When you hear the word “Startup” you immediately think of something that is new, young, technology-driven and developing fast. After that, you may also think about fundraising, angel investors, venture capitalist or crowd-funding. But, one thing is sure - "Startup" is a company that is at its early stage and does not have much history. Is every new company a STARTUP? Our Twitter poll asked this question and the results are:
Above results show that a shockingly high percentage of people have no clear idea and they have many myths about startups. The following are 20 startup myths you should stop believing right now -
- You should be young: Only one thing should be young to start a startup - and that is "Passion". Age is no bar to start a startup and you can start your startup at any age if your passion is young. You are never too old to start a startup.
- Your business idea should be a brand new idea: Ideas do not make a startup only correct execution of the ideas makes a startup. Many people think that a startup is all about idea or idea is everything in a startup. It is a good thing if you have a brand new and unique idea but ideas are dime a dozen and turning these ideas into reality makes a startup. Facebook's networking idea was not a brand new idea, Google was not a unique search engine and WhatsApp was not the only messaging app.
- Regulators are not smart to catch up the new ideas: You can't overlook regulators for a very long time and they will get you soon. Recently two major taxi-app market player Uber and Ola have been hit by the Indian regulators.
- Fundraising or lot of money will make your startup successful: Funds are important to execute your idea but having enough funding is not related to the success of your startup. Does buying a ticket to travel makes your journey successful? No, similarly having enough funding alone won't get the job done.
- Creating a website or a mobile app makes a startup: Launching a mobile app or a website does not make any business a startup. A startup is about your business intelligence and marketing skills. Your awesome website or your versatile app itself is not a startup - it only helps you to market your product and to provide better customer service.
- Startups are more glamorous: You have been bored with your job or you need more flexible hours so - Why should you not start a startup to live a glamorous life? Starting a startup is a thing and making it successful is another. Running a startup is not a piece of cake. It is an extremely poor idea to start a startup for glamorous life, there is more glamor in sports and cinema and you might try for them.
- A professional degree is a must: You have an advanced degree or diploma from a great university or institute so you will easily raise the seed fund. No, the degree is neither essential to start a startup nor it will help you to raise the seed fund. It is good to have a degree and tech skills to learn meeting with VCs but these are not prerequisite for startups. Many startups have been founded by college dropouts that are more successful. What do Bill Gates, Ritesh Agarwal (Founder of OYO Rooms) and Kunal Shah (Founder of Freecharge) have in common? They all are college dropouts.
- A startup is the best way to make money: This the most common myth and the worst reason for you to start a startup. Of course, money is the lifeblood of any startup but without vision, mission, and passion it won't make it a successful startup. Truth be told, more than 90% startups fall flat.
- Startup founders are entrepreneurs: You are much more than entrepreneur if you are running a startup because you are changing the world. Entrepreneurs are for their financial motives not changing the world.
- No need to report a boss: You have a startup so you won't have to report to a boss. This is a complete myth as the only boss in any business is the customer. Apart from the customer, you will have to report your investors and your business itself. Now you will be more responsible for your business so get rid of this stigma that “startup founders are their own bosses!”.
- My idea and my business skills are smarter than others: This the reason why 90% startups fail. The only smart people are the one who think like a beginner and startup is a brand new beginning.
- Marketing is not important: My idea, product and business model is awesome so there is no need for marketing. Without marketing, you won't get enough customers for your awesome product or service. It is as simple as that.
- Building startup with friends is a cool idea: “A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship." - John D. Rockefeller. I am not endorsing the above quote completely but don't search friends or buddies for your startup idea unless you are working together professionally before launching your startup. It's not about friendship - it's about passion, vision, mission, and values.
- Working hard or working late will make your startup successful: It’s not about quantity - it's about quality. If you are working too late or working too hard for your startup then you may need some good time management skills.
- Your startup must grow rapidly: Growing rapidly needs faster hiring and it is not easy for you to hire the right talent quickly. Growing consistently with a good customer service is more important for you than growing faster with poor customer service. Bigger and faster is not always better.
- Every new business is a startup: Business is created for revenue, profit, and immediate benefit while a startup is created for a long term vision and benefit.
- A startup is a shortcut to success: Startup does not make you successful you make your startup successful so you are the key to success, not your startup.
- Startups are all fun: Sure, happy employees generate more revenue but a startup is not about the fun all the time. Making startup successful is a serious business.
- Failure is bad: You can learn more from failure than success. Failure is not an indication of weakness however not learning from failure can be bad. Snapdeal was founded as a daily deal platform but the initial idea of the founders failed and they learned the lesson and they evolved their idea and later Snapdeal became India’s largest online retailer. Initial failure was good for them.
- Obtaining patent guarantees your success: Obtaining a patent is cool for your startup - but were Myspace, Facebook or WhatsApp able to patent their core idea?
You live in the era of startups so don't get trapped by the above myths. A successful startup is about your idea, vision, mission, values, passion, execution, enthusiasm, business model, talented team, funding, and right timing.
What are the other myths about startups?