Myths are often unhelpful as they can lead to unrealistic expectations or a sense of failure in new business owners before they have even begun! It is also scary to consider that some 50% of new businesses fail within the first five years.
However, there is the other 50% and you and your business can succeed with the right planning and help. In addition, very few business owners began as experts who knew how to run their business. You do not have to be, either. It makes sense to get information, advice and guidance from people who are experts and can help you get started.
The rider here is that you need to ensure that you speak and listen to the right people. You also need to know about the misconceptions about starting a new business and being an entrepreneur or business owner. Knowing what to ignore is as useful as knowing who to listen to. Let us look at 10 of the most frequently heard myths.
# 1: Drive and an inspired idea are all you need!
You may have a wonderful idea for a product range or services, and you might be passionate, hard-working and focused. But, unfortunately, neither will guarantee the success of the business.
The bottom line is, well, the bottom line: you must maintain cash flow and make enough money to meet overheads and obligations and grow the business. New businesses especially need to build resources and ensure liquidity.
Part of protecting a start-up is having the necessary and appropriate business insurance in place to protect against the risks you face. Being uninsured increases the chance of suffering a loss that a fledgling business simply cannot afford or recover from.
# 2: You require a large amount of start-up capital
Of course, having a very healthy bank balance when you launch a business is useful. However, just like drive and a good idea, large financial reserves do not guarantee success.
Whether you begin with modest capital or a large amount, your focus must be on building your business so that it reaches a sustainable level before – preferably long before – you have used all of your start-up capital reserves or funds.
# 3: You need to work 24 / 7 to succeed
No, you do not. In fact, working that hard will be bad for you and your business. We all have finite reserves of time and energy and you need to make wise use of them.
If making your business work requires more than you can give you need to delegate if you have staff or outsource certain functions that do not need your personal attention.
# 4: You must be able to perform every business function
Requiring yourself to be an expert at everything and have a wide range of skills is both unrealistic and unfair. Particularly initially, you cannot know everything about everything.
That is why you need to put together a team – either staff or people you outsource to – that compliments your strengths and weaknesses. Letting others do what they do well allows you the time and space to focus on what you do best and must do to make your business work.
# 5: If a product or service is good, it will “sell itself”
It would be wonderful if this was true, but except for a few rare instances it is not the case. All businesses must have a plan for how they are going to market and sell their product or service.
You need, firstly, to know who your market it. You must then draw up a plan or strategy that allows you to reach those customers and make sales. Start-ups need to fine-tune marketing and sales plans and processes until they are effective.
# 6: Intelligent people do not need help from experts
Even the smartest individuals need information and guidance when embarking on something new. Part of being smart is knowing what you do not know.
Keep in mind that you need to begin generating revenue as quickly as possible. This means that you cannot afford the luxury of taking the time to learn new information and skills or spend hours and hours doing research.
Speak to business, financial and tax consultants and be guided by insurance experts. Use their skills and experience so that you can put most of your time and energy into building your business by reaching out to customers and generating income. You can learn about other aspects of running a business as you go.
# 7: You must appoint staff
Not many start-ups can afford permanent staff. Not only do salaries greatly increase monthly overheads, you will need to divert time and energy into managing an individual or team.
Rather outsource functions you cannot cope with until your business is on a firm, stable financial footing.
# 8: A start-up must have a very detailed business plan
Although business plans are essential, it is not necessary for a new, small business to have a very detailed and lengthy business plan.
It is possible to start with the basics: a mission, a vision, marketing information and how you will assess your success. Once your business is up and running you can add to and refine your business plan until it meets all your requirements and suggestions from the business experts you have consulted.
# 9: Running your own business is easy
The short response is, “No, it’s not”. The majority of successful entrepreneurs had to work very hard to make it. In fact, many highly successful individuals failed several times before achieving success.
Be prepared before you launch your business, work hard and smart and make use of the resources available to you to give yourself the best chance.
# 10: You should wait for the “right time”
There is not usually a “right time” other than now. Why wait? What guarantee is there that the factor or situation that is making you hesitate will change? Something else could crop up. The right time is now!
Keep these myths or misconceptions in mind as you prepare to launch your new business. Use your financial and other resources wisely and ask for help from those who have the experience and knowledge.