Ever thought of going out on your own, but were afraid to do so? Was it because of some of these common myths about starting your own business? Come, join me in busting them.
10 Myths About Starting Your Own Business
Myth 1: You need a huge investment
I know this is the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when they think about starting a business – one thought is how 3 years from now you will be sitting on a pile of cash like Uncle Scrooge
The other less appetizing thought is – how much would it cost? Where shall I get that kind of money? How to spend the money I DO have, wisely?
As for me, I didn’t inherit a kingdom, nor did I want to borrow from my parents. Any money I would spend to start up, would be from my own pocket. And given that I had barely any savings from a short-term stint at an MNC and then some from an internship, I was all the more skeptical if it’s a wise idea to “start my own business”.
But me already being in the digital marketing field, it didn’t take long to figure out one could start a business with almost nothing! The digital platform is free after all (except your internet charges or coffee-at-a-café-with-wifi expenses, of course).
It would take nothing but sheer hard work, rapid learning and saying “hey, let’s be best pals so I’ll do this for you and you do this for me” to strangers, to start building an empire online.
So no, to start a business you don’t need buckets of money. Not lakhs, not even thousands. It’s called “Bootstrapping”.
You don’t need that big fancy office right now. No, you don’t need a showroom to display your designer clothes. For all you knew, Steve Jobs didn’t mind starting in his garage.
So if money is the one thing stopping you from starting a business, then hey, all you really need is a free Facebook page, your talent, your products(if applicable) and maybe a good smartphone camera!2.
2. You need a sizeable team
Are you dreaming of quitting your job, hire a team, start a business and boss them around (just like your manager does?). Well, good luck to your wallet then.
If you are going with low investment, a team is barely in the picture. You’ll be going it alone for a long time.
You don’t need accountants, lawyers, receptionists, secretaries, HR managers, programmers, marketers right now. No, you don’t even need a co-founder, because you’re simply just brilliant. In 2013, the Indian government launched a new kind of business registration called “One Person company”.
Traditionally, available business registrations included sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Partnership, private limited, public limited, and some more which our friendly lawyer may know better.
But the government was not slow to recognize the burgeoning number of start-ups with a single person as owner and employee of that company and One Person Company registrations are way of the decade. Proof and beneficial enough that you can start your business now. Alone.
Psst…Have you considered freelancers and friends? They’re your virtual, amoebic team!
3. It requires lot of experience
If you asked your parents, well-wishing aunts and uncles for advice on starting a business, they’d probably say, “Child, you don’t have the experience, let it be!”
Well, tides have turned, dear friend. Your answer to them would be “we’re the only generation that gets it, that gets how things are going, and what people want and we know how to give it to them.
Besides, I’m really good at this thing, and only I can do it this way. Just introduce me to that lawyer uncle so I can get my business registered ”
Do I have to say anything more to prove this point? (No, I won’t bore you with the story of Mark Zuckerberg).
But do read this article: What is the best age to start your own business?
4. It is your ticket to freedom
I cannot blame bloggers for romanticizing the concept of working in a suitcase. You’ll see many adventurous entrepreneurs’ Instagram feed, that they’re working by the poolside one moment and bungee jumping the next.
Beach-side photos with the business owner at his laptop have become synonymous with our generation and the highlight of this decade.
Many people fantasize that starting their own business will give them unprecedented freedom in terms of when they want to work, whom they work with and what work they do. But that’s it.
Whom you work for, when you have to deliver, when you have to answer customer queries, what happens when you fall sick is never in your control let alone it being a choice and a ticket to freedom.
A blogger I used to ardently follow, the late Scott Dinsmore, founder of Live your Legend, once wrote that when you follow your passion, you’re never really going to be free; because you want to spend every moment doing that work and adding value to someone else’s life through your passion, freedom is in being busy.
5. You need to have a unique idea
The first ever myth I believed when I wanted to start something on my own was that I needed to have a unique idea. I wanted to come up with a brilliant idea that nobody else was doing so that people would laud my business.
I couldn’t be more wrong.
A business is born solely out of the purpose of solving a consumer’s pain point. If you think there’s already a business solving your target audience’s needs, then you need to ideate how you can do it better.
You don’t need to find a unique business idea to start a business. A unique way of solving the problem or even a unique brand identity for the solution itself is more than sufficient to get you started.
Don’t be scared that everyone else is doing the same thing. In fact you should be a little apprehensive if someone is NOT already in the arena. If your business idea does not exist in the market, know that your idea has never been tested and you will have to do all the brunt bearing.
If competitors already exist, then simply put, there’s a market already created for your business proposition, tested and ready to lap up your offering. It just depends on how you offer it. So you might want to reconsider waiting for that eureka business idea in the bathroom.
6. Networking is a waste of time
I’ve often heard in business circles that networking is a waste of time. Well, I’m sure there’s some fodder for that belief. People go to networking events, exchange business cards and then forget about each other – summing up to zero business.
And yet, networking is the only greatest channel to advertise your business to real people for the least amount of monies.
Networking doesn’t mean only attending organized events. It could also be inviting your friends and their friends to a lunch part. It’s happening when you attend your cousin’s wedding and you’re in a group telling them what you do. Connecting with someone over LinkedIn and Facebook or Twitter is very much networking.
What really happens through networking is that, even though it may not lead to immediate orders or business requests from those direct members you spoke with, it could have a ripple effect where they refer your business to someone they know who is need of that service/product and they refer to their friends and so on.
Since you are “well-known” (thanks to your networking), your business is most likely to come up as references and recommendations. Over time, this has an exponential effect on getting you more and more clients from a few sources of networked connections.
Even the person you connected with may be in need of your business 2-3 years down the line. Because you know, when you have to buy that wedding blouse urgently, or get a photo shoot done this weekend, you’ll dial the first person you know of who gives that service.
So now, did I tell you, that Networking is not a waste of time? Your business depends on it,a nd before you know it you would have started “doing” business!
7. Success is all Luck
Whenever people can’t find rationale behind someone’s success, they attribute it to luck- “Oh, she was just lucky.” ; “he just got lucky with the right timing.” etc.
This is the last thing I want to believe. It’s not so much that for being successful you need to be lucky, but that you are not successful because you are NOT lucky (whatever the astrologers may define lucky to be as).
I have heard of many people who will not start their business until a certain day arrives, make irrational strategic decisions about their start-up in accordance with some sooth, or just plainly believe they might fail because they’ve never been lucky in gambling (oh yeah, were you one of them equating business with gambling).
If you are one of these people, then I suggest, you SHOULD start a business. You will see, inside out, how much business success is not about luck. It may be about your stature, your money, your friend circle, your hard work and talent, but never really luck.
Growing a business is a systematic process, where demand should meet with supply. Getting that right is not chance or luck, but is about careful observation of the market, adapting to the market and investing enough in your business’ brand.
Don’t let the fact that you’ve never been “lucky” in competitions, games, or the like deter you from working hard towards your business goals. Or if you’re not seeing returns even after many years, don’t claim that you’re just not lucky enough.
Business is as much of an art as it is a science, and can be mastered. Luck will then follow you.
8. You need to be highly educated (MBA?)
A lot of people are apprehensive that they don’t know much to start a business. Many think that MBA is a way to entrepreneurship. While an MBA or equivalent business education can foster your entrepreneurial growth, it definitely isn’t necessary to get started.
In fact, you will learn much more starting your business, failing, falling, and fumbling through the terrains of real business cases, that a simulated education just cannot give you.
You are bound to succeed in business more if you can fall, know why you fell and do it better the second time around.
Given that business requires many skills including basic accounting mathematics, communication, strategic planning, and many frameworks you can follow on your way to build business, this sort of knowledge is already available to you, especially in our day and age.
For anyone willing to learn, university isn’t the only route. And definitely not a pre-requisite to start a business.
In fact, here are some reasons why most MBA graduates never launch a startup.
9. It isn’t for introverts
This is not so much a myth than a mental block for many introverts out there. Business, by nature, definitely involves a lot of communication. But it doesn’t mean introverts cannot write a simple cold email.
It doesn’t mean that the passion to get their work out is going to prevent them from pursuing prospects. It doesn’t mean starting a business cannot transform them. At first, it might be difficult to adapt yourself to it. But later, it becomes a habit.
It takes a bit of determination to succeed and excel and whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, you don’t have any excuse not to have these characteristics.
In fact, entrepreneurship is a lonely journey for most part. You will get to keep to yourself all that you like and how much ever you want during the process, but it shouldn’t be a factor in determining that running a business is not for you. Misconception’s gone out the window, now it’s time to start!
Read this related article on how introverts can be leaders and succeed in the workplace.
10. You need a full fledged Business Plan
You’ll learn it in your MBA for sure – how to craft a business plan. A plan that knows what is going to happen tomorrow, can predict your sales, can forecast when you will run out of cash-flow and smartly tells you how successful you can be without a doubt.
Take the business plan with a pinch of salt. Apart from giving you a narrow focus and direction you should start following, it barely meets the needs of starting up. It is in the start-up phase that there’s lot of turbulence, and you might as well spend a little less time planning out your business without even knowing what it is actually like running it.
Yes, good business plans may win you a bank loan, but if you’re the bootstrapping kind, (I know majority of you are!) then you would do well to Google up a sample Business plan, see what you think about those questions and then get your darn website up ASAP! As you go along the way, you will figure THE plan out.
Here’s more on how to create a business plan.
Already said too much? I can’t wait to see what you guys are planning to start out with and what the world is waiting for you to bring to life! Cheers!