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8 Myths About Starting Business Which Prevent Success

8 Myths About Starting Business Which Prevent Success

Failure in business is not something most entrepreneurs are prepared for. Most entrepreneurs have their head high up in the clouds with the dreams of making the next billion-dollar business so it is truly a heartbreaking experience, but it’s a proof that we don’t learn from success. It’s the heartbreaking and the painful part that teaches people their lessons.

Besides the improper planning and wrong moves, here are some myths about starting business which may be stopping entrepreneurs from starting and thriving in the process.

1. You have to know everything about business

Is there anyone who knew everything that they needed to know to begin a business from Day One? Traci Des Jardins, one of the most well-known chefs around town, was trained by some of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the world. Traci launched her own restaurant Jardinière in San Francisco in 1997. When she expanded her restaurant empire, her biggest challenge was raising money. She had no formal training in business, so she leaned on a business partner to help her figure it out.

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If you think you don’t have idea for a business, think of problems. Yes, problems are opportunities.

A successful business solves problems. Business writer, Robert Jordan, said the ability to act without full information can be a strength when starting a business.

Every entrepreneur should learn to embrace the learning process, because if there is anything constant in business, it’s the changes along the way. Indeed, “skill and money isn’t the answer for the entrepreneur, it is knowledge from books, observing, and asking”. This is what Anita Roddick emphasized in her book Business as Unusual. While it’s important that you know enough about the industry you’re trying to build a business on, you don’t need to know everything.

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2. You should have a full business plan

Contrary to myth, a good business-person doesn’t need a detailed business plan to start a business. We’re often told that a business plan is a must to help guide the company, and to avoid losing focus. According to Garrett Moon, the co-founder of CoSchedule, it’s more like a safety net to make sure that you actually lose focus. Moon says, “When people do nothing but execute a plan, they lose the ability to innovate and adjust to the changing waters of business.”

3. You need to wait for the right time to get started

Indiegogo’s hard-earned success is a proof that you don’t need to wait for the right time to start a business. Slava Rubin, the CEO of Indiegogo, started the company months before the financial crisis of 2008. When the economy took a hit, many people advised them to shut down. Despite that, Rubin and his cofounders were so passionate about their efforts to democratize fundraising that they pressed forward at all costs.

4. You have to work 24/7

According to entrepreneurial urban legend, you need to work 24/7 to run a successful business. Andrew Wilkinson, CEO of MetaLab, has a different view on this. He emphasized that you don’t have to make yourself miserable to build a great company. What’s the use of working 80 hours a week and getting paid four times more than you used to, when you can’t even have a social life?

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Andrew knew what it’s like to work non-stop and decided to stop this kind of life for the sake of his own sanity. Now, Andrew enjoys being getting eight hours of sleep each night and spending more time with family, while still managing a successful company.

5. You need a lot of money to begin

Many businesses believe they need a venture capital to begin. But now that crowd-funding platforms allow people to raise money, it’s time to rely less on venture capital. The fact that crowd-funding also attracts a global audience, including potential clients, is a huge factor.

Satari Star Swivl, a movement tracking dock, presented the product to multiple investors in California. Although they got rejected every time, their Indiegogo campaign raised more than $24,000 in two months. A common excuse among people is: “I need money to make money.” In spite of that, it’s possible to start a business with little or no capital in many ways. One of which is through offering services instead of selling physical products. For example, Greg Miliates, founder of a consulting firm, started his business inexpensively.

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6. You need to spend money to make money

While it’s a known fact that it takes money to make money, many entrepreneurs have turned their ideas into profitable businesses without relying on a hefty marketing budget. Andrew Keller, vice president and associate creative director of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, shares that you could have successful marketing campaign provided that you know your brand extremely well. Keller says, “You’ve got to know you’re brand. You need to really know your brand. You’ve got to be 100% on brand all the time. So talk to the right people.”

7. You need to have control of everything

Who else in the world knows about your business but yourself, right? Most entrepreneurs feel the need to have control and knowledge about every single division and part of the operation. While it makes sense to stay on top of everything, many entrepreneurs struggle to scale their business because of this very issue. Wise entrepreneurs know when to give up on power and authority. They know when to delegate, so they can focus on much more important matters of the operations. Forbes contributor, Paul B. Brown, has highlighted the importance of giving up control in order to build a successful business as it allows the business not to rely on just one person. It also gives the business the ability to grow faster.

8. You have to under-promise and over-deliver

While it’s ideal for personal relationships, setting the bar low right at the start may prove to be unhealthy for the business in the long run. Instead of giving the customers the very best products and services right from the start, businesses that tend to provide so-so experience to its customer may actually hamper the business growth.  Customers will soon start fleeing when they find much better options that don’t hold up when it comes to quality and overall experience.

Many entrepreneurs struggle in turning their business ideas into a successful startup as they’re clouded with several myths that they may been told in the past. The best way to combat these myths is consciously commit to not fall into any of those above-mentioned.

Featured photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons: Cristian Bortes via flickr.com

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Jonha Revesencio

Jonha Revesencio is a Business Strategist with years of experience developing digital media strategies.

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Published on November 12, 2020

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

5 Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment (And What To Do)

What’s the most draining, miserable job you’ve ever had? Maybe you had a supervisor with unrealistic demands about your work output and schedule. Or perhaps, you worked under a bullying boss who frequently lost his temper with you and your colleagues, creating a toxic work environment.

Chances are, though, your terrible job experience was more all-encompassing than a negative experience with just one person. That’s because, in general, toxicity at work breeds an entire culture. Research shows abusive behavior by leaders can and often quickly spread through an entire organization.[1]

Unfortunately, working in a toxic environment doesn’t just make it miserable to show up to the office (or a Zoom meeting). This type of culture can have lasting negative effects, taking a toll on mental and physical health and even affecting workers’ personal lives and relationships.[2]

While it’s often all-encompassing, toxic culture isn’t always as blatant or clear-cut as abuse. Some of the evidence is more subtle—but it still warrants concern and action.

Have a feeling that your workplace is a toxic environment? Here are 5 surefire signs to look for.

1. People Often Say (or Imply) “That’s Not My Job”

When I first launched my company, I had a very small team. And back then, we all wore a lot of hats, simply because we had to. My colleagues and I worked tirelessly together to build, troubleshoot, and market our product, and nobody complained (at least most of the time).

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Because we were all in it together, with the same shared vision in mind, cooperation mattered so much more than job titles. Unfortunately, it’s not always that way.

In some workplaces, people adhere to their job descriptions to a fault:

  • Need help with an accounting problem? Sorry, that’s not my job.
  • Oh, you spilled your coffee in the break room? Too bad, I’m working.
  • Can’t figure out the new software? Ask IT.

While everyone has their own skillset—and time is often at a premium—cooperation is important in any workplace. An “it’s not my job” attitude is a sign of a toxic environment because it’s inherently selfish. It implies “I only care about me and what I have to get done” and that people aren’t concerned about the collective good or overall vision.[3] That type of perspective is not only bound to drain individual relationships; it also drains overall morale and productivity.

2. There’s a Lack of Diversity

Diversity is a vital part of a healthy work environment. We need the opinions and ideas of people who don’t see the world like us to move ahead. So, when leaders don’t prioritize diversity—or worse, they actively avoid it—I’m always suspicious about their character and values.

Limiting your workforce to one type of person is bound to prevent organizations from growing healthily. But even if your work environment is diverse in general, the management might prevent diverse individuals from rising to leadership positions, which only misses the point of having a diverse work environment in the first place.

Look around you. Who’s in leadership at your company? Who gets promotions and rewards most often? If the same type of people gets ahead while other individuals consistently get left behind, you might be working in a toxic environment.

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However it manifests in your workplace, keep in mind that a lack of diversity is a tell-tale sign that “bias is rampant and the wrong things are valued.”[4]

3. Feedback Isn’t Allowed

Just as individual growth hinges on being open to criticism, an organization’s well-being depends on workers’ ability to air their concerns and ideas. If management actively stifles feedback from employees, you’re probably working in a toxic environment.

But that definitely doesn’t mean nobody will air their feelings. One of the telltale signs of toxic leadership is when employees vent on the sidelines, out of management’s earshot. When I worked in a toxic environment, coworkers would often complain about higher-ups and company policies during work in private chats or after work hours.

It’s normal to get frustrated at work. That’s just a part of having a job. What isn’t normal is when dissent isn’t a part of or discouraged in the workplace. A workplace culture that suppresses constructive feedback will not be successful in the long run. It’s a sign that leadership isn’t open to new ideas, and that they’re more concerned about their own well-being than the health of the organization as a whole.

4. Quantifiable Measures Take Priority

Sales numbers, timelines, bottom lines—these metrics are, of course, important signs of how things are going in any business. But great leaders know that true success isn’t always measurable or quantifiable. More meaningful factors like workplace satisfaction, teamwork, and personal growth all contribute to and sustain these metrics.

Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, and they shouldn’t be the only concern. Measure-taking should always take a backseat to meaning-making—working together to contribute to a vision that improves people’s lives. If your workplace zones in on quantifiable measures of success, it’s probably not prioritizing what truly matters. And it’s probably also instilling a fear of failure among employees, which paralyzes employees instead of motivating them.

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5. The Policies and Rules Are Inconsistent

Every organization has its own set of unique policies and procedures. But often, unhealthy workplaces have inconsistent, unspoken “rules” that apply differently to different people. When one person gets in trouble for the same type of behavior that promotes another person, workers will feel like management plays favorites—which isn’t just unethical but also a quick way to drain morale and fuel tension in the office.[5] It only shows how incompetent the leadership is and indicates a toxic workplace.

For example, maybe there’s no “set” rule about work hours, but your manager expects certain people or departments to show up at 8 am while other individuals tend to roll in at 9 or 10 am with no real consequences. If that’s the case, then it’s likely that your organization’s leadership is more concerned with controlling people and exerting power rather than the overall good of their employees.

How to Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

The first thing to know if you’re stuck in a toxic work environment is that you’re not stuck. While it’s ultimately the company’s responsibility to make positive changes that prevent harmful actions to employees, you also have an opportunity to speak up about your concerns—or, if necessary, depart the role altogether.

If you suspect that you’re working in a toxic environment, think about how you can advocate for yourself. Start by raising your grievances about the culture in an appropriate setting, like a scheduled, one-on-one meeting with your supervisor.

Can’t imagine sitting down with your supervisor to air those problems on your own? Form some solidarity with like-minded colleagues. Approaching management might feel less overwhelming when you have a “team” who shares your views.

It doesn’t have to be an overtly confrontational discussion. Do your best to frame your concerns in a positive way by sharing with your supervisor that you want to be more productive at work, but certain problems sometimes get in the way.

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Final Thoughts

If your supervisor truly cares about the well-being of the organization, they will take your concerns seriously and actively take part in changing the toxic work environment into something more conducive to productivity.

If not, then it might be time to consider the cost of the job on your well-being and personal life. Is it worth staying just for your resume’s sake? Or could you consider a “bridge” job that allows you to exhale for a bit, even if it doesn’t “move you ahead” the way you planned?

It might not be the ideal situation, but your mental health and well-being are too important to ignore. And when you have the opportunity to refuel, you’ll be a far more valuable asset at whatever amazing job you land next.

More Tips on Dealing With a Toxic Work Environment

Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

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