Business startups – 5 myths of starting a business

Recently, I was in a mastermind meeting with a government business development expert who spends lots of time counseling new entrepreneurs who hope to start, or hope to make a success of, a business. He works for a public-private business development group.

3 of us grilled him for over an hour.

My question for him was “What keeps you up at night?”

Aside from his little boy, he is sometimes kept awake at night by these 5 myths entrepreneurs have about starting a business:

Myth # 1) People thinks it’s easy.

My friend says within 5 minutes of starting a discussion with a new entrepreneur, he’s talking about break-even analysis and other finance-related items and suddenly, things don’t seem so easy to his client anymore.

After some questions about finance, legal structure, paperwork and other must-do things, if the prospective business person thinks THIS seems hard, then they may want to reconsider.

Making payroll, keeping up with taxes and paperwork, marketing, sales, fixing a toilet, managing employees and keeping customers happy – all at the same time, every day….that’s what’s hard. Talking about break-even analysis is child’s play compared to juggling all of that.

Don’t get me wrong, the rewards are worth it. Just don’t expect it to be easy. It’s not. NO ONE who owns a business will tell you that it’s easy, and I won’t be the first to start, noting that I’m writing this at 12:23am.

Myth # 2) People think there are lots of social programs (such as grants) for new business owners, offering startup funds.

Obviously, they are thinking of Matthew Lesko, the goofy guy who screams on your tv about “Free government money!!! $5000 to go to school, and $7000 to start your own business” and so on.

There are some grants available, most require matching funds, but most of these programs are to help EXISTING businesses with employees grow (hire more people) or improve the jobs of their employees through skills training. You might stumble across one, but please don’t assume that you will just fall into a pile of free government money. You won’t.

Myth # 3) People don’t think they need to seek professional help (legal, financial, marketing, etc).

Business mentor Jim Rohn says “Poor people have big TVs. Rich people have big libraries”.

The point is, not only do you have to educate yourself, but you also have to get professional, skilled help for some things.

Don’t play a lawyer on TV or on your own business.

Don’t pretend to be a CPA unless you have experience or training in accounting. Even then, a fresh set of eyes is often worthwhile.

Unless you have proven to be an accomplished marketer to the market your new venture is focused on, get some help. If nothing else, speak with someone to help you lay out a plan so that you aren’t shooting arrows in the dark. Even the best world-class marketing people are constantly learning from each others’ seminars, courses and the new strategies and campaigns of others that have proven to work. You’d be crazy to assume you are done learning, whether it’s marketing or some other aspect of your business.

Myth # 4) I really don’t need to keep the state and the Feds happy with a bunch of paperwork.

Uh, yes, you do. It helps to get professional help with this stuff because, quite frankly, the paperwork can be a nightmare even if you don’t mess it up. People who are experts at it can save you a lot of time, and possibly penalties and even more costly errors.

Myth # 5) I need a bunch of money to start a business.

If you can’t run a business with a little bit of money, making do, solving problems and being innovative, you’ll have problems running it with a lot of money at some point down the road. Why? Lots of money hides problems, makes your life so easy that when problems occur, you tend to solve them with money. Later, when the money has been spent, then what do you do?

Don’t fall victim to the myths. Just get out there and make stuff happen. Sitting around till the timing is perfect is kind of like sitting around and waiting for the perfect time to have kids. Isn’t ever going to happen, so start moving on your dream TODAY.

Remember, the biggest difference between those who do and those who don’t is TAKING ACTION.