Entrepreneurship has been the buzzword this year in Nairobi. It is a superb avenue for many youths to engage in meaningful activity and even create employment opportunities for many others.
However, there are still many falsehoods labelled against this wonderful process. Anyone who has ever tried to venture into free enterprise may have experienced quite some resistance at the beginning, especially from family and close friends.
Here are some myths and misconceptions that every aspiring entrepreneur must be aware of so as to avoid being distracted. Remember knowledge is power.
1. Entrepreneurs are only doers but not thinkers
This is false because the process of entrepreneurship requires a lot of strategic planning prior to engaging in the activities that develop a business. So there is a lot of thinking and doing that still requires thinking.
2. Entrepreneurs are born and not made
No one is born knowing what they want to be. Everyone discovers this later, maybe in mid primary school and after a lot of interaction with other people and the environment. Plus, each entrepreneur has to do a lot of research in order to understand the industry in which they are about to enter and what value-add they will offer that will make the business a success.
3. Entrepreneurs are always inventors
Not necessarily. While coming up with an absolutely new idea or product is great, entrepreneurship is more about innovations that will improve lives.
4. Entrepreneurs are anti-academic and socially misfits
Some business empires were started by people who chose to drop out of school to follow their dreams such as Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, and Apple’s Bill Gates. However, such cases are few and are the exception, not the rule. Entrepreneurs need a good educational foundation that also allows them to express their creative genius.
On the social misfit bit, well some may actually be labelled this because of the many hours spent in solitude trying to polish and birth their startup (especially the technical part). However, it is important to network with other people and even take time out to give back to society, and bond with friends and family.
5. All Entrepreneurs are money minded people
Social entrepreneurs aren’t money minded at all. And for the commercial ones, while making money is key in business, most new entrepreneurs mainly seek to grow and secure their ventures, this primarily requires a great idea that has potential to make money, happy employees and satisfied customers.
6. Entrepreneurs badly need luck
NO! Entrepreneurs need to do a lot of due diligence and make informed choices. Success then comes after smart choice, sheer determination and hard work.
7. Ignorance is bliss for entrepreneurs
Ignorance is the steep slippery slope to failure for entrepreneurs. One cannot afford to slack down as soon as the business is on track. Continually keeping up with industry changes, refining the product/service or business processes should be the order of the day so as to constantly remain relevant.
8. Entrepreneurs are extreme risk takers
Of course every business venture has some level of risk, however, entrepreneurs are not necessarily extreme risk takers, they take calculated risks instead so as to ensure the survival of the business.
9. Entrepreneurs hate partnership
How now? Some businesses are based on a partnership or even group agreements. What makes this misconception thrive is the fact that most partnerships end badly. However, one must know his/her strengths and weaknesses then get a partner who will compliment them, for instance, if one is great at and more focused on the technical aspects, the partner should be better at the managerial/administrative front.
10. Entrepreneurs must be young
It is advisable to begin the venture into a business while young so as to tap into the fresh energy, creative juices, have plenty of time to make and recover from mistakes, and before life demands check in. But, there are by no means any age restrictions in entrepreneurship.