The entrepreneurship and startup journey is seen as this mythical expedition, much like Frodo & Sam’s adventure across Middle Earth. And just like any mythical tale, it has its myths. Many a founder has been waylaid by advice that has done more harm than good.
But how do you separate the good advice from the bad?
Startup Myth #1: An entrepreneur is born and NOT MADE
This is probably the most common one out there. Yes, you need to be smart to be an entrepreneur – it, after all, takes smarts to run a successful business and steadily grow into a revenue making machine. But that doesn’t mean entrepreneurship is some holy grail skill that only a few are blessed with.
An entrepreneur is a businessperson. And a business person is someone who notices a problem and potentially has a solution for it. That’s one of the key skills of an entrepreneur – problem-solving.
Every entrepreneur starts with an idea in a room or a garage – even the ones that are now millionaires and billionaires. Especially them. Then how come, you might ask, not every startup or entrepreneur is successful?
Because there is more to being an entrepreneur than being just smart. Qualities like determination, decision-making abilities, objective thinking, rationale, creative thinking, etc. play a big role in an entrepreneur’s success. And these possibly also define if a startup grows to a multimillion or multibillion-dollar enterprise or fizzles out after a few years.
Successful entrepreneurs always look to learn and gain knowledge of different concepts and ideas. Ideas out of their comfort zone and core skill set.
So yes, an entrepreneur is made and learns the skills to be one. The ones that embrace this and learn to be better entrepreneurs are the ones that are driving their businesses better.
Startup Myth #2: Hire RIGHT AWAY to scale faster
Getting the top talent to your business is important, but what’s more important is to know what roles to hire for and which ones to outsource.
Startup salaries are no joke – they are some of the most competitive out there. Sure the pandemic has hampered it, but a startup job usually does come with good pay today, than, say it did 10 years ago.
And recruiting costs can be quite a burden on your business. As per the Human Capital Benchmarking Report of 2016 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) you would be spending upwards of $4,000 and 40+ days to find the new hire that fits your needs. And that is if you find the right candidate – if not, those expenses and timelines tend to be even higher.
Meanwhile, your business is bleeding time and money it cannot afford to lose. A smart way to bypass this hassle is to use the services of a remote employee marketplace. When you are in the early stages of your startup, it makes sense to outsource certain roles. The benefits are many – both cost and resource-wise.
You can hire top talent at a fraction of the cost when you opt for a remote employee. And the business world is moving towards remote employees. The pandemic has been shown that many a office job can be performed without being tied down to a physical office space.
Startup Myth #3: You HAVE TO to raise funds to be successful
Sure, raising funds from great investors is a definite boost. After all, that new capital can be used to expand the business, invest in talent and processes, and improve your offering, among other things. Being able to raise funds, especially from VCs, give you strength and more dependability.
But it’s not the be-all and end-all. Raising funds also comes with more accountability. You will have to prove to the investors every month or quarter that you are able to maximize the business potential and growth.
Only consider raising funds when you absolutely need to. Rather, when it makes prudent business sense to do so. Getting investments should not be seen as a mark of success, and neither as ‘having arrived’. It is only the beginning.
Chase growth. Chase profitability. Raise money on your terms.
Startup Myth #4: You NEED an Ivy League college pedigree to become an entrepreneur
Admittedly, it does help when one has graduated from a top ranking university – it sets a perception of smart and/or successful. There are investors who still use the university degree as a benchmark to gauge the startup founder. But it doesn’t mean you will not find success without one.
There are more successful businesses where the founders haven’t studied at Ivy League colleges than ones where they have. A good education always helps, no doubting that. But on top of that, a startup founder needs the vision, tenacity, grit, and huger for success.
There are a lot of things that go into making successful startup – the founder’s college degree is only a small part of it.
The startup journey is not easy. It is fraught with obstacles, risks, and a lot of hardship. But it is important to be able to avoid the bad advice and not get bogged down by startup myths that don’t hold any water. As many a startup founder will tell you, it’s about the work you put it and a lot of times – getting the timing right.
What are other startup myths that you scoff at? Is there a startup advice you wish you got sooner?