When it comes to new business startups, there are a lot of myths floating around out there. The biggest problem with these myths is that they often keep people from starting the business of their dreams--putting it on the back burner, often forever.
According to Alex at Atlanta-based event management software developer Gather, this is not just a tragic outcome, but it is completely avoidable. The key is to ignore the myths and get to the truth of startups.Lassiter, cofounder and VP of Customer Experience
Here are 10 true-false statements that Alex devised to test your knowledge about startups and entrepreneurship. How many can you get right?
1. Startups have a gender problem
TRUE. For now, but despite the Ubers of the world, the landscape is changing and more women are founding and staffing startups. Believe it or not, there are a number of startups that employ more women than men.
2. 8 out of 10 startups fail within the first year
FALSE. This oft-cited statistic gets thrown around all the time. Chances are, you've probably heard this from a news outlet, TV show or even a startup founder or two. But it's not true--recent research shows that 8 out of 10 companies not only survive the first year, but half of them are still in business by the end of year five.
3. You don't need a great idea or plan
TRUE. Markets change so fast that you never really know how customers will react to your product or service, or what new tech will change the business environment. It's not uncommon for a startup to iterate at least three or four different ideas before they find one that sticks.
4. You need an office to get started
FALSE. People will tell you that you need an office to attract talent and investors--and there's definitely some truth to that as your organization grows--but early on, your money is best spent elsewhere. Hollywood likes to glamorize startup origin stories, but in reality, many startups begin in a founder's basement or living room. Apple, for example, started in a garage.
5. Speed is fundamental
FALSE. Empathy is fundamental. Speed has its advantages, but there's no point in rolling out one feature or update after another if your customers aren't interested in your product or service. Instead, it's better to slow down and truly understand the needs of your customers. Take the time to actively engage your customers and make improvements--or even changes--to your product based on their feedback, and you'll see greater returns.
6. You get to be your own boss
FALSE. The stereotype that founders don't have a boss and are only accountable to themselves is the furthest thing from the truth. A good founder is accountable to everyone; partners, customers, investors, employees, and potential hires alike. It's hard work--but if you take good care of them, they'll take good care of you.
7. Grow your startup before you grow your brand
FALSE. If you're a startup founder, chances are someone has already told you that "you don't need to worry about your brand at this stage." Many startups neglect their brand or expect it to grow as their organization evolves. But your brand is more than just a logo--your brand is your community, your voice, your values, and your beliefs. Which is to say, your brand is absolutely paramount to your startup, and you should establish and nurture it as soon as possible.
8. Focus on product-market fit
TRUE. Everyone will tell you to focus on fundraising, as if it were the be-all end-all of startup success. But reality has less to do with Shark Tank and a whole lot more to do with proving product-market fit. While funding is important, your startup won't grow unless you have a product that can satisfy a strong market demand.
9. You can take on a giant--and win
TRUE. 20 years ago, Reed Hastings returned Apollo 13 to the local Blockbuster only to get hit with a $40 late fee. Disappointed by this experience, Reed came up with an entirely new way to watch films and television shows. He called it Netflix--and it's just one of many David and Goliath startup stories out there. Smaller startups can absolutely go toe-to-toe with industry giants, as long as they focus on solving problems that their competition can't. One major advantage startups have that their larger counterparts don't is a lack of bureaucracy--which means you can be more innovative, creative and nimble.
10. Don't wait for the right moment
TRUE. Because the right moment will never come. If you're waiting for the right time, be prepared to wait forever. You'll keep creating your own impediments as you wait for that perfect moment. While you'll still have to do some research, don't overthink or overanalyze your strategy--if you truly want to launch your startup, you'll need to dive in feet first.