Entrepreneurship Study

Knowledge Gaps & Process Barriers

1) It’s All about Customer Acquisition

Customer acquisition is the biggest problem for both existing companies and startups.

Acquiring customers is more of an obstacle than access to capital. However, the majority of existing entrepreneurship programs focus on access to capital through small business lending programs, venture capital, or incubator programs.

2) Inoperable Business Plans

The SBA and commercial lenders will promote the writing of business plans as a key step along the entrepreneurial journey. However, the business plan is not a useful tool that will actually help launch a successful company. A business and a startup are two very different things. It doesn’t make sense to ask an entrepreneur or startup to plan as if they were an existing business. It is a hypothetical exercise that doesn’t address all the aspects of starting and building a business from scratch. Business plans are written for businesses and a startup is not a business yet.

The results of the survey indicate that writing a business plan was not a major challenge. However, a good business plan should address market research, marketing, and customer acquisition which were all rated higher as a challenge or obstacle by participants.

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