom Startup Confidence Index.

A whopping 91 percent of startup entrepreneurs in the quarterly poll are either confident or very confident that their companies will be more profitable in the next 12 months. Perhaps more important, they’re also confident in the economy as a whole, with 82 percent predicting it will either improve or stay the same in the next 12 months.

More than half of entrepreneurs expect consumer demand to grow moderately or significantly in the next 12 months. Hiring plans are also on the rise, with 45 percent saying they will add staff in the next 12 months, up from 43 percent in the last quarter of 2013.

If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not to start a business, one reason could be lack of confidence. Are you second-guessing your business idea, worried about the economy or holding onto the safety of the familiar (like your job and paycheck)?

I’m all for writing business plans and doing your market research—it’s crucial to know what you’re getting into before you start a business. There’s a big difference between confidence and cockiness. Too many startup entrepreneurs get into business assuming they’ve got a unique product or business model, assuming they’ll get financing, and assuming they’ll learn as they go even if they have no experience in the industry they’ve chosen. Sadly, most of these people are doomed to fail.

But at the opposite extreme, too many would-be startup business owners dilly-dally for years, tweaking their concept and refining their business plan without ever stepping foot into the waters of entrepreneurship.

Somewhere in between these two points lies confidence—the kind that comes from doing your homework, realistically assessing the pros and cons of startup and taking the necessary steps to give your new business the best possible chance of success.

Like diving off the high dive, launching a business is scary no matter how much preparation you do. But without risk, there’s no reward. And make no mistake: The rewards of startup are huge. In another survey that polled owners of existing businesses, 77 percent say if they had it to do all over again, they would start their business; the same percentage say they would recommend owning a small business to their children.

What do experienced entrepreneurs like best about owning a small business?

  • being their own boss (79 percent)
  • independence (77 percent)
  • being able to make strategic decisions (77 percent)
  • relationships with customers (73 percent)

Asked what they would do if they could change one thing about their businesses, the number-one answer was “I would have started it earlier.”

What are you waiting for? If you’re considering starting a business, it sure sounds like the time is now. Go on, jump in—the water’s fine.