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biggest startup myths debunked - vestbee
30 August 2021·9 min read

Olga Chechłacz

Editor, Vestbee

10 Biggest Startup Myths Debunked

Myths are an integral part of the startup culture as they are cropping up at every stage of the company’s creation process, starting from a business idea and image of the ideal founder, going through team members’ perfect qualities and behaviour, ending with funding-related issues. Just think about it, even the general view on how startups works is the one big untruth - have a disruptive business idea, then grow it from scratch, scale, and get the unicorn status to finally sell your startup to some powerful market player. Sounds good and quite easy in theory, right? However, the reality is much more harsh and complicated. We don’t mean to scare you away, but we do believe that a sober perspective on something you act upon will keep you away from huge disappointment at the beginning and make you more prepared.

So before looking for tips on how to kick off your startup and attract investors, let’s face the misconceptions on what you are about to jump in. It will draw you closer to the recipe for successful startup development.  

 

1.You need a new, innovative, first of your kind business idea.

Do you? Just look around, how many similar social media management tools, CRM software providers, educational platforms, and many more, are out there! Some of them are more successful and popular than others, even if they are based on the same business idea. So as you probably noticed, it’s not all about coming up with the most unique one but about doing it better. Before kicking off, analyze the competition, spot their weaknesses, go through every aspect of their business strategy to find a hole, think about what would you do better, and try to provide more value to give the future customers a good reason to choose you over other market players. Huge market, clear unique selling points, and real value of the product or service itself are much more valuable than seeming disruptive business ideas.

2. You need to have a perfect business plan and follow it no matter what.

It is unfeasible to create a perfect business plan - it should be just a guide that will help you kick off a startup and set up main goals. You have to be aware that every market is subject to changes so it’s impossible to forecast every little one that may affect your business. Many unpredictable things can happen in the startup lifespan so in order to willfully stick to the plan that under certain circumstances simply won’t work, try to be flexible and prepare for the adjustments. That’s why there is no point to waste your time on working out every little detail of your business and wait with kicking off till everything is well thought-through and perfect, as with this approach you may never start for real. Instead, focus on achieving the product-market fit that will prove your product readiness to conquer the market and generate revenue.

3. You need to give every single customer what he/she expects.

Sounds fair, doesn’t it? However, this is a tricky one as you never will be able to satisfy everybody. Focus on your product-market fit, according to which having at least 40% of customers describing the product or service as "very satisfying” is enough to succeed. Of course, try to listen to your clients and fish out some inspiring ideas for product improvement but don’t take every feedback in earnest. You are the one that knows the business in and out and sees if everything is heading in the proper direction or are there some changes needed in order to ensure the further growth.

4. You have to work 24/7 to succeed.

Of course, at the beginning, the business is the one and the only thing that a founder thinks and dreams about. But you can’t achieve success overnight, instead, small steps and moving a company forward by overcoming small issues is the best way to follow. That’s why you need to save your energy and determination, and reasonably portion them out. A startup is not all about working every day till the bitter end - it is a way of living that you should learn how to follow and enjoy even if tough moments happen. Ever heard about the entrepreneur burnout? Many novice founders try to pursue their startup dreams at the sacrifice of their mental well-being and health, which leads to business failure before even starting, let alone the emotional and/or physical exhaustion. So work out your own way to have both the business and personal life in control, and enjoy every step of your startup journey.

5. You need to hurry to not let the competition beat you.

Everybody knows the saying “haste makes waste”, and it actually has its use in the business. Making rash decisions just to disguise current problems will make them come back intensified the next day. Of course, fast decision-making is crucial for blitzscaling, so we don’t encourage you to build your company brick by brick. However, don’t let the rush and hase take control over keeping your head clear. Sometimes huge funding in the beginning encourages you to make overnight big decisions, but don’t fool for that and manage the resources wisely.

6. Best friend will also be the best co-founder of your startup.

You and your friend share the same passion and have a common approach to life, so it sounds like a perfect idea to start a company together? Nothing could be further from the truth - people act differently in their personal and professional lives, so before drawing conclusions too soon and saying this idea out loud, discover your friend’s business personality. It’s not possible for you to agree on every aspect of the business, obviously, but disagreements could badly affect your personal relationship as it's really hard to separate private and work life in this case. Mismatched founders are the main reason why startups fail, so you need to choose carefully and reasonably instead of following your emotional side. However, treat this point as a warning, not a ban, as each case is different. And don’t take me wrong - friendly relations in a workplace are crucial but there is a difference between starting a business with a good friend and starting a business with a good employee and then staying on amicable terms.

7. You don’t need a company culture from the beginning.

We can not disagree more with that one - as company culture is the basement for further startup functioning. It may seem irrelevant as you want to develop the marketing strategy, attract customers and generate profits right away instead of wasting time on setting up inner relations. However, without proper communication and establishing shared values, attitudes and practices everything else won’t work. Adjust the leadership style, show people how they should cooperate with each other, talk openly about your expectations and create the team spirit that will move the startup forward and keep valuable employees.

8. You need to hire the best of the best.

Don’t fall for so-called the rockstar myth where an employee is red-hot on the job market not due to his/her professional achievements but popularity (out of nowhere). First of all, the “hiring only the best” rule limits your options, wastes a lot of time, and takes the chance away from talented professionals. And face the truth - these “rockstars” will require the salary you won’t probably afford as a startup, especially at the very beginning. The best employee is the one that fits your startup culture and has the skills in the specific area you are looking for. In addition, your potential employee should understand your company’s goals and get along with other team members - that is what you need to care about.  

9. You need to raise a solid amount of money upfront.

There are plenty of ways to fund your startup so don’t rush yourself and jump into a long and complicated fundraising process. Consider your situation - you are at the beginning of the startup journey and there is a lot to care about at this moment. The tone of money from investors won’t solve your problems, also, to raise funding (especially from VC) you need to approach them with something. Do you have MVP developed, paying customers, product-market fit, ideally all of it? If not yet try to get a loan, apply for a grant, ask friends or family for support, or find a partner willing to contribute to the business. The time for a huge investment round will come within the startup development and then you will have enough power to decide whether you need it or not.

10. You need to aim at massive reach on every social media account.

You finally have your product or service ready to present and provide to the target audience, so the first thing that comes to your mind is creating social media profiles to expose your brand and gain committed followers and then loyal clients? - we must tell you that this is not always a good solution. Social media reach should not measure your success. Of course, it is crucial to foster the recognizability and positive brand image, but you need to be aware that not every startup profile suits every social media type and its users. Focus on the most relevant ones for your business and create a community there - financial services-oriented startups will find LinkedIn for themselves, but on the other hand, companies from the e-commerce industry will suit better to Instagram or Facebook. Besides, there are plenty of CRM solutions that will help you gain an engaged community and satisfied customers so social media are not the one and only reference point.

In order to succeed, it is important to be able to distinguish startup myths from the truth about them. People will give you a lot of tips and warnings about how to and how not to run a startup, even if they have no experience in the business field. So don’t let yourself muddle, listen only to those you can trust, and more importantly - believe in yourself and focus on your company’s goals.

 

Related Posts:

Overview Of Top Funding Sources To Grow Your Startup (Kaja Dubielska, Vestbee)

Best Ways To Fund Your Startup (by Olga Chechłacz, Editor, Vestbee)

5 Tips On How To Kick Off Your Startup And Attract Investors (by Alex Serdiuk, CEO, Respeecher)



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