8 Myths About Owning Your Business
Being your own boss feels exhilarating and fulfilling. Many people see business ownership as the best route to financial and career freedom, so it’s no surprise that according to inc.com two thirds of people under thirty are interested in starting their own business. Unfortunately, more than 50% of companies fail in their first five years. Their founders spend much of their time skipping luxuries, vacations and sometimes-even meals. Being an entrepreneur is definitely not for the faint of hearts, but if you have made up your mind to start your own business or already operate one, here are 8 common myths about owning your business that you should know about.
1. I am my own boss
This is true to some degree. Of course, as an entrepreneur you do not have an immediate supervisor, but you are also not completely free to do anything you like. Most of your decisions as a business owner are based on your clients’ needs and wants. If you think about it, your clients become your bosses and they can “hire” or “fire” you any time. You should always stay in tune with what they need and be able to provide the products or services that would match their needs in order to maintain their business.
2. I will have more free time to do what I want
This is one of the most common misconceptions of owning your business. As a new entrepreneur, you will most likely spend much more time working on building your business and securing customers than you otherwise would in an office job. There will come a time when you will long for a 9 to 5 corporate job and there will be weeks when you will log 60 to 70 hours and still feel like you haven’t accomplished much. As an entrepreneur, your business becomes your reality, that’s why it is extremely important to establish a work/life balance. You must work hard but also give yourself the time and permission to “play hard”.
3. I can do it all myself
One of the biggest myths of owning your business is the notion of being able to do everything on your own, which frankly is ridiculous. It is possible, that at the inception of your business you are able to do most of the work yourself, but there comes a time when you cannot do it all. This is the hardest moment for business owners; it feels as though they are giving away a piece of their world when they try to delegate tasks and divide the workload, but if they do not delegate, burnout is inevitable.
An entrepreneur should be knowledgeable enough to work on all aspects of their business, but constantly evaluate if it is the most productive use of their time or if it is a responsibility that could be delegated to others.
4. I will have overnight success
All entrepreneurs have a grand vision about what their business will look like. The ability to dream big and imagine a great future is one of the most important suits of entrepreneurs. Many of us start with a notion of an overnight success, but although a strong vision for a company is a fantastic thing, to succeed you don’t have to realize that vision on the first day. Instead, it may be wise to narrow down ideas into a simple, easy format that one can start on small and continue growing. Your business should be scalable, you should account for the opportunity of developing and growing it over time. If you launch a business that is already everything it could possibly be, then you don’t plan for growth and great success. It may seem unworthy to launch something very simple and unexciting but if it is a product or service that fulfills your customers’ needs, it will help you build a loyal customer base and grow your business. Remember, “Rome was not built in one day”.
5. I will make more money
In entrepreneurship there are no guarantees. In fact, for the first several years in business, it is normal not to turn any profit. You may be able to gross more but as a business you will also have a list of expenditures that are deducted from your monthly revenue. You should account for office rent, overhead, staff and all kinds of operational expenses. What may seem like a much higher income in reality may be yielding a very small amount of profit. Generally small businesses do not even start generating profit until after several years of operations; this is especially true for manufacturing or product-based businesses where a lot of the firm’s assets are locked in the initial overhead investments and monthly maintenance expenses. Be realistic in your revenue projections and be prepared to reinvest into your business almost all of the profits for at least the first couple of years.
6. I can pay myself whatever I want
Simply put, if you take out all the money coming in or a very large portion of it, you will just not have enough left to pay for your expenses and you will not be able to sustain your company’s operations. Many business owners may simply not understand just how much they need to reinvest into the business for marketing and other expenses. The best practice is not to take any money out of the business for up to two years. This will promote growth and insure sufficient amount of cash flow. Think of your business as your baby. It requires a lot of time, hard work and sacrifices. It also needs to be fueled periodically to grow healthy and strong. It is important to remember that your business is a long-term commitment and it takes time to develop something good.
7. I don’t need marketing/branding. My product/service sells itself
Even if you think your product is the best thing since sliced bread, if you don’t have a
marketing plan or budget, you will most likely fail. Marketing is an investment in your business and when it is done right, it pays for itself and more. It is always a good idea to partner with a professional for your branding and marketing needs. The one thing that will universally fail to aid your business is off the shelf marketing initiatives and cookie cutter websites and logos. Hiring a professional to design your logo and provide a comprehensive marketing/branding strategy may be the greatest investment in your business. In today’s content-heavy environment, where consumers are over-loaded by imagery and messaging, it’s crucial for your brand to stand out and make a memorable statement.
8. Once I create my website, I will get traffic
Web traffic is based on a number of factors that aid search engines find your website and direct your customers and potential leads. It is highly recommended to work with professionals who are informed about the latest developments in content marketing, web design and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Among other things, these professionals will help you research the right keywords and put meaningful content on your web site that will attract potential customers and create traffic. The most important part of website development is the appropriate visual design and user interface. You don’t want to frustrate your visitors with a confusing design and impossible to use interface. You only have 5-7 seconds to make a good impression and keep that customer browsing through your website. In terms of content management- your website should be persuasive, use words that define your products and services in the language that your clients use.
In short, if you do your research, fund your venture adequately, work with the right experts and create a marketing plan, you’ll have a much better chance at succeeding as an entrepreneur. In reality, there is no secret sauce to succeeding in entrepreneurship. If anything, entrepreneurship is a lifestyle and a mindset; you must live and breather your business and brand in order to be successful. Your work ethic, dedication, adaptability and vision will keep you on course, so good luck and go create something impactful!