Despite of having all the pertinent skills and resources required for a sustainable startup, many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of believing certain myths which lead to abortive outcomes. Hence time and time again, they are misguided which not only affects their willpower but also has a detrimental effect on the quality of work produced. Yes, it is certainly important to pay heed to well intentioned advices and respect the opinion of others but at the same time one should try to gain hands on experience rather than just absorbing preconceived notions.
Here are some myths that shouldn’t hamper your work activities:
1. Product is King
Your customers won’t just appear out of nowhere. You have to market your product and sell it! Some founders still believe in the “if you build it, they will come” ideology but unfortunately it doesn’t work well in the current scenario. You need to have a long term view and look at other aspects like competition, recent trends in the market, marketing, developing trust amongst customers etc. to keep your business alive in the long run. Sometimes you’ll even have to modify your product. For example, YouTube was originally a video dating site but when it failed to gain followers it shifted to being a video sharing site.
2. You MUST have a Technical Background
A technical background undoubtedly helps in an internet startup but that doesn’t mean your venture can’t take off without it. You can always learn something new if the situation demands. There are many founders who were once non-technical but later gained some technical knowledge to get their ideas off the ground. American internet entrepreneur, Dennis Crowley was non-technical before he founded Dodgeball but learnt programming to create a location-based social networking software provider for mobile devices. Dodgeball was acquired by Google in the year 2005 and succeeded by Google Latitude in 2009.
3. You Need Venture Capital to Succeed
Benish Shah, CEO of Vicaire NY is of the opinion that you do not need venture capital to start your business. “VC funding sounds sexy and a lot of entrepreneurs think they can’t launch without it. The reality is, you need to be really good at bootstrapping and growing a company before you should even think about accepting institutional funding. It will make you a better business person—and it will garner more trust from investors.”
There are many startups that have succeeded through bootstrapping and haven’t raised funds. Apart from conventional means, there are many other sources through which you can get your product in the market.
4. You Can Manage Everything Alone
You must be having ample of professional experience and education but let’s face the fact- you can’t be an expert in everything. You will be willing to do any work to make your business successful but a co-founder will complement your skills and help you fill the gaps. Startups are often a rough ride and with a companion on your entrepreneurial journey, it is a bit easier to handle the obstacles.
5. You should Strictly Follow Your Business Plan
Lacking a business plan is like taking a road trip without a map and so it is necessary to have a business plan encompassing all the imperative goals and strategies. You should know the direction of your business. But it is also very important to keep updating it as per the situations and trends. Things won’t just be static and changes will occur at some point of time and that’s when you’ll have to evaluate your business plan and make the required modifications.
6. Do Not Share Your Ideas with Others
Contrary to popular belief, it is always better to discuss your plans with those who are credible and have a substantial experience in the field you are about to enter. Being transparent and sharing your work activities can in fact help you to identify the blind spots. It is often believed that the first idea is the best one. However, it is possible that it has certain drawbacks which need to be fixed and there is always a room for improvement. Once your product is out there, keep updating it and talk to your customers, investors and audience about the progress you’ve achieved.
7. All you need is Passion
Passion is necessary for an entrepreneur but you must even have confidence to put forth your ideas. Passion and Confidence do not just come naturally and they can be developed even by watching inspirational movies or reading books that can teach us some significant life lessons.
An entrepreneur must avoid myopia i.e. short-sightedness as many times we end up falling in love with our own creation and tend to overlook its drawbacks and areas which can be modified for better results.
8. You Need to Work 24/7
Entrepreneurs aren’t zombies and have a personal life too! However, the action of many fail to reinforce this statement. You can see startup founders sleeping at work and having a brain lull very often. All these are signs that you do not have to work non-stop to make your business successful. Your body isn’t a machine and it deserves some rest. Spend time with your family and maintain a balance between your professional and personal lives. In the book, The 4 hour Workweek, author Timothy Ferriss talks about how people end up over-working and its consequences on the level on productivity. You don’t have to be a workaholic and make things topsy-turvy when you can garner success in an enjoyable and hassle-free way.
There are chances that you will fail in your endeavour, but if you have an idea you should go ahead and try it! You might even quit being an entrepreneur but experience is all that matters as it will teach you some significant life lessons that a regular 9-5 job won’t. Swami Vivekananda once said- “Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead. If you lose, you can guide.”
I’m sure you too must have come across some myths related to startups and business. What startup myths would you like to share with us?