by Heather Foley, consultant at etsplc.com
The business world is full of myths. They’re repeated so often that they start to feel true. If you’re running a new business, you’d do well to bust the following myths pretty quickly!
1. It’s all about luck.
There are two variations of this one. The first goes along the lines that those who make it got lucky. The second is that those that fail were just unlucky.
Certainly luck comes into play, as it does in all walks of life. But it’s only a very small part of whether a business succeeds or fails. What’s much more significant are the choices you make about:
- What products or services you offer,
- Which market you serve, and
- Who you employ.
And then there are decisions about how you compensate your workforce, how you price your goods and how effective your sales and marketing teams are. Luck won’t come into it when you consider how closely you preserve cash, how much money you borrow or what pace you aim to grow at.
These decisions (and a hundred more) will result in your eventual success or failure. Luck plays only the very smallest of parts. And most people enjoy fairly equal levels of good and bad luck.
2. It’s all about work.
If you follow the stories of successful entrepreneurs, you may conclude that they were successful because they worked every possible hour. There’s certainly little chance of success without putting the effort in. However, what may be less well known is that it’s more sensible and effective to balance work with relaxation. In that way, you squeeze more value out of every hour you do work, and can be much more productive in your working day.
3. You need deep pockets.
A favourite myth of those who are struggling is that it’s only possible to succeed if you already have deep pockets. There’s a grain of truth in this. If you already have money, you don’t have to borrow it or pay interest rates. If you already have money, you can employ more people and develop your products more quickly.
However, this misses the point. Most successful entrepreneurs have made it without a helping hand. They have had to be creative, commercial and nimble to get their business off the ground and gaining momentum.
4. You need to do it all yourself.
So many stories abound of the hero entrepreneur that it’s almost impossible to dis-believe that the Richard Bransons, or Donald Trumps of this world didn’t do every single thing themselves! However, when you actually listen to their stories, they’re usually full of praise for the great people who made their success possible. No business succeeds on the strength of one person alone.
5. The customer is always right.
You’d think that it would be hard to bust this myth. However, Henry Ford did just that. He knew that if he asked his customers what they wanted, they wouldn’t, of course, have been able to request cars! They would have suggested “faster horses”. But, by ignoring them, he established a new industry that revolutionised the lives of billions of people. So, perhaps the customer isn’t always right!!
When you start a new business, it’s easy to get distracted by the myths surrounding good practice or current trends. But, there comes a time, fairly early on, when you need to stop communicating and start the action. As recognised by Walt Disney, “the way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” He seemed to find success with that motto, and with no myth in sight!
Heather Foley is a consultant at etsplc.com. ETS has been a partner to some of the world’s most respected companies since 1989, delivering specialist consultancy and leading edge technology in the following areas: employee research and engagement, leadership development, 360° feedback, performance management, and talent and succession planning.