When as I was starting out with my first venture, my friends had noticed that I hardly go out anymore. After-office dinners and weekend gimmicks were no longer part of my schedule because I was always in a hurry to go to my shop, even if it closes an hour after I got there. The one hour that I get to spend with my business on weekdays may not be sufficient, it may not increase sales, but that’s as close to hands-on management as I can give. Weekends were the only chance I could go full time, and that’s how they were usually spent.
As a result, I would always excuse myself from activities that I usually didn’t pass up before. My friends started complaining, accusing me of using my business as an excuse not to go. There was some truth in that, because since I took on the entrepreneurial path, I also started to feel the need to evaluate my priorities and rethink them. Social gatherings, even those that were initiated by our bosses, and out-of-town trips were pushed a few notches down the rank as I struggled to keep my business afloat.
More protests rolled in the more invitations I turned down. A colleague even said that my break-even should come in on the 3rd month. After which, I can relax a little and go back to being me again. I would just smile on such remarks and remind myself that these lovely friends of mine just couldn’t get the drift. A person on the outside looking in often has a different view from a person inside looking around.
I am not claiming expertise on this field, but it doesn’t take an expert to see a general set of perceptions people have created around the concept of having a business. Often, there are misguided assumptions that are mistakenly used to reflect the how and what, when and where, and why of business. These became myths that overshadow the real facts and clouded the judgment of many entrepreneur-wannabes. Take an ordinary person-an employee who dreams of breaking away from being a corporate slave-and vouch for these myths as effective guides, and it won’t be hard to figure out why most businesses sink after sailing a few knots away from the bay.
So what are these myths exactly?
I observed further, noting my friends reactions and expectations on my business and have come up with my own list, which I can say, is not a far-cry from what established businessmen have been professing every interview. They are rather common and widespread, but budding entrepreneurs are oblivious about them and they continue to trip over and fall, and for most, never get up again.
Business makes you rich. Business alone doesn’t rake in the money. If you put enough effort and blood-sweat into this endeavor, you might then be rewarded with a break-even. Successful business always requires an extra in whatever you can give: extra effort, extra time, extra creativity, etc. These, along with the concoction of other factors, in the long run, are what bring manna down from heaven.
Business allows you to have more time. Having control of your time doesn’t mean you can slack off on your business and still continue to milk money from it. There may be business owners out there who enjoy this special privilege, but they surely went through the stage of spending more than twice the normal office hours in order to see profit at the end of the week, or end of the month even. The general idea is, business is a full-time career which requires full quality time. If you can’t give it, nothing shall be given back to you in return.
Business is about the things you love to do. There are a number of fortunate entrepreneurs who were able to transform their hobbies into income-generating opportunities. But this very special principle of earning while having fun does not apply to all. It’s not really the doing-the-things-you-love factor that makes ordinary people succeed, but the amount of passion they put in their work. Passion is a very potent ingredient in the recipe of success. Do not limit your business ideas in the things that you love. Expand and find out what people needs, and do it with passion.
Business must always produce profit. Business, after all, is about profit. But the space between sowing the seed and reaping your harvest is a very crucial period. Sometimes, for what seems to be a long time, you will be working for nothing, and will even use your own money to finance your business. It is indeed a trying time. Most people, when this starts to happen, are discouraged and they eventually give up. They wanted to become entrepreneurs, but because they have been employees all their lives, they are accustomed to receive money on a regular basis. So when they start losing them, they gradually shift their ships and sail back to the store where they are employed and are earning a stable income. They didn’t lose their entrepreneurial spirit, because they didn’t have it to start with.
Starting a business requires big capital. Big, flashy business requires big, flashy capital. Most people want to have a business, but they want it big right away and are held back by not having enough funds. On the other hand, true-blooded entrepreneurs are not bothered with capital, or the lack of it, at all. They start with whatever they have, and what they don’t have, they compensate with lots of creativity. Others actually start with small ventures to generate funds for their bigger visions. They are many ways to reach the peak, but hesitating to climb is not one of them.
A good idea is a good business. A lot of people lose their objectivity because they are so excited and enthralled with the potential of their ideas and fail to remember that businesses thrive on a market. It can be the most brilliant and unique idea, but if the market does not see it the same way, it doesn’t translate to a bestselling business. But this doesn’t mean that your ideas are trash and useless, it just might need some fine-tuning, a little tweak here and there before it can be launched full-blast into the limelight. And don’t stick to your initial plans. Be flexible and a little adventurous and learn to how cater to the whims of the market. Who knows, what you resist or hesitate to offer, might just be the thing that the market is waiting for.