These days every writer, MBA degree holder, business school lecturer and people who generally do not know much about business success offer advice on how to succeed in business.
Having encountered a few failures in business, I have discovered that many of the assumptions and advice about business success are mere fallacies and myths.
Here are the false assumption and myths of business success. Have you fallen for any of them?
A) You must be an expert in your field to build a successful business: proponents of this fallacy always advise that an entrepreneur should only start a business in an area where he is an expert. What do you say about Hugh Hefner then? What did he know about Journalism to become successful in running the Playboy magazine empire.
Agreed, sometimes, it helps in technical fields to be a bit more knowledge-able in the area you are venturing into but we are not talking about, self employment. We are talking about setting up a company, a system and making it run successfully. To do that you need more importantly, the vision and ability to attract resources (human and financial) and effectively deploy and manage these resources for successful results and yield.
That you are an IT expert does not mean that you can run a profitable IT business.
B) You need millions to start: this is hard to dispute. Actually, many startup businesses need cash to stabilize and fulfill their potentials. However, it doesn’t mean that you need millions of capital money to become successful in business. Other Peoples Money (OPM) is a powerful tool. If your idea is good enough and your savings can’t take you to profitability you can explore the possibilities of getting funding from, private investors.
C) Getting Investors Will Make You Lose Control: many business founders fear to go to investors for their much needed funding. They believe that it will only open them up to losing control or ownership of their idea.
You can get much needed funding for your business without giving away more than 20% stake. The 20-25% stake is always a good benchmark to use to make sure you don’t give away too much of your ownership stake
D) Location Doesn’t Matter: true, the internet has, almost, removed boundaries of physical location and changed the way we do business. Location, however, still matters. Especially if you run a brick and mortar business you’ll still have to take into account the accessibility of your raw materials, target market etc.
Even if you run an online business you’ll still need a location that guarantees high speed internet, fewer occurrences of power failure, fewer natural and man-made disasters. All these still matter to a great extent. Ask U.S companies who run their manufacturing lines and plants in Asian countries like China to ease the cost of production.
To Apple, Nike, General Motors, Microsoft etc. location still got a part to play. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise; choose your business location wisely.
E) Draw a Business Plan: this is one of the ways to absolutely waste your time and stop you from actually starting. (I don’t mean to sound so dismissive of the idea) I rather will advise any small business owner or startup entrepreneur to have an action plan, concrete steps and double action strategies to be implemented straight away.
You know why a business plan may not be too good for you? You can’t sit, predict and plan what you are not sure of. Get it into the market first and start something.
Your idea on the business plan will change after you taste real market situation. Do you know how many big companies that are today doing what they never set out to do before in their business plan?
If you must have a business plan make it as simple and direct to action as possible. Otherwise, a plan is of no use if you can’t act on it and thus modify it along the way.
F) Create a board of advisors: this is a favourite advice of many business or success motivational books. They advise you to get real or imaginary advisory board.
The truth is in the real world; almost nobody will have your time. Sure you can network and meet people who will give you advice once in a while but you’ll largely have to make most of your decisions based on your own intelligence.
The key is to follow trends, read meaningful books and get good hands as your partners. You do not need any formal or informal board of advisors to succeed. Some may have succeeded with the help of more experienced advisors but that doesn’t mean you must have them before you win in business.