Starting your own business can be a dream, but it’s also true that a large proportion of new business owners go into their chosen marketplace without a good understanding of what they need to do to be successful. There are many myths about business that many owners and entrepreneurs unfortunately still believe are true. Here we expose six of them.
Myth 1: Having the best product is enough to succeed
In the UK the dominant brand of ketchup is undoubtedly Heinz. It accounts for more than 60 per cent of all the ketchup sold here. That’s the kind of market share that almost any product would love to have across no matter what industry it’s in.
You’d think that given price point for ketchup is pretty much the same for all the companies that produce it, the reason for Heinz’s success is obvious: they must make the best ketchup. But the fact is, that’s not true at all. In a blind taste test carried out by Which, Heinz ketchup came joint second from bottom, beaten by the own-brand ketchup of all the major supermarkets as well as brands including Branston and Hellmann’s.
What this tells us is that having the best product marketplace is not enough to make you successful. If you’ve got the best product you can’t afford to assume that the business will just start flooding in; you still need to find the best way to advertise and market what you do to the right people.
Myth 2: Getting as many sales as possible is the important thing
Of course sales are vital to any business, but it pays to remember that anyone can sell something for cheaper than what it’s worth. The key thing for small businesses is understanding their own value and not undercutting themselves in order to make the sale. Sales that don’t make money are not a positive, they are a burden to the success of the business.
If you are going to push for more sales and conversions make sure that you and your staff are doing it at the right price. Otherwise you could end up with an unsustainable business model that will inevitably fail.
Myth 3: Small business owners can’t take a break
When many entrepreneurs start up their own business they will put in almost every hour they can in order to make the company a success. This will mean working long into the evening, losing their weekends and not taking a holiday for years at a time.
But this is a problem for two main reasons. Firstly if the success of your business is built on you never having free time again, is it really worth it for you? And secondly, overworking yourself will undoubtedly lead to stress which can make it much harder to function at your best. Give yourself that time off that you deserve so that you can return to work refreshed and ready to succeed.
Myth 4: You don’t need telephone answering services
It’s easy to assume that if your website is your main source of business that customers will be happy to do all of their dealings digitally. But it’s important to remember that while this might be true for some, there is still a huge portion of society that would rather call you up directly to discuss your product. And indeed if you have issues or problems that need to be sorted through customer services, it’s vital to have people on hand to field those calls.
As your business grows you will naturally have more need to have people who are capable of dealing with telephone queries and complaints. Many small business owners assume that their staff will be able to do this, but those workers will be doing their own job and answering the phone to every customer that needs assistance or advice can be a significant use of their time.
It can be an excellent idea for small businesses to invest in telephone answering services. A professional call centre will field your calls and deal with any simple questions and problems, while more complex issues can be passed on to members of staff to deal with.
Myth 5: You can rely on hiring your friends
When you start up your own business, it’s natural to look from the talent pool around you in order to find members of staff. Many entrepreneurs like to work in a business with their friends too so it can seem like an attractive option. But it’s also really important to approach this idea with caution. Remember that is business, not your social life, and having a great time with people who can’t do the job properly will simply lead to your business failing.
Ensure that if you are going to hire friends that they have the appropriate skillset and work ethic for the company – there’s nothing that will create a rift between friends like having to fire them for not doing their job properly.
Myth 6: You need a lot of money to get started
There’s an old saying: you’ve got to spend money to make money. While there is probably an element of truth to this, many entrepreneurs seem to take it that it means that huge investment will ensure the success of a company. In fact in the early days of a business, the most important thing you can do is keep costs as low as possible. When you don’t yet understand your margins or how much money you are able to make in a month it’s absolute vital to keep spending to a minimum.