Tall Tales

Don't believe everything you hear about starting a business.
This story first appeared in the February 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Folklore can be a fun diversion. but there is nothing fun about basing your business on commonly held--yet incorrect--beliefs. Kevin Schehrer, author of Startup! Beyond the Myths to the Reality of Starting a Company debunks start-up myths.

Myth 1: People who survive the brink of business disaster are guides on how to run a business. "Most successful entrepreneurs don't go to that extent," says Schehrer. "And unfortunately, a lot of people end up in serious financial trouble [after] being goaded on [by these stories]." Plan in advance--don't aim for the thrilling story; aim for a steady rise to success.

Myth 2: Start-up success happens quickly. "There's a tendency to underestimate the time and money it's going to take to get something rolling," says Schehrer. "It [can] take years."

Myth 3: If you have a good product or service, customers will automatically come running. "It doesn't matter how great your product or service is," Schehrer says. "It takes marketing to get people to realize your [company] even exists."

Myth 4: Anybody with a good idea can get money. "[Some people] suggest it's easy to get money if you follow [a certain] formula," Schehrer notes. "Even if you have a fantastic business model, that doesn't mean you're going to get funded." If you go searching for funds, be prepared for lots of work, time and research.

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