By Temitope Adebayo
There are some entrepreneurial myths people who want to embark on an entrepreneurial journey and business owners need to avoid which may hinder the growth of their business in 2024.
Whether you are preparing to launch your first business or you’ve been an entrepreneur for a while, don’t fall for the following founder fables because success starts when you let go of these myths.
You need a fearless mindset to move mountains
The idea of the Fearless Founder. I wonder about people who truly have no fear about setting up a business, particularly if they’re entering into an untested industry. Being afraid makes sense. The entrepreneurs I know have all been afraid at some point. The key is not that they’re fearless but that they’re willing to “do it while they’re scared.”
Those fears included making errors, wasting money, losing money, and ending up with nothing to show for their efforts. What you need to do is release yourself from thinking you have to be perfect and know everything. Lean into the fact that small and large failures will happen. Your role is to learn from successful entrepreneurs, talk about them, and allow yourself to fail forward again and again. It’s scary, but it’s the right way to keep growing.
Your innovations have to be groundbreaking
Reinventing wheels may sound exciting, but it’s not necessary to have a successful startup. You’ve heard the saying, “There is nothing new under the sun.” It’s true in most cases. Stop thinking you have to innovate from the ground up. You don’t. You just need to do something better.
Of course, when you hit upon your gold mine idea, you need to present it so that people see why it’s different. it’s not always obvious to outsiders why your innovation is an improvement.
You need to grow your network as fast as possible
You’ll need a solid network as an entrepreneur, but you have to be exceedingly strategic.
People may advise you to attend conferences and talk to everyone. You must have a systematic networking process that you use to not just meet people but thoughtfully build connections. Rather than being organic, which is what some entrepreneurs used to do. It must all be planned based on solid networking strategies.
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Becoming an entrepreneur is one of the best ways to build wealth. Many people let fear or misperceptions about starting a business keep them from investing in their futures in this way.
It’s time to dispel some of the myths about entrepreneurship that are holding people back.
Two things are certain when you embark on an entrepreneurial venture. The first? You’ll get plenty of advice. The second? You’ll get loads of well-intentioned warnings.
Sometimes, the two will overlap, as in the case of a cautionary comment disguised as, “I’m just being real with you.” Your job is to figure out how to filter out all the myths you’re hearing to get to the truth so you can avoid being one of the approximately 20% of companies that fail within 12 months.
There are so many resources and places to turn to for help. You just have to be intentional and seek out people and tools to support and guide you.
You’ll find out that others will share everything from their best insights to their top connections to you. All you have to do is soak everything up and use what you hear to move forward, always backed up by a growing team of supportive peers.
Starting a business always comes with a lot of risk
Does starting a business come with risk? Of course yes, but you have a lot more control over that risk than you think.
If you didn’t grow up with entrepreneurial parents, chances are you grew up believing that starting a business is far riskier than working for someone else.
Many people are taught from a young age that a job with an established employer that offers health insurance, a 401(k) plan with an employer match, and paid time off is “safe.” But that’s not true. You can perform well in a role with an established company and still lose your job with little to no warning. In recent months, there have been plenty of news stories about thousands of employees with some of the biggest companies waking up to discover they’re out of job.
How does this compare with the risk of working for yourself? If you start a business with only one client, it’s similar. If you build a robust and diverse list of clients instead, you begin to bring that risk way down.
Remember that when you are an employee, you have a single client. When you are in business, you have many clients, so if one client fires you, you are not out of business.
The key here is to grow your business as quickly as possible, from zero clients to a diverse client base that generates at least as much income for you as your full-time job. How do you do that? Educate yourself on your business. The more you know about investing in a business and the specific industry and market for your business, the more you’ll be able to minimize your risks.
Starting a business is expensive
This myth stops a lot of would-be entrepreneurs in their tracks. Many people have the desire to start a business and a great idea of what that business would be, but fear of the start-up costs prevents them from taking even the smallest action.
If that’s you, instead of making assumptions about the costs, get the facts instead. Invest some time into creating your business plan, including an assessment of the start-up costs. You’ll also want to have a good handle on what revenue and expenses you’re likely to see in the first year of operation.
The cost structure of your business will vary greatly depending on the industry and nature of your work. Thanks to technology, you can start many businesses with very little up-front capital. But don’t immediately rule out a business idea if these initial costs seem large.
I’m too old to start a business
You’ve heard many stories of successful entrepreneurs who started their companies in their college dorm room or parent’s garage. And starting a business early in life before you have the responsibilities of raising children or caring for aging parents has a certain appeal.
But it’s not too late if you didn’t take the entrepreneurial plunge in your 20s or 30s. A recent study of more than 2.7 million entrepreneurs found that the average age of successful founders was 42, and the average age of founders of the fastest-growing companies was 45. And that’s the average, so plenty of people have successfully launched companies in their 50s, 60s and beyond. Colonel Sanders didn’t perfect his fried chicken recipe until he was 50, and he was in his 60s when he first franchised it, creating Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Embarking on business ownership after establishing a career means you can bring more experience, and potentially more capital, to your venture. You also may be able to start a business while maintaining your current employment. As long as your business doesn’t create a conflict of interest and your schedule allows it, starting a business on the side can be a great option. It opens up the tax benefits of business ownership while maintaining your current salary, giving you a great on-ramp to launch your new venture.
If you or someone in your life has been thinking about starting a business, now is the time. Debunk the myths and get started today.