When you are starting out – whether in your career or building your first business – there is conventional wisdom which on the surface seem to make sense. But, as you garner more experience, you’d realize they are all a bunch of bollocks.
That’s not to say, however, you should fold your arms, sit on your oars, and wait till you’ve busted all the myths before lunching out on your business goals.
The thing is there will always be misconceptions about something. And the sad part is these wrong assumptions more often than not would be generally accepted as true. Your duty, however, is to discard what through experience you have realized to be false.
Easier said than done right?
Well, I’d like to share with you some of the ‘conventional wisdom’ making the rounds and what through years of personal studies of how businesses are built turned out to be false.
Myth One: They tell you “People are the fuel of the company.”
Cash is.While companies need awesome, enthusiastic, competent, and people well-invested in the business to succeed even if they are working for free; the business would still fail if it can’t meet its other financial obligations.
Regardless of what you might have read or heard about bootstrapping and lean startups, the fact is you still need cash to power your marketing efforts. You need money to offset due bills. You need cash for office supplies.
Now, ask yourself, if money is not the fuel of a company why do founders with great ideas need funding?
And why do investors before putting their money in business often ask for financial projections?
The answer is: they understood that any business which does not make money would die and the people would move on to another company.
Myth Two: They tell you “We are a family.”
Reality: We are not. Everyone is replaceable.
It’s nothing personal. It’s just business. Don’t think because you’re a founding staff or perhaps you know some influential person in the organization you are irreplaceable.
Ask Steve Jobs before the success of Apples he knew firsthand what it means to be replaceable. Don’t think you’re any different even if you’re the founder. You could find yourself on the sidelines. As I said earlier – it’s nothing personal.
Myth three: They tell you “those who work hard get promoted.”
Reality: Office politics play a role. Being a master communicator. Work smart not hard is crucial.
Don’t we all want an egalitarian community where we get rewarded for our just efforts? Unfortunately, time and time again reality shows us that’s not how life works.
It’s even more heart wrenching when you have put in every effort – done over time. Taken on more responsibilities. Yet, when its time for promotion you get passed over for someone who didn’t even do as much as you.
Myth Four: They tell you “We are still a startup.”
Reality: Not really, but a ploy to discourage you from asking for more pay.
Though not applicable to most businesses but a significant number of organizations especially those in tech often use this line to get their employees to take on more roles, work long hours without commiserate pay.
Is it ethical no? However, that’s the reality. Think of it, when you tell people you have money; chances are they would request for a salary increase or one benefit.
So, there you have four of the most common myths you’re likely going to encounter in your career.