At least half of all new startups fail within five years, according to the Business Insider. Many of the remaining 50 percent eventually fail too. Those are tough statistics for an entrepreneur to face.
So, if you' re thinking about starting your own business, give yourself the best chance of success and be sure not to fall for these surprising myths about entrepreneurs.
1. Many people start a business to be their own boss and have control over their schedules
Wouldn't that be nice: to have total freedom and flexibility about how you spend your time. I'm sure it would, but as an entrepreneur you're accountable to people connected to your business like stakeholders, clients and partners. Also, for the first few years at least, you'll spend more time working for your business than you would spend working for someone else. The perfect work life balance will, more than likely, have to wait.
2. All entrepreneurs are risk-takers and gamblers.
Entrepreneurs are the exact opposite. Many of them are control freaks who’d never gamble on a business venture if they thought the cards were stacked against them. Even if they enjoy a little risk, most entrepreneurs would rather wait for a smart business opportunity than take any old thing.
3. If everyone in your family is an entrepreneur, you’ll be successful.
This is a particularly damaging myth. Entrepreneurship and business nous are not genetic traits. Sure you'll likely pick up some useful traits through nurture but really successful entrepreneurship is all about whether you have the passion, persistence, focus and belief to see things through.
4. White-collar professionals will never be great entrepreneurs.
Coming from a conventionally 'employed' background does have some drawbacks, for example you'll likely have been conditioned not to take the lead or experiment with new ways of doing things. But it's important to remember, as the pep talk in Forbes says, what entrepreneurs really want is 'status (smartest kid in the room), bragging rights (we do it best), and, ultimately, the power to change the world for the better'. If that's what drives you then there's no reason you can't succeed, wherever you start.
5. You must invent something new.
No. It's not inventing something new that makes you an entrepreneur. It’s about solving problems and changing the world; answering a need no one realised they had; making people's lives easier. What you make or do doesn't have to be new, but your startup does have to involve a new perspective and build value.
6. You need to do all the work yourself when starting your business.
Probably not. Of course, when you have a limited amount of money, you may need to do a lot of work yourself. However, know your limits. If you are not computer literate, do not try to create your own business website. Use freelancers or make use of amazing template sites like Squarespace.
7. A good product automatically translates into business success.
This myth can really hurt you. Sure a good product is important, but it's how good the entrepreneur is that determines how good the business is. How good are you at:
- Business connections and relationships?
- Focusing on details?
- People management?
8. You should try and get as many clients as possible.
Sure it's tempting. The more clients you have, the more money you make, right? When you spread yourself too thin, however, there is a danger you will make mistakes and deliver less than your best. Add the right clients, at the right time: that's much better for business.
9. Never give your service or product away for free.
This is a half myth. You should absolutely resist those clients who ask for a 'trial' or a 'one off' in exchange for their endorsement or similar. Then again, sometimes giving a little time or knowledge away for free can be an effective way to build a reputation as a respected expert and someone who wants to help clients, not just deliver products.
10. You should start a business when you have some extra time on your hands.
When it comes to your personal life, there's no 'right time' for you to sink all your time, money and effort into a new venture. Starting a business is a big commitment - so know what you're getting into and don't do it on a whim.
Now that all those myths about entrepreneurs are cleared up, were you surprised?
If you’re still thinking about or have already begun your entrepreneurial journey I wish you the best and hope this post was helpful. For more information, tips and tricks check out our business productivity page here.