Want to start a business but question whether you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

According to a recent article in The Economist, there are five common myths that are prevalent about entrepreneurs. The misconceptions include the beliefs that entrepreneurs:

  • Are anti-social geeks who isolate themselves from others and the community. Entrepreneurs may be independent, but they need social networks and business contacts to succeed. Mentoring from seasoned entrepreneurs and information on business planning and marketing can make the difference whether a new venture succeeds.
  • Are all young people barely out of college, or in some cases, high school. Not all successful entrepreneurs are kids when they start their businesses. Think Harland Sanders who started franchising Kentucky Fried Chicken at age 65, or Herb Kelleher who was 40 when he founded Southwest Airlines. Many successful start-ups are the products of serial entrepreneurs, those who have started multiple companies. They have learned by their successes and failures and love the challenge of a new business.

  • Are driven by venture capital. Most entrepreneurs begin their businesses by "boot strapping," using their existing funds and credit for operating expenses. They then tap into friends and family for additional revenue. Once these resources are exhausted, many turn to "angel" investor networks, which are groups of successful business people interested in funding new venture.
  • Produce world-changing new products. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs have focused on improving processes, not necessarily creating a whole new product. Think Fed-Ex and UPS. They didn't create a new service; they just improved on the process and sold it as a brand. The key is whether there is a need that the entrepreneur can fill. People are willing to pay money if you solve their problems.
  • Cannot grow in established, large companies. Smart companies not only encourage entrepreneurs, they have a structure in place to help them grow. Johnson and Johnson, for example, operates a holding company to assist internal entrepreneurs with finances and marketing.

Get more resources to launch your business ideas. A new organization, BizStartsMilwaukee.com, is dedicated to assisting entrepreneurs with establishing and growing their businesses. With a Web site, periodic networking events, training and mentoring programs, BizStarts can help you build your business.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, visit: The People Pro.


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