“The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” – Walt Disney
Maybe she’s born with it… or maybe it’s the product of hard work, a great business model and formidable resilience.
Here are some of the most pervasive startup myths and flat out lies you’ll hear again and again about launching a successful startup – and why they’re so far off the mark.
In this article, we’ll talk about top startup myths like:
- A good idea is all you need
- You’re born with the entrepreneur gene (and you’ll know exactly what you’re doing)
- Successful startup founders get rich quick
Read on to find out the top startup myths you can definitely afford to ignore.
1. All You Need Is A Great Idea
Ever seen someone make a fortune out of an amazing idea you could have sworn you dreamed up ages ago and thought, “Damn, they beat me to it”? Well, before you get too carried away, the likelihood is that plenty of other people thought of something similar, too. They just didn’t get there first.
Obviously, a great idea is pretty high up the list of important factors in getting a winning startup off the ground. It’s far from the only factor, though. You can’t just think of a cool concept – you have to do the hard graft in making it a reality, developing a rock-solid business plan, marketing it right… you know, all the difficult bits.
2. Entrepreneurship Is Innate
This is one of the most annoying startup myths out there about launching a successful startup. Sure, some people might find certain elements of running a business or pitching an idea easier than others, but no one wakes up in the morning to find that they’re a fully-fledged business genius.
Successful entrepreneurship takes effort, sustained hard work and a continual willingness (and desire) to learn, adapt and improve.
3. You Need a Lot of Money to Start a New Business
A lot of people assume that you can’t launch a startup without a massive stack of cash or willing investors lining up to fund your company.
Money helps, of course it does. Money makes it easier to grow faster. Being in a position where you don’t have to take any money out to pay yourself for the first year is great. But if these options aren’t available, that’s no excuse not to launch.
The average startup gets going with $25,000. Plenty of people start a successful business in a spare bedroom with no resources and no money at all.
4. You Have to Be a Big Risk Taker
Aargh! This is one of those misconceptions that cause serious damage. You do not have to imperil your business and your investment to prove somehow that you have the “guts” to pursue great things.
The best founders make a carefully considered, well-informed call over whether a particular gambit makes sense and whether it fits their risk appetite. They don’t just gamble for the hell of it.
5. Startup Founders Have to Be Bullish
Along the same lines, there is no “right” personality type to run a company. In fact, you don’t need to be aggressive and domineering to feel you’re showing the right amount of confidence to lead.
In fact, this is almost certainly counterproductive. Arrogance means you’re not listening – which means you probably aren’t listening to reasoned criticism either. You want to have a clear vision and courage in your convictions, but refusal to engage with other perspectives is a recipe for disaster.
6. You Just Need One Big Customer
When you’re first starting out, every client feels like a big win – and it is. But one or two major clients is not enough to declare your startup a resounding success, at least not yet. What happens if you lose them?
A useful rule of thumb is that no one client should represent more than 20% of your business. Until you’ve brought in enough clients or work to establish that ratio, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels.
7. Success Means Raking In the Big Bucks – Fast
Every entrepreneur wants to make money, but the most effective ones rarely focus on making a quick buck for themselves. Instead, they’re obsessed with growing their business, making it awesome, reinvesting profits into doing bigger and better things. If anything, for your startup to be a true success, you need to be prepared to pay yourself last!
There is no secret formula to making your business take off. Ambition is important, but expecting too much too soon can hamstring you. Be patient, be persistent, and be prepared to work hard.
Now that you know which are the top startup myths and why they’re so far off their mark, why not take a look at our article on how to deliver a pitch investors can’t turn down.