In my experience of starting businesses, you often hear a lot of chatter about the dos and don’ts of creating a startup. But how much of that is true?
In this post, we will debunk ten of the most common business myths that could set you up to fail when starting your business.
If you’re more of a watcher than a reader, check out this video by Jack Delosa which uncovers 5 of the biggest business myths.
Everyone Gets Startup Captial
We’ve all seen at least one clip from Dragon’s Den or Shark Tank where an entrepreneur receives a large investment into their business.
While more money than ever before is being invested in startups, the money is not evenly distributed meaning that only a handful of startups are getting investment.
From my experience, unless you’re trying to be the next Silicon Valley startup that takes over the world, you probably don’t need startup capital. By working as a freelancer and saving up a few thousand dollars, you can easily bootstrap your own startup in the vast majority of cases.
If you’re not convinced, check out our 10-minute guide to bootstrapping your startup, or see our guide to financing your startup if you do need to raise capital to start your business.
Entrepreneurs Are Free From Obligation
A common reason that people decide to start working on their own business is to acquire the freedom of not having a boss and being able to choose where and when they work.
While these are definitely some perks of running your own business, entrepreneurs exchange the demands of their boss for the demands of customers, investors and business circumstances. These parties have a significant influence on the company’s trajectory, and failing to heed their input can result in a loss of funding, revenue, and support.
In my case, after I launched CodePoster, I found that I’d exchanged one boss at work for hundreds of bosses in each of my customers. Every time the service went down or did something unexpected, the buck stopped with me and I had to work on fixing the application at any time of day.
While over time you build processes to automatically deal with incidents and sort out most of the common issues, especially at the start, if you’re a single-person startup, you’ll have your work cut out to make sure that your customers are happy.
All You Need is a Good Idea
While a good idea is certainly an important part of running a business, it is just the first step in a complex process.
In addition, entrepreneurs must also have the motivation, perseverance, and willingness to take risks and overcome obstacles that are inherent in starting and running a business. Without these things, even a product that is based on a good idea can fail.
If you’re struggling to come up with a good idea for your product, have a look at these 5 ways to come up with an innovative startup idea.
Crowdfunding is Easy Money
Entrepreneurs may view crowdfunding campaigns as a quick way to secure funding.
However, achieving success with a crowdfunding campaign requires significant dedication and effort, and there is a risk of failing to raise funds due to the all-or-nothing principle followed by some platforms, such as Kickstarter.
Crowdfunding is made increasingly difficult for smaller startups due to the intense and sustained workload required in promoting and managing a launch campaign for several weeks. This can draw attention away from meeting the needs of existing users and further developing the product.
While I would recommend taking the time to launch your product (a complete guide is available here), I’d recommend checking out alternative places to launch, as you may get more traction out of other marketplaces.
You’ll Make Lots Of Money Quickly
It’s incredibly rare for a business to have rapid success and get lots of money overnight.
Startups require founders to have fine-tuned skills in a huge range of tasks. While some products and founders seemingly appear out of nowhere, the journey to achieving this type of success has been a long one, usually involving many failed startups along the way.
Throughout my path as an entrepreneur, I’ve encountered my fair share of setbacks. Each of these setbacks served as a valuable lesson though, deepening my insight and ultimately paving the way for my business successes.
The Idea You Love Will Be Successful
The unfortunate reality is that just because you love an idea and think that it will succeed, it doesn’t mean that it will.
Entrepreneurship is about creating the right product at the right time and for the right people. While working hard on a project that you love is a great step to seeing your business succeed, sometimes you’ll have to let your project go in favour of a product that’s more likely to be a success.
Doing thorough market research at the start of a project is a great way to increase the chances of success. Have a look over these tips to create a great marketing plan if you’re just getting started with your business.
Your Product Must Be Perfect Before Launch
Perfection is the biggest enemy of progress in your business. When developing a product, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of trying to make your product the best it can be. But until you’ve released it out into the wild, do you truly know if it’s perfect?
It’s much better to release your product early, while it’s still an MVP, so that you gain actual customer feedback to help your product evolve. Even if you’ve been getting iterative feedback as you’ve been developing, letting your product out into the wild will be the only way to gain actual insight into how successful your business will be.
I’ve found this to be the case in my own startup journey. With my first product, Status Hive, I waited until I’d finished its development completely before launching it to the public. What a mistake that was!
I found it incredibly difficult to get any traction with customers, as I soon found out that my USP was not so unique, and so potential customers were going to other more known brands than my startup. Had I reached out to customers sooner and launched a Minimum Marketable Release (MMR) to them, I may have been able to pivot the direction of the product sooner and turned that business into a success.
If you want to learn from my mistake and get customer feedback throughout your startup building journey, check out my complete guide to the customer feedback loop here.
Startup Culture Is Pure Fun
Although startup culture is portrayed as a laid-back environment with casual work hours, the reality is that most entrepreneurs work pretty much constantly.
While the rules may differ from a traditional office, the workload is heavy and requires a significant amount of effort and time. Things can go wrong unexpectedly at all hours of the day, and when you run the show, the buck stops with you!
It’s Easy to Grown an Online Presence
Having an online presence can be crucial for a startup’s success as it allows the company to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to its website, and ultimately convert leads into customers.
Additionally, an online presence provides startups with the opportunity to establish themselves as experts in their industry, making it easier to gain credibility and build trust with potential customers.
While creating a landing page and social media accounts for your brand are important steps when creating your startup, they won’t grow your brand recognition and credibility on their own.
Significant amounts of time and effort are required to engage with the community, write meaningful blog posts and build your brand’s reputation.
You Need To Quit Your Job To Guarantee Success
While there are many entrepreneurs who quit their job in order to dedicate most of their time to building a startup, this isn’t the only way. Many people start their businesses as side hustles to their main job until their business starts being able to pay their bills.
While both methods have their pros and cons, it’s important to realise that there’s no need to quit your job as soon as you come up with a startup idea.
I for one started my entrepreneurial journey while working as a full-time software engineer and a consultancy company. Working at lunchtime and for an hour after work each day was definitely a struggle at times, but it was fully worth it so I didn’t have the pressure of feeding my family while trying to get a business off the ground.
Starting A Business Is All Hard Work
Starting a business is often portrayed as a gruelling and exhausting endeavour, which requires long hours and unwavering dedication.
While it’s true that building a successful business takes a lot of hard work (I can testify to that!), it’s important to recognize that entrepreneurship can also be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
One of the most significant benefits of starting a business is the sense of autonomy and control it provides. As a business owner, you get to be your own boss, set your own schedule, and pursue your passion, which can be incredibly liberating and empowering.
If you’re working on something you love, or have a clear goal in mind, such as trying to buy back your time like I did, then the hard work will easily be worth it.
Business Myths Summary
Now that we’ve busted 11 of the most common myths in startup culture, why not read our guide to starting a business and our list of 10 free tools that can help to kickstart your startup.