Are traditional, well-known rules truly smart to follow? Here’s our take.
When it comes to starting a business, we often rely heavily on common sayings we’ve heard all our lives — “all you need is an idea” and “you need to spend money to make money.”
It can be tough to know whether you’re on the right path, so you put that old wisdom into practice with the hope that your idea will soon blossom into the next big thing.
But are traditional, well-known rules truly smart to follow?
Consider these common sayings and our evaluation of whether they’re really worth the trouble:
1. “All you need is a great idea and success will follow.”
Myth. is important, but what really matters is how you put that idea into action. You need to have the right kind of motivation, be able to , find proper investors and more.
A great idea is nothing without proper management. In many cases, an idea as boring as a cheese shop will succeed simply because the owner and staff have the proper management skills.
2. “You have to spend money to make money.”
Fact. Although there are exceptions to everything, this holds true 90 percent of the time. If you find a marketing tactic that’s completely free, chances are it’s too good to be true. Those who take the free route generally find themselves marketing all over the place; but if you spend a little bit of money on targeted marketing, you’re likely to reach the right types of people.
In the end, finding the right audience is well worth the money. Randomly marketing for free takes a lot of time and doesn’t usually yield much success.
3. “You need a business degree for your business to succeed.”
Myth. And if you don’t believe me, ask Bill Gates of Microsoft. While having a degree related to your field is helpful, it’s . Many people are business-minded and have learned lessons through life experiences that transfer to their business.
A few of these cases include Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Steve Jobs (Apple), Steven Spielberg (Director and Producer) and Richard Branson (Virgin Group).
4. “Getting your company to the top of Google search is all that matters.”
Myth. Getting your website ranked on the top of Google is extremely important; according to , the top three organic positions on Google receive 58 percent of all clicks from users. But plenty of companies succeed without a real presence on Google.
For example, many local small businesses do well by focusing their marketing efforts on community activities and outlets, as well as local search engines. Some companies create a loyal customer base simply through referrals and solid social media efforts. In the end, it really depends on the type of company you’re running, where you’re running it and the alternative ways you’re marketing.
5. “It’s never a good idea to do business with friends.”
Fact. Once again, there are exceptions to every rule, but this common saying is generally some of the best advice an entrepreneur could follow. Starting a business can be scary, so many people cling to their friends and family for help. But being comfortable around someone isn’t enough to help your business woes. You need business partners who are motivated, have a strong work ethic and understand business.
What your partner does will affect your future, so it’s important to take this seriously.
The better you’re able to sort the facts from the myths, the more likely you’ll succeed with your . Everyone you encounter will offer stories of success and failure, but keep in mind that those stories are specific to those businesses. Your business will be different than the rest, and if you’ve done your research and are prepared to work long hours, you’ll find a way to make it work.
is a writer on topics ranging from marketing best practices to . She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading , Business.com.