Via LinkedIn : There are many misconceptions of what it takes to be a true entrepreneur. Many individuals believe that anyone who starts their own business comes from another planet or has special gifts and talents that make them stand out from the crowd. Many people believe that entrepreneurs are a special group of individuals who have the necessary skills and talents needed to be an excellent business owner. But, in reality, many entrepreneurs are just like anybody else, but they have the desire to change the world with the gifts and talents they have.
There are many myths and misconceptions out there regarding what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Here are seven myths held by the general public regarding entrepreneurs:
Myth #1: Entrepreneurs are from another planet, flamboyant, impulsive, and daredevils.
Most entrepreneurs are very sensible and level headed. Many entrepreneurs know the importance of thinking out their business idea before actually going into business. A true entrepreneur knows the importance of mapping out their plan of starting a business before actually doing it. “You don’t have to be a circus barker,” says Grousbeck. “You don’t have to be impulsive or flamboyant.” You just have to have an idea—and a need to see your idea come out your way. Independence matters most to an entrepreneur. The confidence that flows from ownership of the idea creates the drive to endure the often dire consequences of that independence.” Source (Page 6) Small Business Trends and Entrepreneurship: How Entrepreneurs Are Reshaping the Economy and What You Can Learn From Them by The Editors of Business Week (1995 McGraw-Hill, Inc.)
Myth #2: Many individuals believe that entrepreneurs are “blind optimists”, self-centered, and selfish.
Many people in society believe that entrepreneurs are not realistic when it comes to the risks of starting a business. Family members believe that entrepreneurs are selfish when it comes to their ambitions of starting a business. Many family members believe that entrepreneurs put their personal needs and desires before the needs of the family. Scott D. Cook, the founder of Inuit Inc., stated the following when he started his business, “My wife thought that I had gotten us into a big hole. I still had faith I had the right product, but the thought of losing it all was driving her [my wife] to distraction. Our marriage came within inches of blowing up.” Source (Page 7) Small Business Trends and Entrepreneurship: How Entrepreneurs Are Reshaping the Economy and What You Can Learn From Them by The Editors of Business Week (1995 McGraw-Hill, Inc.) The best entrepreneurs always ensure that their family’s financial needs and personal needs will be met when starting a new business. Entrepreneurs will always ensure that they have safety nets and safety plans in place just in case their business does not pan out. Entrepreneurs understand the importance of having at least six months of living expenses saved up for the beginning stages of their new business. Many individuals starting their own business will even continue to work a full time or part time job until the business is financially stable and financially sustainable.
Myth #3: Many individuals believe that small business owners cannot compete with the big boys “big business”.
Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have proven time and time again that small businesses can compete with big businesses. Many entrepreneurs have started small businesses that have put larger companies out of business. One reason for this is that big companies are afraid to change and do not adapt to change well. The advancements in business like fax machines, mobile phones, and the internet have made it very easy for individuals to start and grow their own business. Many individuals are starting to see the importance of supporting their local small businesses and have become very dissatisfied with how big business see them as customers.
Myth #4: Entrepreneurs need much money to promote and market their business.
Many individuals are afraid to start their own business because of lack of money. Many people feel that you need a lot of money to market your business. But, many successful entrepreneurs understand that you can market your small business on a “shoestring budget”. Due to the advancements in technology, it does not take a lot of money to promote your business and it does not take a lot to market your business. Due to advancements in technology, like social media sites, it has become very easy and simple for entrepreneurs to promote and grow their business.
Myth #5: Entrepreneurs only start their own business to make lots of money.
Statistics show that the average entrepreneur makes from $150,000 to $500,000 per year after deductions are taken out. Many individuals become entrepreneurs because of the declining job market, wanting to be their own boss, and the desire to fill a need that is not being met. Rarely, will you find an entrepreneur, who only went into business to make a lot of money or for pure greed. In the first two to five years of a new business, the owner will lose money or break-even.
Myth #6: Entrepreneurs are born and not made.
The most successful entrepreneurs out there like Bill Gates and Thomas Edison did not finish college. These type of entrepreneurs just saw a need that was not being met and found a way to meet that need. The most successful entrepreneurs were just average individuals who decided to start their own business and not worry about what others thought. “Similarly, there is abundant evidence that people can gain a sense of control over their destiny, become more comfortable with risk and ambiguity than they otherwise might be, and have their level of community awareness raised. In short, although some people certainly naturally possess more socially entrepreneurial characteristics than others, there is evidence that these characteristics can be fostered as well.”
Source (Page 17) Social Entrepreneurship: A Modern Approach to Social Value Creation by Arthur C. Brooks (2009, Pearson Prentice Hall).
Myth #7: Entrepreneurs are not afraid to take risks.
There is no evidence to show that entrepreneurs who have been risk takers, without preparation, have been successful with starting their own business. The best entrepreneurs did take some risks when it came to starting their own business, but they understood those risks before starting their business. Many successful entrepreneurs ensured that they had a plan written out before starting their business. True entrepreneurs understand the importance of early planning and being prepared for the possible risks that come with starting a new business.
There are many other myths or misconceptions regarding entrepreneurs, but one true fact about entrepreneurs is that they change the world with their businesses. Entrepreneurs, who came from nothing, and became successful, let other individuals know that they can make it in life no matter what. Entrepreneurship gives one a sense of purpose and fulfillment that you are able to provide something of value to the lives of others.
Donya Zimmerman is a business consultant, mediator, and legal professional with over ten years of experience. Donya is also a public speaker and aspiring author. She has a few books in the works that will be published and released in the latter part of 2015. The books will focus on entrepreneurship, small business, and daily devotionals. She is owner of Family & Community Mediation and Business Consulting (FACMBC) based in Baltimore, Maryland and has been in business since 2013. Services provided by FACMBC: Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services; Business Registration Assistance (Limited Liability Company, Corporation, S-Corp, Limited Liability Partnership, etc.); Business Plan Drafting Assistance; Business Certification Assistance (MBE, WOSB, 8A, 501(c) (3), Hub Zone, etc.); and Business Organization Assistance. She is also a contributing writer to the Maryland Daily Examiner Newspaper. Donya Zimmerman has made article contributions to the Simply Inspirational Women in Business Journal for 2014 published by Dr. Cheryl Cottle.