There are plenty of well-worn ideas about entrepreneurship – some of which hold true, while others need more scrutiny. I’m going to break down some of the most common myths and explain how seeing through them will help you on your journey as an entrepreneur.
You’ll be your own boss
Not having an immediate supervisor means being free of the constant demands from someone in authority. Right? Wrong. Having only one person to answer to is much easier to deal with than a throng of customers who believe they’re right and don’t mind telling you so. Then there’s the bank manager with whom you once struggled to get a meeting, who’s now on the phone wondering aloud about your cash flow. You’ve committed to products from several suppliers who cheerily remind you of their cash-up-front policy. The list of bosses keeps getting longer.
Small is easy to manage
Start-ups are free from the drudgery of formality and structure. Who needs meetings to discuss the obvious? Your small team can make a decision and take action while your established competition is reviewing the minutes of its previous meeting. Seems like a great arrangement, doesn’t it? But in the industry’s eyes, you’re a small fish. Suppliers don’t need you as your account is small.
Your customers are new and skittish. Staff issues can degenerate so far that the only key person left is you. Smaller is not always easier.
You need a great new idea
The media celebrates entrepreneurs who have commercialised groundbreaking new ideas. But not every idea needs to reinvent the wheel.
An entrepreneur is simply someone who sets up a business, takes risks and seeks to make a profit. An old idea rehashed can be just as profitable. Take Uber or McDonald’s, for example. Taxis and hamburgers weren’t new concepts, but ride-sharing and takeaway hamburgers got people’s attention. There’s nothing wrong with taking an old idea and doing it differently.
Your business plan will save the day
The old mantra ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ rings in the ears of many potential entrepreneurs – and although business plans are supposedly the answer to a successful start-up, few tasks absorb as much time and emotional energy. Once the business gets going, reality hits. Things aren’t happening the way you expected and the business plan hasn’t accounted for this scenario. A business plan is a great starting point, but don’t expect it to have all the solutions.
The right time will come
Finding the right time to launch your entrepreneurial career is a bit like winning lotto. Wait long enough and surely it will come. Or will it? A healthy fear of running out of time can create the urgency you need to bite the bullet and launch your new venture. All you have to do is consciously decide to be an entrepreneur, then when a great opportunity comes along, grab hold of it tightly.The timing is in your hands.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint-hearted, but go in with your eyes wide open and you’ll give yourself every chance of success.