Four Myths About Launching a Startup

Starting a new business is difficult, and it seems like every successful entrepreneur has his or her own recipe for success. But if you’re deep in the process of developing (or running) a new company, all those books about other people’s experiences may seem more overwhelming than useful. To help entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs make wise choices from the outset, we’re busting four of the most common myths that people hold about how to launch a startup.

Myth #1: You need a lot of capital.

Launching a startup can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. In the Internet age, it’s possible to build a business with a micro-budget. In THE $100 STARTUP, Chris Guillebeau shares the backstories of 50 different companies that were founded on a small budget — some for less than $100. Guillebeau recommends focusing on three key factors instead of capital: choosing a product or service that is marketable, finding an enthusiastic customer base, and developing a plan for becoming profitable immediately.

Myth #2: Advertising is more important than social media.

For the first time in modern history, a company does not need a big media budget to be heard. In #ASKGARYVEE, entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk recommends focusing on creating a social media presence rather than paying for traditional advertising. Understanding how to reach an audience, engage people, and build a community is fundamental to a startup’s survival. In any social media campaign, the focus should be on producing valuable content, cultivating a unique voice, and courting influencers.

Myth #3: Business leaders should base decisions solely on data and reports.

Startup owners need to adopt a hands-on approach when it comes to engaging with employees, clients, and customers. In THE LEAN STARTUP, Eric Ries encourages entrepreneurs to have face-to-face meetings instead of hunkering down behind a desk. Studies, summaries, and measurements are all great tools, but they can never replace the process of gathering firsthand feedback.

Myth #4: In the first days of a startup, short-term survival is more important than long-term planning.

In a best-case scenario, your startup will quickly move towards exponential growth. But if you fail to address crucial problems in this early stage, sorting them out later, when the company is larger and more established, will be much more difficult. Elad Gil’s HIGH GROWTH HANDBOOK addresses the importance of planning for the long term even when survival isn’t certain — including how to recruit a board, hire new staff, and build your brand.

For further reading, check out these Instareads:

THE $100 STARTUP

#ASKGARYVEE

THE LEAN STARTUP

HIGH GROWTH HANDBOOK