When you tell someone you’re starting a business, they’ll likely have an opinion. It doesn’t matter if they’re an entrepreneur or a sanitation worker. They’ll say something like “Oh really? Well did you know that….”
And then they’ll proceed to give you advice on the business you haven’t even started yet. Sometimes, the things you hear about starting a business are true. Things like “90% of business fail” or “80% of small businesses in the US consist of one person”.
On the other hand, there’s a fair amount of crap “fluff”.
Here are some of the lies and half-truths you’ll hear about starting a business.
You Need a Lot of Money
The old saying goes “it takes money to make money”, and it’s true, you’ll have to buy and spend to get a business going. But, perhaps, not as much as you might think.
To start many a business in the digital age, you don’t need huge investments or deep pockets, especially if you’re selling a service or an electronic product. The key is breaking your business idea down to its simplest form. Start there and you can probably get things moving without breaking the bank.
You Only Have to Do Things You Love
Many people start their own business because they want to do something they actually care about. That’s a great reason to start a business. But don’t think that you will only have to do the things you enjoy doing.
As an entrepreneur, you have to do everything initially. That will likely include things you don’t enjoy doing. The hope is that after building up some success, you’ll one day be able to focus on the areas you’re most passionate about.
Until then, you’ll be wearing a lot of hats.
You Have to Jump All In Immediately
Quitting your job, selling all your stuff, and devoting all time and attention to your startup might sound poetic, but it’s not always realistic. Your best option might be to start your business as a side project, allowing you to figure out potential problems while growing organically.
You’re Not Qualified
You will face people who doubt that you can run a business. This is something you’ll likely experience in your own head as well. And for these moments, it’s best to remember that famous Steve Jobs quote:
“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you.”
You don’t need to be a genius or have master class skills. You simply need an idea, a vision, and the commitment to see it through. Steve Jobs created one of the most influential computer companies ever, and he was neither a programmer nor an engineer.
You Have to Work All Day, Every Day
Burnout is a very serious thing among entrepreneurs. That’s because they have this idea that the second they stop, their business will stop and fall apart. While it’s true you’ll likely work some unconventional hours, and you’ll probably pull more than the typical 40-45 hour workweek, you’re still human.
You need breaks and social interaction and fun.
Step away for a moment. Take a day off if necessary. Your business will still be there when you get back.
You Don’t Need a Formal Business Plan
Because the modern business and technological landscape changes so quickly, some people have gotten this idea that business plans are a relic of the past. This is false.
Research has shown that a formal business plan can as much as double your odds of success, particularly for startups
It doesn’t need to be the size of an encyclopedia. It won’t have every piece of your business explained in detail. And it will likely change in the near future.
But creating a written plan is a huge benefit to any business.
Need help on how to create a business plan? Start with my free 1-page strategic plan outline here. For a more in-depth walkthrough of planning a business strategy and measuring success, sign up for my Odds Makers Class.
Odds Makers is a step by step video course that will guide you through all of the stages of creating a vision and workable plan for your business.
A Real Live Case Study
FRW Studios, a creative design firm, is starting its business with formal planning, using Plan Canvas beta version 1.0, the business planning software based on the Business is ART book. The photo appearing at the beginning of this post was taken by Julie White of FRW. It shows FRW’s Lance White and me actually working on FRW’s plans, using Plan Canvas on February 13, 2017.
“Having used his strategy/business plans in the past, we know how important it is to start our studio off on the right foot.”
~ Julie and Lance White