Most of us are carrying around a few beliefs that are not good for us. You might also be holding on to a few that are doing your business more harm than good. Unfortunately, myths endure because people believe them and then pass them on to others, perpetuating the cycle.
Here are five small business myths that might be holding you back from the success you’re capable of (and you deserve!)
The customer is always right
I HATE this one, and not only because it’s the myth that got me yelled at, sworn at, and threatened when I worked in customer service positions.
Fact is, sometimes the customer will be wrong. Sometimes they’ll come at you with unreasonable demands, unrealistic expectations, or asking for the world on a shoestring budget.
A customer who is abusive or insulting to you or your staff is wrong. A customer who doesn’t value your work, time, or boundaries is wrong. A customer who thinks they know your business better than you do is wrong.
Learn how to spot a problem customer and when to just cut your losses and walk away. The loss of a bad customer makes room for a great one to fill that space.
Being cheaper than your competitors is the most important thing
I have a particular loathing for this one as a freelance writer, because those of us in the creative industries are too often subject to the hellscape that is the race-to-the-bottom content mill pricing model.
Yes, affordability matters, and if you price your services far too high you’ll lose out on potential business. But ultimately, being the cheapest won’t get you very far if that’s your only selling point. Instead, aim to be the best. Rather than undercutting all your competitors on price, offer a consistently amazing service that provides real value to your clients. That’s what will keep them coming back to you again and again.
You need to do something no-one has ever done before
You don’t need to have a completely original, never-before-thought-of idea to run a small business. Just think how many copywriters, social media experts, web designers, business coaches, and virtual assistants there are. So please don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to reinvent the wheel or create something earth-shatteringly original before you can run a successful business.
Instead, the trick is to decide what you want to do and then put your own spin on it. There might be other people doing something similar, but none of those people are you. Instead of a unique idea, focus on a unique selling point.
Want proof that you don’t need a completely original idea to be wildly successful? Mark Zuckerberg didn’t invent the concept of social networking when he created Facebook. Platforms like Myspace already existed. Instead, Zuckerberg looked at what those existing platforms were doing, and decided that he could do it better.
You have to do everything by yourself
No no no no! I’ve written before about the importance of outsourcing and delegation. The worst thing I see small business owners do to themselves, again and again and again, is try to do it all. You can’t. There are only so many hours in the day, you have only so much energy, and no-one is good at everything.
As business experts like to say: do what you do best. Outsource the rest!
Mindset is everything
Mindset matters, of course. It’s important to maintain a positive outlook and a can-do attitude as you start and run your small business. But mindset isn’t magic. It’s one piece of a much larger puzzle which also includes offering a great product or service, building a customer base, marketing yourself, and delivering results.
Positive thinking isn’t a substitute for the very real work, effort, and time (not to mention blood, sweat, and tears) that goes into running a small business. Anyone who tells you it is, is selling you the modern-day equivalent of snake oil.
Ultimately, if you don’t have a saleable product or service that there’s a market for, you can’t “positive thinking” yourself into success. That’s not how it works.
What small business myths are you completely over?
Let us know the beliefs that held you back and how you broke away from them!