There are roughly 582 million entrepreneurs worldwide (1). Many have launched their businesses to seek opportunities, while others have done so out of sheer necessity. Even so, there is still a lot of area for improvement.
However, misinformation and myths about running a business and launching a startup keep many people following their dreams. It can be easy to believe things people say or what we hear from the media about startups and founders. But, it is often a reflection of people’s fears, biases, and presumptions rather than reality.
As someone who has written about startups for over a year now, I can say that concerns about such myths and fallacies can often become roadblocks to your success, not because they are true. However, because you may believe they are true.
This article offers a list of common myths about startups and entrepreneurs, how they can mislead, and how you should deal with them.
Myth# 1: Entrepreneurs are Born Good
People often assume that successful entrepreneurs are born with certain leadership qualities and talents. However, the trust is that almost anyone can be an entrepreneur if they learn those necessary skills.
Yes, people have some innate abilities that allow them to be more flexible. However, there is no rule that only people born with certain qualities can start a business. Entrepreneurs may be extroverts or even introverts; they can think big or be more detail-oriented. In short, Entrepreneurism is not a natural-born ability. Instead, it is something anyone can learn.
Myth# 2: You are a Loser if You Quit
Another big misconception going on around entrepreneurs is that they have to stick everything out regardless of anything. However, not all business ideas or startups will lead to success.
It is not at all bad to have an exit strategy planned. In fact, it is wiser and critical to foresee a potential failure coming your way and exit early. And it doesn’t make you a loser.
Many successful entrepreneurs often cycle through different ideas before they find one with sustainability. Be it Walt Disney, J K Rowling, Mark Cuban, Henry Ford, and numerous others; people experience failure before winning big. It is a common part of an entrepreneur’s journey, and if anything, it only teaches you powerful and essential lessons (2).
Myth# 3: You Need an MBA to Run a Business
Don’t confuse entrepreneurship with a business degree. While a formal education offers immeasurable benefits, the market does not need entrepreneurs to have an MBA or any other business degree.
It may offer reassurances to people who believe they won’t accomplish anything because they didn’t go to college. According to Guidant Financial (3), it may come as a surprise; However, almost one-third of small business owners have not studied further than high school. Notably, only 18% of entrepreneurs hold a master’s degree, and only 4% have Ph.D.
As per other entrepreneurship data (4), only 32% of entrepreneurs take business classes, while 46% don’t have any business education. All in all, you don’t need any degree to found a successful business.
Myth# 4: You Need to be the Most Unique
These days there is a pressure to be unique because of the high competition. Several businesses start keeping in mind yet end up failing. Many entrepreneurs get demotivated even to begin because they feel like they don’t have a unique idea.
However, the trust is that you shouldn’t focus on starting a unique business. Instead, focus on doing something worthwhile to grow your business sustainability in this world. There are multiple examples we can give you to make an explanation.
For instance, Google was not the first search engine ever. They just made one better than what was available back then. The same is the case with Apple. There are so many phone makers out there, but they are better than most competitors (5, 6).
Hence, it is essential to understand that you don’t have to be unique to impact the market. It is more about how you deal with an existing market.
Myth# 5: Success is Getting Investors On Board
It should be self-evident, but this is not always the case: investors want a return on their investments. It needs luck and hard work for a business to offer real growth prospects. The chances of your business getting purchased by a big organization or going public in a few years are few.
Your company can attract investors if you have a scalable business. It means you can ramp up high sales volumes fairly quickly with an investment boost. However, only a few businesses are scalable at the very beginning. Often such businesses are into products or productized services such as web applications.
Ask yourself whether doubling sales means doubling your headcount; you are probably not scalable if you are wondering. But if that’s the case, don’t bother getting an investor on board, especially if you are inexperienced.
Instead, revise your business plan and work with fewer resources until you reach a certain milestone. Yes, even if that means growing slower or only focusing on a niche. Make sales, spend less. And maybe when you succeed, congratulations, you own all of it (7).
And in case you do get an investor on board, make sure you get someone compatible. You don’t want to have a nightmare of jumping on a business with the wrong one. Read our previous story, Saying “Yes” to Any Investor is Bad for Your Startup: Here’s Why to know more.
Myth# 6: One Excellent Idea is All You Need
It is probably one of the most prominent myths going around about startups and entrepreneurship. In reality, you will often need multiple sustainable ideas and other factors such as business model, excellent product, steady cash flow, etc., to define the success of your startup. If you end up neglecting a single one of these aspects, you are at a higher risk of experiencing failure.
Also, it is worth highlighting that often having a great idea is not enough. The right timing matters too. Often some excellent products such as SocialNet.com (8), Apple’s Message Pad, GM’s EV1 failed because they were way ahead of their time, and people were not ready for it (9, 10).
Read Also: Challenges in Indian Startup Ecosystem
Myth# 7: Securing VC Money Guarantees Success
It would be great if you had the capital to grow your business. It is one of the essential elements for the success of any startup. However, if you believe that funding is a pioneer to success, allow us to burst that bubble. Multiple studies and reports are highlighting that VC fund is not a prerequisite for early-stage startups.
In simple terms, venture capital is an essential funding source for emerging companies exhibiting high growth potential in exchange for an equity stake (11).
As per a study conducted by HBR, Harvard Business School, about 75% of startups fail to return investors’ capital.
“Venture-backed startups tend to fail after their fourth years after investors stop pouring more capital,” says Shikhar Ghosh, a senior lecturer at HBR. Bootstrapping, crowdfunding, business loan, angel funds are often some of the best options for entrepreneurs looking for an alternative means to grow their business.
Myth# 8: You Won’t Be Successful as an Entrepreneur Because You are Too Young or Old
Not true at all. Your age doesn’t matter in the entrepreneurship world. It is better to be a young entrepreneur because you will learn along the way a great deal and won’t necessarily need to unlearn as much as people older than you who have worked in corporate structures for a decade or two. You are young doesn’t mean you are immature or inexperienced.
The same goes with being too old as well. There is a common myth that young people are more successful in starting a business. However, according to numerous studies, middle-aged people have a much better chance of succeeding in a business, especially if they have experience in the area.
According to entrepreneurial states (12), business owners who establish their businesses and at least one employee on board are about 42 years olds. According to a Guidant Financial study in 2021 (13), over 2,400 entrepreneurs, 41%, are baby boomers. If you are old, it does not mean you won’t be successful.
Myth# 9: You Need a Perfect Business Plan to Find Success
There is no such a thing as a perfect product or a perfect business plan, etc. There is a common saying among entrepreneurs, “perfection is the enemy of done.” If you wait to create a perfect plan or product, there are high chances that you will have to wait forever and accomplish nothing. Don’t get caught with the idea of being perfect. Instead, try to make the most of what you have already got.
At one point, you will have to stop perfecting and start the execution; otherwise, you will only end up throwing away your time and resources. You will need to believe in your product, your company, and most importantly yourself. Don’t fall for such myths and believe that you have what it needs to learn to be a successful entrepreneur (14, 15).
Myth# 10: You Can Go All the Way Solo
Yes, at the beginning of your startup, it makes sense to work alone. However, you can’t go solo and expect your company to grow at a substantial rate. The requirement for multiple resources will increase as you go ahead.
You can start a business alone, but you will need extra hands, different talents, etc., to keep it going. Your team can be the key you need to grow your company and achieve success,
Multiple businesses survive the challenges the market throws at them because they have excellent marketing and sales strategies. They could only achieve those because such companies have people keeping it going. For any business, a founder is not the only thing needed to survive. Clients, vendors, suppliers, employees, and clients are all stakeholders equally important for the long-term growth of any business (16).
Myth# 11: The Founder Alone is Responsible For Everything
Yes, it may be true for an early-stage company. However, it is a big misconception to think that entrepreneurs are responsible for running a new startup. And you will only experience burnout if you take this idea all the way.
Remember, no one can do everything alone. The art of delegation and collaboration is the key to success and behind a company’s health (17). At the same time, you can’t find success with little dedication towards the company. The key is to find the right balance to make your business a success story.
Myth# 12: You Will Have to Give Up Your Personal Life to Become an Entrepreneur
You may have seen people telling you how entrepreneurs work long hours. However, it is not unique to business owners. Several corporate executives and managers work beyond their average weekly hours. The only difference is entrepreneurs are often driven by their passion and have control over their schedule (18).
As an entrepreneur, you may also don’t mind working for 60 or 70 hours a week. However, it doesn’t mean they can’t have private time. It is all about your dedication level and choices. You may be a full-time student running a side business or a full-time employee starting an independent business, making you an outlier and offering no time for any personal life.
In addition, if you wish for a start-growing business, you may have to sacrifice your personal life, but again, it is your choice.
Read Also: Can Indian Startups Compete Globally?
Myth# 13 Entrepreneurs Only Care About Money
Well, yes, no entrepreneur would start a business with zero intention to make a profit. However, it is a common misconception that financial gain is the only motivation for entrepreneurs. Instead, achieving a lifelong dream is often the main goal for business owners.
And financial stability, being able to make ends meet, and living a comfortable life are always second on the list for most entrepreneurs. While money can be an affecting factor, don’t fall for the myth that it is the only important thing for entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs are often also motivated by control and flexibility. Running your own company can let you to be flexible and have more control over your time, life, and decisions. The idea of leaving a legacy also drives business owners. Your business is something that can last even after you pass away. Your business is something you can leave behind for your families and future generations. There are multiple other motivational factors for entrepreneurs (19).
Myth# 14: Entrepreneurs Reports to Noone
No, let’s dispose of the idea that you will be a complete charge of your existence if you become an entrepreneur. No one is their own boss. All of us have someone we report to.
In any case, your business will become your new boss. If you are into a consulting business, your customers will be your boss. If you raise funds, your investors become your boss. And the journey is ruthless, heartless, and demanding with zero vacation time. There is no such paradise as no-boss.
Myth# 15: Entrepreneurs Need Solid Network
You have probably heard this common saying, “It doesn’t matter what you know, but who you know.”
However, if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, don’t let that myth stop you.
If that’s the case, then how can you explain any first-generation immigrants finding success? Immigrants often come to new countries with no network or connection. Still, they are as likely to find success as anyone else. Be it Google, Intel, Yahoo, there are multiple examples of immigrant entrepreneurs who started big businesses that everyone knows.
As soon as you realize that network and connectedness are misconceptions, you will be forced to rely upon your determination and grit and not some safety net. It will then power you to start your own company and run them successfully (20).
- There are multiple myths and fallacies about entrepreneurs.
- Most common generalizations about startups and entrepreneurs are often not true.
- You don’t have to have stereotypical characteristics of an entrepreneur to be successful.
- The key to entrepreneurial success is believing in yourself, investing in yourself, and knowing when to exit.
- It is important to be prepared while also remaining flexible enough to go with the flow whenever necessary.
- There is no age restriction in entrepreneurship.
- Money is not the only motivating aspect behind entrepreneurs.
- No one is born a successful entrepreneur; it needs passion and hard work to accomplish.
Are You Looking for a Business Idea?
Check out TimesNext’s most popular article, New Age Startup Ideas for 2021 and Beyond. This multi-page comprehensive article offers expertise on every single business and startup idea for 2021 and beyond. It includes multiple business ideas like online, steady income, home-based, low cost, services, products, etc. You can also use many of these startup ideas to start a part-time business or a side hustle.
Stay tuned with us for more business ideas, startup opportunities, entrepreneurial guides, and more.