When you are first starting a business, you are bound to receive a lot of advice. However, not all advice that new entrepreneurs receive is good advice.
Although much of the advice you hear may be based off of personal experiences, all businesses are different, and the way they perform in the market will reflect that. You can follow all of the entrepreneur advice in the world and still run the risk of failure.
That being said, there are still seven bad pieces of advice for entrepreneurs that you should ignore:
1. You must copy your competitors to succeed.
If your competitors are successful, copying them doesn't necessarily mean your business will be successful, too. The key to running a successful business is offering something your competitors cannot. Rather than focusing on what’s working for the competition, spend more time strategizing how to differentiate yourself and draw attention to those differences when marketing your business. The most successful start-ups will always be the most innovative. Be different and continue to evolve as your business grows to remain relevant.
2. You must quit your day job to have time to focus on your start-up.
Just because you are starting a new job as a business owner, doesn't mean you have to leave your current job. In fact, it’s recommended to keep other employment as you first start your business to ensure you still have a secure income rolling in. Your start-up will take off at its own pace. Unfortunately, that is primarily determined by the market—not business owners. You can’t force success to happen overnight, so in the meantime, don’t jump the gun. Relax and be patient.
3. Your product/service must be cheaper than your competitor’s.
Having the most cost-effective product or service on the market doesn't always correlate with the most sales or high revenue. The cost of your product/service should be fair, meaning they should cover the cost of labor and materials needed with a little wiggle room for your business to actually make a profit. If your prices are too low, you begin to lose money, which is a common mistake made by many start-ups. Focus on quality and good customer service to outshine the competition to ensure you can sustain your business practices.
4. The harder you work, the better your business’s results will be.
This piece of advice is particularly dangerous. Our society has built up a culture around hard work and the 100-hour work week. Not only does this level of intensity increase the likelihood of burnout, it also decreases the quality of your work. Alternatively, work in shorter bursts of productivity to ensure the work you perform is as great as it can possibly be. Reports done a couple days late during a time when you are rested and alert are guaranteed to be better than a rushed attempt when you are stressed during the late hours of the night. If you find you are overloaded, it may be time to ask yourself if you need help from a virtual receptionist.
5. You must be passionate about your work.
You may be familiar with the phrase, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Unfortunately, this is not always true. Instead, be sure to rely on a strong business plan rather than leaning on the hope that others will be as enthusiastic about your work as you are. There is also the possibility that you may find passion in a field you would not have expected. Consider the alternative possibility of success preceding passion.
6. Follow your intuition and act on it.
There is much to be said about the validity of gut instincts, but they should never be acted upon without deep analysis, research, and thought. Intuition is only useful in making business decisions if it is rooted in facts, so meticulously gauge the legitimacy of those feelings and pore over the data before you do anything rash. If you have strong feeling about something, don’t ignore it. Simply take the time to connect that instinct with fact and reason to avoid making any big mistakes.
7. You must have a physical location.
Digitalization and mobile entrepreneurship have given rise to a surge in successful home-based business. Start-up businesses can create the appearance of a physical location with a virtual office address. Virtual office space is also available to meet with investors and clients all over the world so you can maintain the professionalism of a large corporation on a small business budget.