9 Ways How NOT To Start A Business

A journey that begins with a wrong step seldom ends at the right destination.

Becoming your own boss has sort of gained a global appeal. These days many people start up their own businesses for virtually any reason. Somehow it doesn’t seem to count anymore what led people to go into business, going into business has suddenly become the new mantra of the 21st century.


Obviously, there are several factors owing to this global trend some of which are; the emergence of the Internet, the unreliability of job security, the God-like attention given to successful entrepreneurs, the rise of the knowledge worker and so on.


In the end, it’s not the number of businesses that are being started that matters, but the number of businesses that thrives.


So, in this article I will be x-raying some of the ways how NOT to start a business so that in the end, you can have the right mindset needed to start a business.


I welcome you to join me in this exciting journey and as you go through this unusual article I want you to constantly bear this in mind, failure in business is usually as a result of how you start. It is the beginning of a thing that often predicts the end.


As always, I encourage you to share this unusual information with as many entrepreneurs as possible and don’t forget to share your thoughts and opinion in the comment box below. There’s no way you’re going to read this, without having one or two things to say; trust me, it’s just too unusual for you to keep quiet.



1. Don’t Start a Business for the sake of MONEY

Top on the list of reasons why people go into business is the strong desire to amass wealth. I have never known of a more ineffective way to think about business than this. As unpopular as it might sound, most business failures stem from this singular fact alone.


Why? Because the moment making money becomes your primary focus as an entrepreneur, delivering value which is the foundation of effective business practice becomes secondary. And when this happens, no matter how great your business is, it automatically goes on a downward spin.


Nothing kills a business faster than putting money first before adding value. So when next you’re thinking about starting up a business, I suggest you lose every possible thought about making money and focus entirely on delivering consistently superior value.


Trust me, I’m talking from experience (of other people), starting your own business for the purpose of making money is a sure fire way of being highly indebted and having cardiac arrest!

2. Don’t Start a Business because you LOST your job

Closely related to the issue of money is going into business because you lost your job. As you’ve probably realized, this is how many people end up as entrepreneurs. At first glance, there might not be anything wrong with this approach of starting up a business.


But taking a closer look will reveal a vital truth; people who lose their jobs are often driven by fear and to start a business because you are afraid is absolutely disastrous. The implication is often enormous; top on the list is that you will never exercise the due diligence starting a new business entails.


Why? Because the fear of living without a regular income since you no longer have a job will keep haunting you and eventually start making you place unrealistic financial expectations on your new business venture.


Second on the list is that you are emotionally unstable the first few months of losing a job, especially when you didn’t see it coming. The disappointment can be disheartening, the more reason why you shouldn’t go into business with such mind frame.


Why? Because in the world of business, disappointments are a natural prerequisite for success. Meaning, the more disappointments you get, the closer you are to success.

3. Don’t Start a Business because you HAVE money

I know you’re probably startled about this one. You certainly didn’t see it coming. Well, it’s as wrong as starting a business for the sake of making money. How? Here’s the thing most people with money don’t realize, it doesn’t take money alone to make a business work.


Starting and running a business will cost you more than all the money you think you have. There are just too many things a business will demand from you that money can’t even buy, for example; how much does it cost to buy the passion needed to build a SIGNIFICANT (unique and useful) business?


Have you ever seen passion being offered for sale? In fact, no university or institute of learning can even teach you passion (not even Harvard or Stanford J). Here’s the truth, having money is good, but it’s not sufficient enough to make you want to start a business. Starting a business requires gut, passion, ingenuity, creativity, resilience and so many other personal character traits that all the money in the world is insufficient to buy!


4. Don’t Start a Business because you want TIME Freedom

The thought of not having to wake up early and rush off to work can be very enticing to would be entrepreneurs. But take it from me, I’ve been in the game now for 4 years; the fact that you didn’t wake up early and rushed off to work doesn’t mean you are not at work. Being an entrepreneur means working all of the time even in your sleep. That your fantasy of time freedom will naturally go sore once you choose to become your own boss.


How do I mean? You see, it’s not that you wouldn’t have more time to yourself when you’re an entrepreneur, certainly you would. But the irony of it all is this; that time freedom is for you to do some creative work and not for you to be idle and indulge yourself in some unproductive activity.


You left your job to have enough time to do what you really care about in life, that’s all the definition of time freedom you’ll ever get – having enough time to make a SIGNIFICANT contribution with your life to the world. True entrepreneurs hardly stay idle indulging in pleasurable activities just because they have time freedom.


They are always in the creative process, picking up clues here and there of how they can make the world a better place by utilizing their time, money and life for something worthwhile.


5. Don’t Start a Business because OTHERS are doing it

Anything that is popular has a way of being highly contagious. People just literally jump at it without any logical explanation. Believe it or not, this is how so many people ended up in the world of business. Since everyone they know is quitting their 9-to-5 jobs to go start their own thing, why shouldn’t they do the same?


The down side of going with the bandwagon is this; you’ll lack the staying power critical to survival in the world of business. At first, the thought of being your own boss can be very enticing, but sooner or later you’ll realize it’s not a bed of roses. And when this reality sets in, you’re the only one who would be left alone to figure out a way of making it through the stormy days.


So start a business because it’s what your soul desires and not what the society or your peers desires for you. Starting your own business is not about boosting your personal ego or winning a popularity contest, it’s a personal decision born out of an internal conviction!


6. Don’t Start a Business because you HATE working for others

Now here comes the tricky one; starting a business because you hate working for others. After wanting to make money, this is another popular reason people give for going into business. Listen, as popular as it may seem, here’s the truth; 99% of popular things are either totally wrong or mere misconceptions. That you hate working for others is no guarantee that you will succeed or enjoy working for yourself.


In fact, there’s more work to do working for yourself than you ever thought you did working for others. So if you hate working for others, you might just as well hate working for yourself. What it turns out to be sincerely is this; you simply don’t like work in general and this is why starting your own business is the last thing you should ever think of doing.


Why? Because business is the domain of unlimited work; there are no working hours like your regular 9-to-5 job. Welcome to the 24/7/365 days a year working schedule!

7. Don’t Start a Business just LIKE everybody else (Differentiate or Die)

In my field of business development, I have seen so many people go into business just because they saw somebody else succeeding in it. This is a higher form of going into business because others are doing (point #5 above). You observe a business and simply go make a clone of such business. So what do we get? The same kind of business but with different brand names.


I don’t get it; “Why would any right thinking person choose to be a duplicate of another when it’s absolutely possible to excel being an original?” As a matter of fact, you have higher chances of succeeding going into business as an innovator than being a duplicator.


The business terrain is already overcrowded filled with countless number of companies doing almost the same thing you have in mind to do. Unlike in the past before the advent of the internet where you had only local or national competitors, such is no longer the case in this age of globalization. Now your competitors are all over the world and just one click away from your local or national target market.


So why would you want to build a business just like your neighbour? Here’s the deal; if your business doesn’t stand for something SIGNIFICANT (unique and useful) there’s no need repeating what others have already done and giving it another name.


Meaning, if there’s nothing positively unusual about your business, don’t bother going into business to offer the same old milk but now in a new brand skin or container. Doing this is the fastest way of route to extinction. In other words, differentiate or die!


8. Don’t Start a Business without SUFFICIENT planning

Business is a highly complex activity and therefore requires adequate planning. It’s been statistically proven that inadequate planning is top among the reasons why most businesses fail. I’m sure you already know that by now (that’s why it’s the second to the last point.


Why then did I include it in the list? Because most times, the problem is not about what we don’t know but more of what we do know but never put to use or practice. There’s a phrase that best captures the essence of planning and it goes like this; “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”. And a key element of planning is having a long term perspective of things or as it is popularly called; seeing the big picture. Which intentionally, happens to be the subject matter of the next point to which we now turn.


9. Don’t Start a Business that cannot OUTLIVE you

One of the underlying principles of the Accounting profession is called; “going concern” which means that a business must be in perpetuity. That is, a business is meant to exist as far as there’s still a need to be met. It’s just basic human nature; I mean who wants to raise a child only to watch the child die before their eyes? In the same regard, you should never start a business that has a short lifespan.


Starting a business from a short term or temporary viewpoint, as far as I’m concerned is the definition of selfishness. Why build something temporary when you have the potential to create something eternal? The joy of any creator is to see his/her creation rise above their widest dream and outlive the very existence of the creator.


So here’s the ultimate question for you;


“does your business have the capacity to outlive you?”




“Would your business still be in existence long after you’ve gone?”


Never start or go into a new business without asking and providing answer to either of these questions.

What then is the RIGHT way to start a business?

It’s in the bid to help you answer these two questions above that I now offer the only right way to start a business.

Start a business because you have something SIGNIFICANT (unique & useful) to contribute to the benefit of the human race!




Because a business is a tool that entrepreneurs create in order to make a SIGNIFICANT (unique & useful) contribution to the world by addressing a particular problem plaguing the human race.


In case you’re still wondering how to use your business as a tool for contributing something SIGNIFICANT (unique & useful) to the human race, here’s an unusual article that takes you through the process;


“How to build the greatest company in the world”


Thank you for your time.


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  1. John Mak says

    This is a very good post!

    Most of people watch advertisements like “MAKE NOW $10.000 IN A MONTH” and they think that it is easy to earn an income like this. Even in the internet marketing business needs a lot of work and effort in order to make a decent income. People don’t realize that they can start something and think “long-term”. Most of them need everything “RIGHT NOW” without paying any price. There is not such thing as “something for nothing”.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


    • says

      Thanks John for joining us here to discuss business and entrepreneurship. I absolutely share your views too about how people just jump into business with the mindset of hitting the gold mine within a short period of time. I think the flashy and flamboyant showcase of the media of successful entrepreneurs has made people to only associate owning a business with amassing so much wealth. While I don’t have an issue with amassing wealth, I only ask: what must you do in order to amass such wealth?

      Welcome to naijapreneur! So nice to have your feedback.

  2. says

    I agree 100% with all the above points.
    #1 is the reason most people start a business and in most of the cases they fail. Another thing to consider when starting a business is “What is does?”
    One should not start a business that does not solve a significant problem. For example, I have a friend who has coded a full search engine. I advised against it(yes, he is talented but he could have used his programming for anything with less competition) but he made it and not, he has been looking for a sponsor for almost half a year. Why solve the search problem while Google and Bing have fixed most of it? Go for something else. Something unique and as you say, something significant.

    • says

      I know a lot of budding entrepreneurs who also act like your friend, they seem to have a penchant for wanting to re-event the wheel. As funny as it sounds, I see the same pattern online too among webpreneurs. There can never be another problogger, or copyblogger or social media examiner. Yet so many people feel comfortable playing second fiddle. Find a niche among the writers on a popular concept or subject. Don’t just come and re-invent the wheel, do something uniquely yours.

      Thanks for your valuable insight Ishan.

  3. Anne Sales | Coupon Codes says

    Yes, Tito, you have just opened my eyes. It looked like you were talking about me but as I read on I found it really bursting with more important information, tips, knowledge, and everything. This is a stellar article. Kudos!

  4. says

    Where was this post before I did all 9 of these things to start my business. :-) These are some outstanding truths that everyone who ever considered starting a business MUST read. Thanks for passing along this wisdom it will save me a lot of time in the future.

    • says

      Better late than ever Frank. It’s good you now know better, your next business adventure would be a lot more fulfilling since by then, you would have gotten some of this issues sorted out.
      Thanks for the comments, good to see you around once again, been quite a while :)

  5. says

    These tips are excellent Tito. Personally I’ve seen successful businesses start by some of the ways listed to not start a business…and they are very successful. But what it comes down to in the end is that they have something significant to add to the world. Here’s an example – I have a friend who was laid off of his job and couldn’t find a job after searching for 6 months…this lead him to dig deep to figure out how he could go into business for himself. Beyond money, his biggest driver was wanting to establish freedom of his time and not have to report to anyone else. These “wants” lead to his motivation, which now generates him 500k per year in his fitness based business.
    Once he got stated, he realized that the purpose was bigger than him making money or establishing freedom – but to help others – which only increased his success.

    I don’t believe that this story is a rarity because I personally know a handful of successful business owners who have made it with a similar mentality – some even with no regards to others. But I think the points that you make are golden for anyone looking to start out. It’s great guidance to create a basis from…for the odds are much higher when the laws of the universe are in tact – reaping and sowing (contributing). Thanks for sharing. I hope many many many people to to view this article because it’s highly valuable and in touch with the best method to get started. Thanks man!

    • says

      Thanks JK for this awesome contribution. In the end like you concluded, it is focusing on being SIGNIFICANT that truly matters more than all the money acquired. Or else, all the money in the world may not be able to save a business that has lost its relevance in the marketplace as a result of not making a difference in the lives of those it serves. The whole concept of branding hinges on this principle – you will only be as relevant in business based on the level of difference you are making. The best brands, resonate deeply with their target market because of what they represent -SIGNIFICANCE.

      The essence of this article is to let people see that, the best way to make profit in business is to be different and make a difference. No matter the market or economic conditions, your brand will still be a force to reckon with.

  6. nazimwarriach says

    Hi Tito,
    Your article is really very helpful for any person who wants to startup his business. I am also in the process of starting a new business and these points will work for me just like a Guide. But just one thing, The main purpose of any business is after all to earn money then how can a businessman can ignore it? I think we should prefer quality of our services but we cannot ignore our profit.

    • says

      Hi Nazim,

      The whole point is not to refuse making profit, not at all. No business can survive not to talk more of becoming SIGNIFICANT without making profits. Like you concluded yourself, it is preferring to put Value first and profit will naturally follow.

      Thank you for being a part of this discussion on naijapreneur! I really would love to see you again.

  7. Susanna Hess @Internet Video Marketing says

    Hey Tito,

    Loved the spin on why not to start a business. Although most people who start businesses do it for the very reasons you’ve just stated NOT to do it, I think you’ve made some truly valid points.

    You’re right, start with something to contribute and grow it from there.


    • says

      Hello Sussana,

      Good to have you join in on this discussion. I liked the way you put it,

      “start with something to contribute and grow it from there.”

      That really does sum it all up. Thank you for the insightful input.

  8. Peter J says

    These are some great tips Tito,
    I think i managed to avoid jumping in with the main aim of making money, but there is always that thought in the back of your mind of what money you could make. Loved the tips, and although I’ve avoided most of them, there are many people caught right in them.

  9. samuel says

    Awesome post bro,
    You must understand why you want to start a business, and you must be ready to give the game a life! love the No 9 tip. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • says

      Hello Sam,
      thanks for the comment. I guess the whole essence of the article is that # 9, focusing on building something really extraordinary that can outlive you the entrepreneur who foresaw the dream.

  10. says

    Tito: Great tips and insight. I think what really hit home for me was what you said about not starting a business to try and gain more freedom. I think it is a trap many of us can fall into. However, when we do launch a business or make a career move, we have to work even harder and be more disciplined and dedicated than we were before. Great information and advice.

    • says

      Hello Sibyl,
      Thank you for joining us on this discussion. The essence of the article is to help people see that most reasons for going into business are illusive on the long run. Like you just pointed out yourself, the time freedom is not what they have painted it to be. In my opinion, entrepreneurs are the most hardest working people alive. They work even while asleep because ideas are majorly birthed while sleeping. They don’t have regular working hours like the average employee. But many don’t realize this until they go into their own business and see that reality is different from fantasy.

  11. says

    This is a fantastic article! I got so caught up in each one of your tips. The irony of it is that these are probably the exact reasons why many people start businesses. I like what you said about contributing something significant to the human race–be good to people and they will be good back to you. I have also heard it said that if you do something you love, the money will follow. :-)

    • says

      Hello Lisa,
      Glad you found the article useful. Without that desire to make a SIGNIFICANT contribution for the greater good of humanity, all that we do as entrepreneurs will be worthless and can never bring true fulfillment.

  12. wisemon says

    Awesome article man! You really have great insight and surely a future GURU. This is surely a great guideline to follow but being an entrepreneur is really no different than being an athlete or doctor ect…. you have all types of people in both professions and different things motivate different people, it depends on the make up, life experience and what works for you factoring in both strengths and weaknesses of a person. Remember. Basketball great MJ http://www.bestinspirationalquotes4u.com/people/michaeljordan.html ……. I really believe little mark was power hungry when he created /stole face book. Just as his new buddy bill was power hungry when he created/ stole from apple, who stole from xerox. Not to glorify these guys but they tappped into something within themselves and used that force to make it happen. Long story short know you and find what works for you ,there are no right or wrong answers ……..just your own personal answer. Follow your own path and please have a conscience.

    • says

      Hello Wisemon,
      Thanks for your comment. And welcome to naijapreneur, hope to see more of you around? Your input about following your own path and having a conscience is so right on point. Nothing can be more true, because at the end of it all, it is doing what matters to you for the reasons that best suits you that makes the entrepreneurial journey worthwhile or not. The nine tips above are just guidelines to aid your mindset as you embark on the journey.

  13. Elise says

    Wow, incredible points you made here Tito. Sadly, I think a lot of people DO start a business for any one or combination of the points you mentioned above, and they just don’t want to admit it to themselves. The TIME Freedom makes me want to slap myself on the forehead every time! I HATE IT when people say they want to be an entrepreneur so they can have more time to themselves. I mean, yes it’s possible, but only after you’ve spent a few years working your butt off, sometimes for 10-12 hours per day or longer! Ha! People have crazy expectations.

    Thanks a lot, Tito. I think everyone needs to read this for a nice cold dose of reality in running a business.

    • says

      Hello Elise,
      Thank you very much for your contribution on this post.
      It’s funny how people think time freedom will happen automatically. I haven’t met an entrepreneur who is not a hardworker. In most cases, they turn in more hours weekly than the regular employees. Take for instance we bloggers for example, look at the number of hours it takes to create, connect and consume contents in order to build our business. Like you rightly said, time freedom takes a whole lot of time and effort before it can be achieved. And even at that, because entrepreneurs are change agents at the core, they are in pursuit of another idea sooner or later.

  14. ABIOLA HASSAN says

    In my own opinion, i think the best way to get started as a businessman is to draw a good business plan and action plan. Doing business can be very lucrative if you take with much seriousness. The problem with most businessmen out there is that they take business as hobby rather than a REAL BUSINESS. If you must succeed as a businessman you should differentiate between the two.

    Therefore, in order to have concrete knowledge of Anchor Tag: http://afff19rbu0-y5xaiz8oec7bk5z.hop.clickbank.net/How To Start Business Toolkit=”_top”, this would be of great help for you to get started.

  15. David says

    Wow, very well written! The only true reason described exactly why I want to start my business.

    I learned to write music and play the guitar perfectly, because i thought i want to be a rock star…but then i realized i love to create music because I WANT TO TELL A STORY, I WANT TO GIVE SOMETHING. And I always loved games and making them, I always loved to write stories and I have a good sense of business.

    I just didn’t put 1 and 1 together for some reason. But now I know I can merge all these unique combinations of talents I have, together and make my own game company and create those games me and my friends would’ve loved to play if we would still be kids :)

    but first I’m going to finish my Interactive Entertainment studies ^^
    although I won’t care if my future employees to have a diploma or similar thing, what I will ask of them is to show me their talents and dedication. Useless paper is useless ;D

  16. says

    so incredibly rleevant! as a first-year wedding photog, i am blessed with the advent of so many resources that can help me accomplish the purposes of my business. and, at the same time, those resources can become distractions. my wife and i have decided to turn off’ these distractions by keeping our weekends 100% computer-free just one step we are taking towards clarity at the beginning of our journey.thanks so much for sharing!


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