This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme

10 Myths About Starting Your Own Business

DATE: 29/06/20

AUTHOR: Fiona Kennedy

All the reasons why not to

It’s easy to compile a list of reasons against starting your own business. It’s too hard. You’re too busy. Work gets in the way. Life gets in the way. You don’t have any money. You haven’t thought of a life-changing product yet. The list goes on. You might have been thinking of starting your own business for a while now but every time you do, you very quickly talk yourself out of it. Well, you’re not alone. It’s very common to buy into the ‘why not’ rather than they ‘why to,’ especially when there are so many myths surrounding what it really means to start your own business.

We’ve gathered up a few of the most common myths we hear and why you don’t need to pay attention to them:

“You need to have a business degree or lots of experience to start your own business”

We’re often led to believe that before starting out in business on your own, you need very relevant business experience or a business degree. This is not the case and in many instances not present in successful business launches. Yes, education is helpful and experience is certainly useful, but the best business strategy is learning through experience. Making mistakes is an essential part of business and some entrepreneurs even suggest that the less traditional business training you have, the more flexible and intuitive you can be in starting your own business.

“You need a lot of money to launch a business”

This all depends on the type of business you’d like to launch. Yes, if you’re planning to go into retail or a business model where you have physical products to sell, there are necessary overheads. However, if you plan to go into a service industry, selling time and skills, or if you plan to start very small, it is possible to limit the amount of funding you need to launch. Slow and steady is where to pitch yourself at the start of any business. Learning from mistakes, testing, reshaping the offering and testing again is by far the best way to lay solid business roots and begin to grow.

“Only young people can start a new business”

Entrepreneurialism is not only the remit of the young. Research shows that the average entrepreneur is aged 39 years. The success rate of entrepreneurs over the age of 40 is 5 times that of entrepreneurs under the age of 30, so really your age should not be a factor. To put it into context, Colonel Saunders was 62 when he franchised KFC. Even more compelling is the fact that currently, the fasted growth area of startups, are those launched by entrepreneurs between the ages of 55 – 64 years.

“You need to know everything before you start a business”

This is the impossible goal. We can never know everything about anything and holding yourself to that standard is a path to failure every time. Learning on the job is key and making mistakes is a very important component of any entrepreneurs success. Read any biography of an entrepreneur and you’ll find out about the mistakes they consider essential in their path to business success. Doing your research at first is vital but setting yourself a goal to know every detail is unrealistic and will prevent you ever taking the plunge.

“You need to employ staff to launch your own business”

In time possibly you will need to consider taking on employees to scale and grow your business. However, at the outset, keeping your business small and manageable is a priority. Work out how much you can do yourself before you extend into staffing overheads and human resource challenges. Doing it yourself will keep your costs low and will also allow you the time and experience of every role that will help you to make the best decisions when you do get to the stage of taking on staff

“Most businesses fail in their first year”

We’ve all heard this story: apparently over 80% of new start-up businesses fail in their first year? This is simply not the case. In fact, research from The University of Washington Bothell School of Business suggests that most businesses trade for 5 years or more.

“You need to have a new and great idea”

We’re all waiting for the big idea right? The one that no one has thought of before. The life changing product or the idea that will save consumers time or money? Let’s face it, the economy, technology, and new businesses have evolved so significantly, that finding one of these ‘unicorn’ ideas is something quite remarkable. Expecting every entrepreneur to come up with one is absolutely impossible. Plus, it turns out that using an existing business concept and path to scale can be a whole lot more successful. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Take something that exists, and find a way to improve it, to make it more appealing, more efficient. Just think, Tescos are not the first supermarket to exist, Amazon, not the first book store. There is always scope to improve. Focus on that rather than invention.

“You can’t start your business while having a full time job”

Quite the contrary. Many great businesses were started while the founders were working full time. Business advisors will often suggest you keep a full time job while launching your business so that you have the security of a salary, and benefits, and can continue to have that safety net until your business is at the stage where you can pay yourself a full salary.

“More money would solve all of your business problems”

In theory more money should solve all problems but in practice we know that’s not the case and certainly not so with a new business launch. Having a tight budget to work with can be an advantage since it requires a business founder to educate themselves, to do things themselves and to set a goal to grow and scale gently while being aware of every detail. Test, analyse, change, test, analyse, change. Being hindered by a small budget can in fact be a help. Having a huge budget to spend right away can often lead to bad investment, poor business decisions, and can prevent the business scaling.

“It takes a long time to launch your own business”

This depends on the founder and the business. If you have an idea you’re positive about, you’ve done your research and developed your business plan, there is no reason why you can’t launch quickly. It’s really down to your own motivations and personal, family and financial constraints. Some businesses will of course take more time when it comes to product design, testing or securing intellectual property rights, but there are some businesses that certainly lend themselves to quicker launches.

Whatever business you’re thinking of, don’t be immediately put off by commonly held myths about what it means to go into business yourself. Talk to other entrepreneurs, read up in your sector, make your plans carefully, and Go For It when you decide the time is right.



Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.