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Common Myths that Hinder Entrepreneurial Success

By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of Flickr


Working for a marketing agency comes with a lot of responsibility. At Working the Web to Win, we care about being honest about what it takes to get positive results. All too often sales reps in our industry push products that have little chance of helping the business owner achieve their profitability goals. Yes, businesses may get a few new clients from these marketing products, but often the return on investment is lackluster or negative. This is particularly true for startup companies. This is partially due to the fact that many are underfunded and they lack the overall expertise needed to succeed. Often it's because startup companies fall victim to what I call "the Myths of Entrepreneurial success". The most common myth in this arena is what I call "the field of Dreams myths" - i.e. Build it and they will come! In this episode of Working the Web to Win, I will explore a baker's dozen of these so-called myths in hopes that entrepreneurs and companies launching new ideas or products will heed my warnings and take a different approach. One that most often leads to success instead of the quintessential failure that most end up with. So take out your notepad and be ready to capture the myths as we explore my baker's dozen of Entrepreneurial Success Myths.


I have worked with hundreds of professional, and business owners of every size company and it never ceases to amaze me that all most every one of them held at least one of the 13 myths I am going to cover in this article. These myths include what I call; 1). The Field of Dreams. 2). The Great Idea. 3) The Expert. 4). Sales Are Everything. 5) I Know Finance. 6). I Can Manage People. 7). Being First Ensures Success. 8). Dedication And Hard Work Are Key. 9). I Have Money. 10). Experts Agree With Me. 11). Being Organized Is Key. 12). Being Connected is The Secret. 13). With Lots of Money, You can Hype and Sell Anything.

These 13 mistakes are so prevalent that even when I explain these myths to business owners they still misinterpret what they need to avoid. So, before I get deep into these 13 myths, I would be remiss if I neglected to inform you of other related articles that can help you avoid these common mistakes. These articles will provide a different perspective on these types of mistakes and will help businesses of all sizes to stay on course. For example, my article called "7 Myths that Entrepreneurs Often Believe That Lead to Big Mistakes", talks about seven marketing myths that lead to failures by many businesses. Also, my article called; "How to Make This Year, Your Best Year Ever!", discusses the importance of pre and post-market testing and ongoing results measuring. Or another article called; "How to Keep your New Year’s Business Resolution in the 21st Century" where I explore the importance of goal setting, results tracking and accountability. In fact, if you enter any related keyword in the search box of this blog, you will find dozens articles related to myths and mistakes that businesses make. Here is a shortlist of some of our most relevant related articles to help you get started.


Now that I have done my duty of helping you understand the big picture, let's tackle my 13 top myths that entrepreneurs come to the marketing table with.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

  1. The Fields of Dreams Myth - Build it and they will come. This is the most common myth that new entrepreneurs have. It is also common to many small business owners as well. This myth does not take into account the scope of what's involved in creating a successful business. Let's use the invention of some new cool gadgets. Any new item, unless it is obviously as complete necessity, has a problem of educating the buying public. Inventors also need to educate the public as to its marketing category. This is especially true if the product is in a fringe industry, such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and firearms.  You will see as I continue, this myth ignores all the business hats,   a business owner needs to wear in order to be successful.    
  2. The Great Idea Myth - A great idea is all you need! The fact is that great ideas are abundant. What is often missing is a coherent plan to, build the business, build the product/service, then market the product/service and to manage its growth, from launch to acceptance. I can't overemphasize the importance of research and  planning  to the success of any business endeavor. Yes, there are a few exceptions to the rule, but even the exceptions quickly learn that they need to adopt a strategy of research, testing and planning to maintain the growth and market share. 
  3. My Expertise Insures My Success -  Another myth is that I have the expertise to do this business and this the most important thing I need to know. I can agree that it is important to have expertise in any endeavor a business chooses to pursue. However, it isn't the only thing that is important. Every entrepreneur needs to have a good understanding of sales, marketing, management, accounting, finance, production and overall operation of their industry. This often means they either must have these skills or they must partner with or hire others to fill these important positions. Wearing all  the hats (often without the needed skills) at startup is one of the most common reasons many businesses fail.
  4. Sales are Everything - You're great at sales and you know you can sell your
    Courtesy of Pixabay
    product or service. This very well may feel like a win, but sales are not everything. Like I mentioned earlier, there are also production, finance, accounting, management, and marketing to consider. If a company neglects these roles, it will fail.
  5. I Know Finance - You have great credit and know how to handle money.  Again, this is a variation on what I call the "One Hat Myth"! It is the idea that the business is what you have expertise in. Understanding finance and accounting is a big help, but this is still a far cry from having all the pieces in place to build a successful company.
  6. I Can Manage People - You have managed lots of people so you know you can manage the business. I will admit that managing people is one of the keys to a successful business. However, when you're in a startup or don't have the resources or in-house expertise (like marketing expertise), you still need to learn how to manage finances, accounting, and outsourcing. In fact, it is often best to outsource many of these business tasks until you're big enough to hire the right key people to fill these critical positions. In my opinion, marketing is one of the last positions you end up bringing in house.
  7. Being First Ensures Success - Being First insures you are a winner, everyone else will have to catch up to compete. Today's business environment is very competitive and very fast-paced. If a company comes out with a product or service that seems like a winner, you can bet it won't be long before there are copy cats nipping at the heels of your product or service. (A key example is Steve Jobs launch of the iPhone.) I have seen examples of pre-launch products listed on Facebook as a way to hype the launch of that product get beaten to the  punch by a Chinese copycat company. No product, copyright or patent is completely free of competition in today's business environment.
  8. Dedication And Hard Work Are Key - All you have to do is work hard and keep your eye on the goal to succeed. In my opinion, it should go without saying that every business owner should be dedicated to its success. This often means working long  hours, especially in the beginning. However, it is much better to add the ethic of working smarter as well. I have seen lawyer's who charges $385 an hour who can't give up wearing the marketing or IT hat because they like doing this part of the business. If they were working smarter, they would either outsource this task or partner with other lawyers who are better at engaging the public. 
    Courtesy of Flickr
  9. I Have Enough Money to Ensure Success - You have enough money to get started and launch your business. Having sufficient funds is a critical component of startup success. However, a prudent  entrepreneur would have to make sure they have enough money to last at least a year without any revenue (if not two years). Also, having adequate funds is not good enough to ensure success. It is also important that the money be invested wisely. I have seen entrepreneurs with more than adequate startup funding spend excessive amounts of their money on infrastructure that they could have rented or they needlessly spent money on a high priced payroll officer that should have outsourced. A good example of this is hiring a marketing director for $75,000 a year instead of spending that money on actual marketing.
  10. Experts Agree With Me - You have a team of expert consultants telling you that you can't lose. This is a common mistake I have seen, especially with inventors. Often would be inventors are sold a bill of goods that says their invention is patentable and there is a waiting market for their product. What is not often realized by these entrepreneurs is that the "Invention Support Company" and its consultants make most of their money by creating expensive reports that egg on the inventor without any real market research. Yes, they will often provide a cost analysis for the creation of a prototype and come up with manufacturing costs. However, very little real marketing research is provided. We usually only see cursory and vague demographic information with no real message or product needs testing. 
  11. Being Organized Is Key - You're an organized person and know you can run a tight ship. Being organized is important to every business. However, it is also important to have a creative side as well. Most of the successful entrepreneurs I've met realized that they needed to partner up with others who complement their strengths. An organized entrepreneur usually needs a creative person as a  partner, a creative entrepreneur usually needs an organized partner as well. In fact, all the hats mention in this article are needed either as a partner, and employee or as an outsourced vendor.
    Courtesy of Flickr
  12. Being Connected is The Secret - You're connected to all the right people and know you can get all the help you need. Being a 27-year veteran of BNI and a person who believes in networking as a great way to do business, I know the power of networking. However, having a connection is not that same thing as having a trusted referral partner or better still, a trusted business associate who is willing to help you plan and get your business off the ground by bringing other needed partners to help with the financing, expertise and other resources. It's not just who you knows, it's who is really willing to help or join forces with you in your venture. 
  13. With Lots of Money, You can Sell Anything -  Over the years I have seen a lot of questionably useless products get hyped into sales stardom. Most of these products end up being shooting stars. A few (like the pet rock) continue to rake in sales for many years, but the fact is, that using the word "few" is really an understatement. Yes, it's true you can hype products and garner sales. Flash ads, catchy slogans, humorous commercials, and often misleading advertisements can create a short term frenzy of sales. However, this frenzy is often followed with a backlash, bad press and sometimes lawsuits. In the long run, a product or service must have some kind of intrinsic value. The "Pet Rock" has lasted a long time, mainly because it is funny, cute and relatively cheap as a gag gift. Yet, it's important to note that it's shooting star sales took a dive when a slew of copycat type products took to the streets and still compete with them even today.
What Leads to Success! Now that we have looked at my top 13 entrepreneurial myths, let's look at what really drives success. If we look at the most successful entrepreneurs, we see a pattern of not going it alone. They start with the research to determine how much money is needed to launch their enterprise. Then they focus on building a team of people that can fulfill the top roles (the key managerial hats) that will drive the business to success. This means either hiring or outsourcing the key roles based on the budgetary needs of the business. They then take the time to fully develop their ideas, their products or services, they research the potential competition and explore potential issues with production and or delivery. They will take the time to understand the financial and cash flow needs of the business and  fully develop a marketing plan based on understanding the target market, the primary marketing venues, and the competition's strengths and weaknesses, as compared to their products or service.

I know that this sounds like a lot of work for a small startup. It definitely seems like too much for a one-person operation, but it doesn't have to be . In my opinion, I believe a small startup should outsource finance, accounting, marketing, and HR/payroll to save time and so they can devote most of their efforts towards sales and production/delivery. Without revenue, the business will fail regardless of how great the idea or product or service was. They have to develop a system that focuses on KPI's, (key performance indicators) and then they have to engage in regular evaluations of their people and product performances. Finally, it's important to have enough money for the new business to survive the cash flow problems of a startup. I tell entrepreneurs that they should have banked enough money to cover at least two years of expenses without getting paid. If an entrepreneur takes the time to build a team and is willing to do whatever it takes (legally), this gives them a good chance of succeeding. If not, then chances are that they will go the way of the dodo in less than 5 years. I hope this article convinces you to plan and steer a new course to entrepreneurial success, avoiding the myths that will definitely put you on the rocks.


That's my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.


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This article provides 13 common myths that entrepreneurs have when starting a new business. It further provides what entrepreneurs really need to achieve success. The article further provides links to other relevant articles to help an entrepreneur achieve a complete understanding of what is needed for success. Lastly, this article also offers a FREE web presence analysis to help companies make wise decisions with regard to their digital marketing. Lastly, this article also provides a link to our BlogTalkRadio show as well.

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Hector Cisneros is COO and Director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also the co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success” and the co-author along with his business partner Carl Weiss of their hit book also called “Working the Web to Win.”

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