4 Stubborn Business Myths

myth

Entrepreneurs know that owning a small business takes dedication, passion, and hours of concentrated work. You may run into obstacles that test your business and your perseverance, obstacles that are norms in the world of business which each entrepreneur must learn to navigate. However, there are some obstacles that you may be facing without realizing it. Those barriers are stubborn business myths that just won’t go away because people believe them, even though they aren’t true.

1. It’s not what you know but who you know.

In the course of doing business, business owners or potential business owners come up against this belief time and time again. However, while it is true that knowing the right people may help you get started or get access to some deals, in most businesses it is expertise, experience, and skill that propel you forward in business. If you can provide the solutions customers want, they will refer you to their friends and family.

2. Nice guys finish last.

This myth is a holdover from the era of Western movies and superhero comics. Nice guys (always portrayed as pushovers or wallflowers) finish last because the villains and heroes walk all over them. In film, this may be true. After all, Tony Stark isn’t a nice guy. He is an arrogant, self-centered genius. However, The Avengers aside, in real life, nice guys finish first quite often. While a person with low self-esteem who doesn’t speak up will not be successful without change, a courteous business owner is appreciated immensely by customers and vendors.

In today’s modern world, people are used to dealing with machines, poorly-paid clerks, and online shopping. Finding a business person who is willing to offer them genuine customer service, build a relationship and spend time getting to know them to better serve them is rare. Many people are happy to pay more for real customer service. Therefore, being a “nice guy” is valuable to your contacts. They will remember your excellent service and come back for more.

3. Don’t work hard. Work smart.

This myth is one of the worst business myths out there. There is no way you can run a business without working hard. Hard work is what separates the “men from the boys” as entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs put in hours of labor to get their businesses off the ground. Working smart is just another way to say that there is a workaround or that you can find a way to skip the hard work. It just isn’t possible in reality. If you aren’t willing to work hard, you won’t make it in business.

4. It’s called work for a reason. It’s not supposed to be fun.

All work has elements that workers do not like to perform. It might be the paperwork that you need to fill out for each customer or the data entry on your last case. However, why can’t work be fun?

People who find work that satisfies them are much happier in life. That happiness translates to their work and their interactions with co-workers, customers, and vendors. If you love to sell, create graphic designs, or help customers find what they are looking for, then you ARE having fun at work. In fact, many companies are now providing their employees with ways to have fun at work to help reduce stress and fatigue.

So go ahead and have fun while working! It can only improve your outlook and production. Work can be fun.


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It’s Okay to go Niche: How One Unusual Brand is Turning Trash into Specialty Surf Bags

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Sometimes, we stumble across an answer to a problem that we did not know existed. Alec and Aric Avedissian are solving two problems at once with their business Rareform. Rareform’s customers get durable, one-of-a-kind surfbags while the company helps reroute some of the thousands of pounds of billboard material that is discarded in the U.S. every day.

The average billboard goes up for four to eight weeks, then is discarded. While there are no firm figures on how many billboards exist in the United States, the number is high. The Los Angeles area alone is host to over 6,000 boards. Since billboard material does not decompose, that is a lot of waste.

Inspiration in the Strangest Place

Avedissian stumbled on the idea of surfbags from billboard vinyl after spending time volunteering with a fishing cooperative in El Salvador. While there, he saw people using discarded billboards to make roofing. The sight was a revelation. He’d previously never considered the material and had thought that billboards were made from paper. The discovery that this durable material was being discarded every week spurred his innovative idea.

While the bags offered a durable product at a reasonable price, the company was having a hard time finding their footing. They’d had $1.1 million in sales over three years, but saw that sales were slipping. Had they reached saturation? They decided to go on Shark Tank to see if they could find the funds that would bring them growth. Two out of the three judges did not bite; they were concerned not just with the falling sales, but with the complexity of the concept of Rareform’s product. However, Kevin O’Leary was not dissuaded and made an offer. And, it turned out that the best benefit for the product was appearing on the show.

Before their Shark Tank appearance, Rareform would recycle anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of vinyl each month. With the added visibility provided by the show, they’ve increased their monthly recycling to 50,000 pounds.

When It’s Okay to Go Niche

Surfbags are already a niche item, appealing only to the approximately 23 million surfers worldwide. By adding the factor of the recycled bags and their one-of-a-kind nature, they become even more niche. However, faith in their product and a willingness to seek out new opportunities to get their wares in front of the audience worked out.

Small businesses should never shy away from a niche product as long as it has a few things going for it. The questions you should ask:

  • Is there an audience? Rareform built their early success with the help of dedicated hobbyists.
  • Do you have a platform that can get you attention? Their appearance on Shark Tank was just what was needed.
  • Do you have reasons for making your product the way you do? Rareform’s founders said they were committed to the cause of recycling. While this was a turn-off for some investors, it is what makes their product appealing and unique.

In today’s highly connected world, there is room for every well-made product, even if your audience is small. By focusing on what you bring to the table, you can find your audience and build success for your brand.


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Success Gives You Confidence, Confidence Creates Success

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Elon Musk is an entrepreneur who has been in the news recently but someone you may not know much about. He started his entrepreneurial career at the ripe old age of 12 by creating a simple video game and selling it for a profit.

Since that early success, he has gone on to found Paypal (the popular online payment system), Tesla Motors (the first viable production electric car), SpaceX (one of the largest space exploration companies in the world), and Solar City (one of the largest solar panel companies in the world).

So what was the key to his success? Early success.

The victory Elon had with his video game was a small but important step for his success. Success changes your beliefs about what is possible. This belief creates a connection in the brain that helps you realize success really is possible.

Not everyone can be an Elon Musk, but we can all learn from him. His story teaches the importance of momentum. Momentum feeds off confidence. And confidence comes from actually accomplishing a goal. Confidence is the belief in your own ability to succeed at something.

Some claim that confidence comes from a mental state or a feeling inside, but it is actually a belief. Fake confidence can come from visualization, standing in front of the mirror and repeating over and over again how confident you are. But that kind of confidence has a tendency to dissipate quickly at the first sign of a roadblock or resistance.

True inner confidence, on the other hand, comes from knowing you can succeed. That can only come from having past successful experiences — like the 12-year-old Elon Musk and his video game.

Why is this important?

Because confidence (or lack thereof) affects many parts of your life including:
• Your Focus
• Your Persistence
• Your Motivation
• Your Performance
• The Goals You Set For Your Life
• How Willing Other People Are to Buy From You

The list can go on and on. Confidence has a big role in life.

So where does confidence come from, and where can you get more of it?

Confidence can come from being around supportive people who are successful. It can be as contagious as lethargy and negativity.

Confidence can be learned from a teacher or authority figure who has been where you want to go. It can be earned through mastering a skill or trade.

But the most important source of confidence comes from your past experiences. Ironically, confidence can even come from failures if those failures didn’t stop the momentum of moving forward.

If you want to develop confidence in any area of your life, business or personal, your first objective should be to get your first success as quickly as possible. That first success will build confidence, motivation, and (most importantly) momentum for further success.

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” -Thomas A. Edison

No one can know for certain what would have happened with Elon Musk if his early experiences in entrepreneurship had been failures, but one thing is certain. Elon took action and gained experiences that gave him momentum to build upon. That, in turn, earned him true confidence that anything is possible.

Ask yourself: What steps do I need to take to gain quick successes toward my goal? Achieve one quick goal, and build momentum. Then let the successes begin piling up on top of one another to give you a store of strength you can always pull from. Be bold. Take action.