Evolutionary Business Design

5 common myths about small business that you should ignore

Everyone has an opinion. Everyone’s an expert – even taxi drivers can tell you how to run the country or give you hot stock tips.

Some of the most prolific business “advice” comes from family and friends – who don’t even have a business! And some of it is spewed out on the internet by self-styled would-be gurus. Maybe they know what they’re talking about, maybe not.

“You know what your problem is?” and “You know what you should do,” they tell you.

Some of it, a tiny trickle of it, turns out to be quite good, but the majority of it is urban myths and things people make up to justify their own actions or beliefs.

A word of caution

Don’t believe everything you read, see or hear – especially on the internet where anyone can be an expert.

With this in mind, you can also take what I say with a pinch of salt.  This has been my personal experience of being a business owner in multiple businesses for 35 years, and experience from working with business owners for 12 years.

Question what you read and test out these “myths” to see if they are true for you. You may need to shift your thinking a degree or two.

Myth #1

You can’t make a profit in your first year or two of business

If this were true then it’s possible that the business owner has put too much “infrastructure” in the business before they work out if they’ve

  1. Got a saleable product or service with high demand
  2. Got a good deep market for the product or service

One of the first things you should do in business is work out where the money is. Make sure there is enough profit to feed the machine and grow from there. Don’t waste money on toys and looking good.

People get despondent and give up when they realise they are not making any money. There has to be a payoff.

Myth #2

Grow your business so you can have a nice flash office

Why do people insist on making themselves look good at the expense of making the business work?

By all means have a nice flash office if it helps get you more business and it helps you deliver your product or service but do the numbers first. Don’t pimp your ride!

You have to make a lot of money to pay the rent – and other things – before you even think about paying yourself.

Think differently about how to run your business effectively without incurring too many expenses.

Myth #3

Home based businesses are not “real” businesses

If you think a home based business is just “playing” at business, here are the top 5 businesses that started from home:

  1. Amazon
  2. Apple
  3. Disney
  4. Google
  5. Harley Davidson

That doesn’t mean that you need to grow your business to global proportions if you don’t want to, but it can be a great starting point.

These businesses didn’t rush out and get flashy offices and all the gadgets they needed to start up. They kept it simple, started in the garage, had vision and kept at it.

Your home-based business could earn you millions without you ever having to move out. It depends on how you structure it and what your vision is. Keeping it simple and running it lean has huge benefits.

Myth #4

You have to get a business degree

Fortunately you DON’T have to get a degree to run a business.  It can be helpful, or not, depending on how you apply it.

Learning to run a business is like learning to ride a bike. You can’t learn it from a book. It’s not hypothetical – you need to get on and hold on, learn to pedal and steer, fall off, get up, work out how to go fast and when to slow down.

Learn as you go. Read some books, do some courses, find a coach or mentor, but APPLY what you learn and as Mario Andretti said “If everything seems under control, you’re not going fast enough.”

Enjoy the ride!

Myth #5

It’s good to go hard! Sleep is overrated

Oh no it’s NOT!

If you think you can sleep when you’re dead you might just die sooner than later.

You need the full cooperation of your brain and body to do your best at anything. An exhausted brain can’t think straight.

All the best business leaders have found a way to take time out, to relax, get the creative juices flowing and so can you.

Be realistic about what you can get done in a day or a week, stretch it a little if you need to and then be disciple enough to shut down and turn off to rest. Make it a regular habit if you don’t want to be constantly running on empty.

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