Whether it’s the result of programs like The Apprentice or the prominence given to startup hubs like Silicon Valley, entrepreneurialism is a hot topic right now. Starting a businesses is undoubtedly an attractive prospect, particularly when it relates to a personal passion, but many of the other so-called advantages of starting a company from scratch are accompanied by huge challenges.
Before you decide to quit your nine-to-five job and start your own business, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Here are five common misconceptions to be aware of.
That you’re in charge
It is true that if you start your own business you are technically your own boss, but in practical terms this doesn’t mean that you have no one to answer to. If you sought out investors, for example, you’ll certainly need to explain your decisions to them, particularly if they don’t go to plan.
Similarly, if you’ve co-founded a business with other individuals, there may be plenty of times where differences of opinion occur and you need to come to some sort of compromise. Although starting your own business probably affords you more autonomy than you would have as an employee, you can’t do whatever you want, whenever you want.
That everything has to be digital
It’s true that the digital economy has grown hugely in recent years and now underpins many businesses, but that doesn’t mean that it is the be all and end all. There are many startup organisations that, although they may have a digital presence, are not digital businesses per se.
So, your new business could see you working from a laptop in a coffee shop somewhere, or it could see you holed away in a job site trailer on a construction site. Don’t limit your business ideas to the digital sphere, there’s still room for more traditional industries to flourish.
You can buy your way to the top
Although having strong financial backing, either personally or from investors, will prove helpful, there are many examples of businesses that have succeeded through sheer hard work and determination, rather than a swollen bank account. You’d be surprised how far bootstrapping can take your business.
All you need is a good idea
Good ideas are often the starting point for successful businesses, but that doesn’t mean that they guarantee success. There have been plenty of instances of fantastic business ideas that have faltered for a multitude of other reasons, be it poor financial planning or disappointing marketing campaigns.
Some of the factors that undermine good ideas are also completely out of your control. Sometimes, the wider audience simply aren’t ready for the kinds of developments your business is offering and sometimes, the technology is not in place to implement your ideas. For example, there were video streaming sites before YouTube and mp3 players before the iPod, but, for whatever reason, they have not stood the test of time.
Starting a business should fill you with excitement, but don’t get fooled into thinking it’s an all-expenses paid ticket to the big time.