Small Business Myth Busting: 7 Common Misconceptions

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Even just one small business myth, unchecked, can have a serious impact on your success as an entrepreneur. How? Well, you may unconsciously pass on this myth to your employees or customers without even realizing it.

And other small business myths take the form of rumours that you’ve read online or you’ve heard from other business owners in your industry. They may seem fishy to you, but you’re still not sure. And this uncertainty can make it hard to know how to grow your business.

But, fear not!

We’re here to help you separate fact from fiction when it comes to entrepreneurship. Below, we bust 7 small business myths for you so they won’t hold you back from reaching your full entrepreneurial potential.

Let’s dive in!

Small Business Myth 1: There are huge upfront costs to starting a small business.

One of the most frequent small business myths is that you’ll need millions of dollars to get started, but that’s simply not true. You can start a business with a shoestring budget and slowly grow it as you make sales and profit. In other words, you can bootstrap. Bootstrapping is likely to be a part of almost every successful small business.

pocket-full of canadian money small business myth busting

The best way to bootstrap is to tap into your local customer base. This will provide you with a clear understanding of what your ideal client wants so that you know what to deliver to attract them. This is something we’ll discuss further later on.

But the basic idea is to offer a minimum viable product (MVP) that services your clients’ needs and enhances their life in some way. Start small and deliver high value with the least amount of expenditure for your initial customers and voila, you’ve got your MVP.

By keeping your business laser-focused on one area in the beginning (delivering your MVP), you can save money while building more meaningful relationships with your customers and suppliers. This will help increase sales through word-of-mouth marketing. The happier your customers are, the more they will talk about you. This is not only free marketing, it’s the most effective way to get new clients!

Small Business Myth 2: No one will pay THIS much for MY product or service

This may be one of the most detrimental small business myths out there. You may think that no onecustomer saying no thanks small business myths is going to pay you to put in long hours, but that might not be true. If you’re an accountant or manager, your time should be valued just as much as a doctor’s or lawyer’s. And just like you’ll happily pay for quality products and services, so will your clients!

Be careful not to undercharge as this inadvertently devalues your offerings. In fact, under-pricing is VERY common for first time entrepreneurs and can do more damage to your business than good. It’s important that you’re aware of where your product stands—including what your competitors are charging. Already made this mistake of undercharging? Not to worry, there are many ways to increase your prices!

It’s fine to offer early bird incentives and discounts when you’re getting started, as long as it’s not running you into the ground. But be careful to price for your value and make sure that your early bird customers understand what a great deal they are getting. In essence, they need to know what the actual price is so that they are incentivized to sign up to get the awesome early bird discount, while they still can.

Small Business Myth 3: Everyone can be an entrepreneur

It may seem counterintuitive, but not everyone can be an entrepreneur. If you’re thinking about starting a business, you’ll need to determine your aptitude and passion for entrepreneurship. You’ll need to develop a clear strategy for making money. Many people who want to start businesses simply lack one or both of these key traits. While you can develop your aptitude as a new business owner, you’ll struggle to stay the course, if you’re not passionate about your business. Successful coffee shop owner holding late

Some of the most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur include: curiosity, structured experimentation, adaptability, decisiveness, and team building. Put together, this means that a good entrepreneur can strategically explore different avenues to ensure that their business succeeds. They should have a good read on people, to service both their clients and team by engaging in good leadership.

If I have all these traits, will I never fail?

Heck no! Being a successful entrepreneur will involve failures. It’s ok! With experience, you will learn processes that will make those failures fewer over time—especially if you listen to your clients and focus on delivering top value based on their needs.

It’s worth noting that some people with an entrepreneurial drive are under-served and under-represented by society. A US study conducted by Small Business Majority found that minority-owned small businesses faced more challenges than the average business owner. They assert that “Small Businesses owned by Entrepreneurs of Colour [are] more than TWICE AS LIKELY to be temporarily closed.

Here at our small and local business platform, we are particularly keen to bring increased exposure to under-represented groups of entrepreneurs, offering a 20% discount to Black and Indigenous Small Business Owners. You can contact our founder Melanie for more info and to get the Promo Codes.

Small Business Myth 4: Building your brand is expensive

Of course, you could hire an advertising agency to come up with a catchy slogan and a full branding campaign, but that’s not really necessary. First of all, you won’t have to spend thousands of dollars on slick promotional materials. Instead, you can use your existing marketing materials as a starting point for your new brand. For example, if you’re launching a coffee shop, think about how you can position yourself as something different from Starbucks or Tim Horton’s.

Digital Marketing mind map small business myths

Also, talk to your satisfied customers. Hear how they describe what they love about you—and ask what they’d like to improve. If you can do customer discovery interviews, great! Happy customers talking about your business is not only the best type of marketing (customer advocacy), it’s also the best language to use to attract more customers just to your offerings.

And, if you’re looking for more ways to grow your brand, take some tips from our doable online marketing blog here as an overview!

Small Business Myth 5: You have to hire employees right away

Although there are several benefits to hiring employees for your business, many entrepreneurs make the common mistake of thinking they have to hire someone right away. The truth is, you often don’t need employees when you first start your business.

There are lots of options for grant funding that will cover the cost of bringing in contractors who can help you with getting your business started. Once you’ve proven your business model—aka. showing that it’s delivering real value to enough potential clients that it will become profitable—that’s when you need to start thinking about strategically hiring employees.

If you do decide to hire employees, all sorts of legal rules must be followed. Check with an attorney to learn more about these requirements and how they apply to your specific situation. You can also check with an HR consultant like Christine Isnor from Maybe even get grant funding to help cover the costs! We did this when we were ready for our first hire. And honestly, Christine helped us focus our efforts by defining our role and successfully onboarding our now integral team member!

Small Business Myth 6: Everybody wants what I’m selling

While the goods and services you’ll offer could indeed be trendy and engaging, you need to understand your ideal clients and work hard to get your offerings in front of them in a way that’s appealing and makes them want to give you a try.

group of happy people small business myths

Some questions to ask yourself: what differentiates my offerings from my competitors? Note, if you think you don’t have any competitors, think again. You’ve either missed some, or haven’t researched what your ideal customers are currently using instead of your offerings. Why should people try my product or services? How will it improve their lives and or solve a problem they have?

Once you’ve identified your ideal client, you can focus all of your energies on attracting more people like the happy customers you already have. And you can use that information to articulate what differentiates your offerings from other options on the market, in words that will resonate with other people just like them. If you’re looking for a great person to learn from regarding the gold that is customer discovery, you must check out ‘the customer whisperer’  Katelyn Bourgoin’s awesome content and tools here!

Small Business Myth 7: Entrepreneurship is more risk than it’s worth

Many people believe that entrepreneurship is a risky endeavour, and might entirely avoid it. While it’s true that there are risks to starting your own business, and it’s certainly not for everyone, there are lots of benefits—personally and for the local economy and planet—-in doing so. You can check out these community & planet benefits in our handy explainer video below.

And what are some of the personal benefits of owning your own business? The top two among the many are being your own boss and lifestyle improvements.

While being your own boss can sound daunting, it also provides you with the freedom to work when and how you want in a schedule that works for you and your family. Sure, this can be a challenge, especially when you get started, but ultimately, the freedom of being your own boss, and subsequent lifestyle improvements from setting your own schedule, are both very compelling.

Some final takeaways

If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, here are some final small business tips for you to consider.

First, try to buy local products and services from fellow entrepreneurs whenever possible. It builds great relationships, lowers your carbon footprint, and retains more of your purchase dollars in your community. Not that there’s anything wrong with sourcing abroad, too, but just try to source locally first, whenever you can, and if it makes sense for your business.

local fashion designer in her studio

Second, don’t get discouraged if things don’t go as planned. That happens to every entrepreneur at one point or another! Adapt and seek advice and help if you’re not sure how to deal with an unforeseen event in your business.

Finally, remember that even if you aren’t ready to start a new business right now, there are still ways you can support those who do! And maybe you can even do some planning and researching for business ideas that you can do in future—when you’re ready.

Just remember, whatever value you are bringing (or want to bring) to the world with your small business offerings, you’re better off not believing in the pervasive small business myths out there. We’ve touched on 7 here. There are many more. Feel free to add to our small business myth-busting efforts with your own experiences in the comments below!

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