The growth of new businesses actually seems to be on the decline.
But new startups continue to pop in new spaces all the time.
With today’s technology, it’s amazingly simple to start a business. I wasn’t around in the 1970s, but I was thinking back to someone I know that started a business back then.
You had to mail documents all over just to form an official company. Today you can do it online in a few minutes.
The barriers to entry are low, but with low barriers come some common myths around starting a business.
If you’ve been thinking about it I encourage you to continue down that path, but watch for these possible misconceptions that could trip you up along the way…
#1. Get Your Ducks In A Row
I’ve heard this a lot from a few people that have started businesses over the last ten years. They’ve been working on something and they’ve been focused on:
Getting all their ducks in a row…
It’s a weird statement, but I guess it’s based on mother ducks getting their babies ready to swim or walk somewhere.
Well, I grew up near a lake that had baby ducks every summer and from my recollection the mom would often jump in the water and the little ducks had to decide on their own if they wanted to follow along. Mom didn’t do too much organizing.
And that’s kind of how it goes in business. It’s fine to work on organizing things, but not to the point of procrastination.
You’re never going to be prepared for everything. You just have to begin and figure it out along the way.
In fact, the #1 regret I hear from successful businesspeople is that they didn’t start sooner.
#2. Great Products Lead To Great Sales
You definitely need great products, but I think that gets over-emphasized again to the point of procrastination.
Sales is often seen as slimy. People think they’re above sales or they’re scared of sales.
Beyond a great product I think sales is the #1 asset of a successful company. You can continually work on making your product the best, but without sales you’re not even in the game.
Heck, you can start selling by talking to people and asking about their frustrations and build a product to fill the need.
#3. Startup Money
There has been a lot of money in the startup world since 2008. Well, maybe since about 2010.
And there is this idea that in order to really start something great you need loads of cash.
That’s certainly the case for a small number of businesses, but the idea that you need money to start something is a form of procrastination.
Even if you have a great business idea that does require funding you can do other things in the short-term to earn the money yourself.
Software companies have done it for decades. They provide services to businesses to earn money to build their software.
Start a service where you collect money upfront and then perform the service. Then save the money you make to build the thing you really want to build.
You don’t need to wait for a big cash investment.
#4. Next Big Thing
Another form of procrastination is that you have to wait for the next big thing. A lot of times the star businesses of today are actually just retread ideas from several years ago.
The iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone. Not even close.
Southwest wasn’t the first airline or even the first low-cost airline. Not by several decades.
Walmart wasn’t the first physical retail store.
Amazon wasn’t the first online retailer.
Sometimes the best ideas are just the copying of existing ideas that haven’t been executed to their fullest potential.
#5. Anybody Can Do It
A big saying that’s probably always been floating around the business world is that anybody can do it.
We see someone that’s successful and we think that what they’ve done isn’t that difficult. We could have done it and then we say if only…
And that’s the big kicker.
Well, I’m here to say that I don’t think anybody can start a business. I guess technically it’s true and it’s easier than ever, but it takes the right type of person to do it.
It’s a lot of pressure to earn money. It’s a lot of hours spent mostly dealing with problems. That’s pretty much what entrepreneurs do all day everyday is deal with issues and solve them.
Remember the movie Apollo 13? The guys back in Houston that worked for days solving problem after problem only to be given more problems to deal with and solve?
That’s what owning a business is like all the time.
#6. You’re In Control
You actually have to cede control.
Most entrepreneurs are fairly controlling. The successful ones, it seems, are the ones that are able to go against their own controlling nature to cede control to others.
If you can’t give up control you probably can’t run a business. You could certainly become a freelancer, but you couldn’t run a business.
Businesses need to hire people. And they have to give those people the power to make decisions and to perform tasks.
#7. No More Boring Work
You actually have more boring work. Some of the most successful businesspeople (Rockefeller, Carnegie, etc.) were big on math. They kept extremely detailed ledgers.
Business is not glamorous. 99.9% of the time it’s doing mundane things like doing the accounting or making the 20th sales call of the day to make the same pitch or any number of tasks.
I’m all for you starting a business. It’s just that over the years I’ve heard a lot of things said about business, usually by people that haven’t ever operated a business, that just aren’t true. And they can be very misleading to those looking to make the jump.
Hopefully this clears up a few of those.