In the early stages of starting your own business, there is no shortage of information available to you with the click of a button. While most information is meant to be helpful, there is an abundance of information that is inaccurate or untrue. Determining what’s fact and what’s fiction can be overwhelming, so we’ve taken the time to debunk the 5 biggest startup myths to help you navigate your startup journey:
- If you build it, they will come – This age-old saying is misleading. Building a company will not guarantee its success. Regardless of how many people you think will fall in love with your brand, true success comes from marketing your business and engaging your audience. Brand recognition is an on-going effort. There will always be new customers to engage and untapped markets to penetrate.
- Venture Capital is a must – Startups that are able to secure venture capital generate a lot of buzz, but do not be discouraged if that is not you. There are a variety of funding options available to raise money. Crowdfunding platforms are increasingly popular ways for entrepreneurs and small businesses to raise capital. Of course, you still have your traditional lending sources as well. Another option, too, is to forgo outside funding altogether and opt to bootstrap your way to profitability.
- Protection can wait – Protecting your ideas and products was not always a precaution entrepreneurs took early on, but times are changing. Due to the popularity of crowdfunding sites and social media, protecting your ideas is important now more than ever. If you have a product idea, filing a provisional patent is a smart and inexpensive way to keep your brand safe until you can afford a formal patent. If you have a business name you really want to use, make sure you register it with your state corporation/business division so you can secure it for your use. If you are not sure what method of protection to pursue, contact a professional to determine your startup needs. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Wait until the “right” time – If you wait until the perfect time to start your business, you’ll be waiting for forever. Life stops for no one and odds are that the “right” time won’t be the crystal clear moment you imagined. If you are passionate and serious about what you want, the time to pursue your dreams is NOW. Make time in your schedule by planning out your week and eliminating procrastination. You will be glad you did when your vision becomes a reality.
- Failure means you should give up – Nobody looks forward to failing, but even the most successful business owners have experience failure. How you manage through failure builds character and gives you the opportunity to learn lessons that will determine future success. Failure can actually be good for you as it teaches lessons that success cannot. In fact, some investors prefer to invest in companies run by people who have failed at least once. Failure can be discouraging, but don’t take it as a sign that you should abandon your dream. Brush yourself off, learn from the experience, and try again.
Receiving advice and learning from the wins and losses of other startups and entrepreneurs is encouraged. As you research and seek advice from others, be mindful of biases and information not backed by research. The advice provided in this article is intended to help you navigate through the early stages of starting your business. Always remember to fact check and evaluate multiple sources so that you can make the best decisions possible for your business.