Starting Up a Business? 10 Things You Probably Thought Were True (But Aren’t)

Starting Up a Business? 10 Things You Probably Thought Were True (But Aren’t)

Every year in the UK, over 600,000 new companies are born. That’s an awful lot of people making the jump from employee to business owner. And it’s easy to understand why: being your own boss sounds like an extremely attractive idea. Taking an idea and turning it into a way of earning money is the ultimate dream.

Unfortunately, many of these new businesses fail – up to 90% will crash and burn in the first few years of trading. Why? Because so many people don’t understand exactly what it takes to start running their own business, and make fatal mistakes.

What follows are the 10 most common and most deadly misconceptions about starting your own business. If you manage to avoid falling prey to these, you’re giving yourself a huge head start.

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1. All You Need is an Idea, the Rest Will Fall into Place…

There really is no such thing as a “million dollar idea”. Of course, you do need some sort of idea of what you want to sell or create. But it isn’t the idea that actually determines how well your business will do, or how much money you make. A startup’s success depends on how well the owner researches, plans and markets their idea. Set measurable and achievable goals, plan your finances, and be honest with yourself about potential risks for the best chance of success. Even automating your work day with a CRM takes time and effort to begin with!

2. You Don’t Need to Bother Doing Market Research

Even if you think you’ve got a unique idea and have no competition, you absolutely must do market research. Someone, somewhere will be selling a product or service similar to yours. Which other companies are going to be your main rivals, and what are their selling points? What is your business going to offer clients that they don’t? How will you set yourself apart?

3. Your Business Idea Has to Be 100% Unique

Although you should have a unique selling point, you don’t have to come up with a 100% original concept. Sometimes, the most successful businesses take ideas that are already being marketed, and improve on them or change them in some way. If there’s a market for it, you can figure out how to profit from it. You don’t need to try to reinvent the wheel.

4. So Long as You’re Selling a Good Product, People Will Buy it…

It’s all about exposure. Even if your idea is fantastic and your product is amazing, people won’t buy it if they don’t know that it exists. It’s not enough to simply create a website and wait for people to find it – it’s not that easy. It’s essential to set up a solid marketing campaign and start advertising if you want people to find your business.

5. Starting up a Business Requires a Lot of Money

Not so! Most startups can get off the ground with the bare minimum of capital, especially businesses that are based out of your home office to start with. There is some money involved, of course, but you don’t have to already be a millionaire. You can always apply for funding to get off the ground if you need it – but even if you start out with all the money in the world, it’s not a guarantee you’ll succeed.

6. You Can Choose Your Own Hours

It’s the dream: being able to work when you want, for as long as you want. If you want to take a three hour lunch break to play some Football Manager, why not? It’s not as simple as that. Clients/customers expect you to reply during normal business hours, and on normal working days. That alone places a severe restriction on the time you’ll be able to work. Plus, although the idea of slacking is fun at first, it’ll put a dent in your productivity and make you more likely to fail. Not good.

7. Owning Your Own Business is Going to Be a Breeze

Having your own business can be extremely rewarding and exciting, but it’s certainly not easy. Your business will be on your mind every minute of the day, especially when you’re just starting out, and it can take its toll on your life if you aren’t organised enough. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication for your business to succeed, so you won’t be sitting back and relaxing (sadly). That being said, using a CRM to automate things like service emails and invoicing can make life easier.

8. As long as You Work Hard, You’ll Reap the Rewards

That being said, working hard and throwing yourself into your business is by no means a guarantee that success will follow. If you’re working hard on all the wrong things, or taking your business in the wrong direction, the money won’t magically roll in. Use sales data to your advantage, and make sure you’re working smart, not just hard. Don’t forget to delegate tasks to others if need be, including your CRM!

9. It’s your Business, so You Can Run it How You Want to…

Unfortunately, there’s some truth to the old saying “the customer is always right”. When it comes to owning your own business, you aren’t really your own boss – you work for your clients. You have to be willing to adapt your business model and product according to sales trends and clients’ wishes. If you have the mindset of “my way or the highway”, you’ll find yourself sinking fast.

10. Once You Get Started, the Money Will Start Flowing in

If only, eh? Most businesses start slow. Don’t expect to be the next Uber or JustEat overnight. Of course, that’s not to say that there’s something wrong with starting slow; far from it. But believing that your business will explode can do two damaging things: first, it can mess with your expectations, making you feel like a ‘failure’ when you’re anything but. Second, it can cause some business owners to gamble against future success with debt or pricing at a loss. That’s a recipe for disaster.

As long as you dive into your new business with a positive (but not overconfident) mindset, and have realistic expectations, you’ve got a great chance of success. Take heed of the above misconceptions, and you’ll soon start reaping the rewards.