Getting out of the comfort zone and starting a company is never an easy task. The never ending opinions, articles, and myths keep bombarding the self-esteem of a potential business magnate. To free the budding entrepreneurs from the worry of these misconceptions, a list of five such myths has been presented here.
Myth 1: Entrepreneurship is the path to freedom
This is one of the most common misconceptions about startups -- that being an entrepreneur means that one can be one's own boss. However, nothing is farther from the truth. Entrepreneurs are accountable to their customers, employees, suppliers and board of investors. Every decision has to be made through thinking about how it will impact all these stakeholders. Pretending to be the "boss" and doing whatever pleases can enable self-created glory, but by doing so, customers will take their business elsewhere, employees will jump ship, and ultimately the venture will crash and burn.
"As a founder, I have to constantly work, manage and ensure I'm keeping my customers, employees, suppliers and my board happy. For example, a good chunk of my day is dedicated towards removing obstacles in my employees' paths so that they can work better and more efficiently. My daily tasks include constant problem solving and troubleshooting. I have to monitor my employees' mental wellbeing and work satisfaction. I have to resolve conflicts, come up with schemes and policies that can make work more meaningful and rewarding for them," says Muhammed Asif Khan, co-founder of Alpha Catering, a company that brings global standards to a local company.
Myth 2: More employees means more profit
Most startups in the country hire a lot more employees thinking that more employees will generate more profit. However, in reality, there arises an overabundance of employees and everyone operates at very low efficiency since hiring full time employees increases overhead cost.
Sakib Mansur Zihan, one of the co-founders of Sketchboard Interactive, a recently launched media production company in the country, says it this way: "Recruiting more employees does not necessarily equate to more profit and it's absolutely crucial that we find balance between full timers and project basis employees. For example, if I can free up my time that I spend in a very regular task by hiring an employee, I can spend that time in sales. That way I can generate 2-3 times as much profit even after paying the employee. So hiring makes sense here. However, not all tasks are that regular. There are seasonal tasks for which you don't really need an employee all the time. In those cases, hiring full time employees will be inefficient."
Myth 3: A startup needs a big funding to start-off
People tend to believe that without big seed money, no startup can grow. However, most researches and surveys point to the opposite direction. Here is what Galib Ahsan Auntik, the co-founder of two budding startups - "The 20's Production" (Event Management Firm) and "Good Ol' Outfits" (Clothing Line) had to say: "The biggest myth that kept us up at night is that a good startup requires a big funding to get the business going. Well yes, when you're looking forward to doing something, you definitely need to invest but that doesn't mean you cannot do anything without it. In fact, we started off with a very small investment and our capital slowly grew. Many people told us that unless we have a strong financial support, we would not sustain but we figured that it's not about how much capital you have, it's about how you utilise your capital to begin with. This is one of the major lessons we have learnt so far."
Myth 4: Startups cannot sustain without heavy promotion
It seems like everyone is very afraid of competitors and survival. They are afraid if they do not invest in heavy promotion, they won't be able to survive. However, young entrepreneur Mashiyat Towhid, the other co-founder of The 20's Production and Good Ol' Outfits had a different story to tell: "At first, we were really worried by the idea of losing really bad to the competitors, but once we started serving quality products we found out that there is always demand as long as you do not compromise in quality. And it's not always necessary to do big promotions to get the word out. It's actually the customer base and their attention.”
Myth 5: Corporate experience reduces the potential to entrepreneurship
This belief is very predominant among the entrepreneurs. They seem to think that corporate experience makes people follow orders too much and eventually reduces the entrepreneurship potential. However, in reality, the experience develops lots of qualities that are essential to become an entrepreneur.
Sadia Afrin Aroni, one of the co-founders of Checkmate Events, one of the leading events documentation firms of the country says, "Both my partner and I worked in the corporate for several years. It benefitted us in two ways: one, we could create a vast pool of network that we could later utilise to turn our clients and partners. And secondly, the corporate experience developed in us an organised habit that is a crucial quality for any entrepreneur."
The writer is a second year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at