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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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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

More Tips on Advancing Your Career

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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