Close to 4.5 million new businesses were started in the United States in 2020, making it the highest year on record. New business start-ups jumped 24% from 2019 and more than 50% about the 2010-2019 average. Half a million businesses were started in January 2021 alone.
One of the effects of the COVID pandemic is a desire for people to leave their jobs and do something independently.
As a manufacturing business owner in my sixth year of a start-up, I want to caution those beginning down this path.
Starting a business is challenging, and success is not guaranteed.
You are more likely to fail than succeed.
So, why do millions of people each year ignore the statistics and become entrepreneurs?
Because they see successful entrepreneurs, and they think they can do it as well.
They see the “hustle porn” on social media telling them that they too can have a fancy car and a private jet if they just work hard.
They see people like Phil Knight, a former college athlete who took a desire to find the perfect running shoe and built it into Nike, a global brand worth more than $280 billion.
They think, “if he can do it, I can too.”
The problem is that every entrepreneur underestimates the immensity of the task.Every entrepreneur underestimates the immensity of the task. Click To Tweet
How do I know? I did as well.
As aspiring entrepreneurs, we only see the final version of Nike. We have no idea what it took Phil Knight and his team to get it there.
That is until Phil Knight told us about it in his book, Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike.
This is an incredible dive into what it truly takes to start a company. In this book, we learn that Phil Knight’s journey from a crazy idea of importing Japanese running shoes to building a successful, global brand was anything but a short story.
He faced cash flow problems, lawsuits, unfaithful partners, government investigations, media scrutiny, employees leaving for the competition, and the loss of endorsing athletes.
Problems every entrepreneur will face.
Nike is the story of an overnight success that took more than 18 years.
The lesson you will take away from this book is that starting a business is incredibly arduous, and only the strong, persistent, and lucky will survive.Starting a business is incredibly arduous, and only the strong, persistent, and lucky will survive. Click To Tweet
One quote that struck me from the book is Knight talking with his team after struggling for years to get the company off the ground.
He said, “The cowards never started, and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen. Us.”
If you’re thinking of starting a business, you probably know it won’t be an overnight success. But are you prepared for 2, 5, or 10 years of continuous struggle?
Knight and his team battled for close to two decades to get Nike off the ground.
For me, there is no better book to understand real entrepreneurship than Shoe Dog.
I highly recommend you read it cover-to-cover before you even think about registering your new company.
Start-up life is gratifying, but it’s not for the faint of heart.
[THANA PRASONGSIN/GETTY IMAGES]