Many aspiring entrepreneurs, without having previously started a business, already have a fixed set of conceptions about embarking on a new venture. The most wide-spread and misconceived of those are:
- I need lot of money to start a business (many ways to start-up with no money or with a bit of bootstraping)
- I will get rich soon (although some successful startup founders get rich and advise others how to get rich, it will require time till your business gets traction and starts making profit for itself and for you; brace yourself to get rich slowly, in the best of cases)
- I need to have a well-conceived and thorough business plan (it is true that business plan is an important fact, but many consultancy and web service providers started off without one). As a matter of fact, when it comes to business models, statistics show that only 35% of failed startups had the wrong business model.
- I need a unique and great idea to build upon (it is far more important that the idea addresses an open need or delivers in a better, more efficient or more affordable manner that currently available on the market; Betamax vs. VHS story)
- I am the boss and I know better (your employees, your customers, your shareholders, and most importantly, your competition will affect and have sawy on your decisions)
- It will take lot of time till my business makes profit (while number crunching to project profit is useful, it is by no means sufficient; focus on customer needs and offering value is what will eventually bring profit; some take lot of time and other take a year or two)
- I will have more time and freedom (nothing can be further from truth; this is your business and every idea, problem and solution – especially at the beginning stage – will have to go through you, worry you, make you sometimes anxious and other times happy)
- I have this nice/cool product/service and will surely get customers/market share (Apple Newton, Motorola Iridium, and many of top dot-coms were built with this idealogy and resulted in failure)
- I am the boss and I can pay myself as much as I want (while there is much debate about how much a founder’s salary must be, it is obvious that a founder needs to share love with employees if he expects their loyalty, devotion and passion in work)
- I need to take a bold risk in order to succeed (was Bill Gates a risk taker? you rather need to be flexible and adopt to realities, solving problems as you go)
The misconceptions above (and any of their combinations) usher in a bad start, difficult and eventually unsustainable growth of businesses.