Starting your own business can scary. There's a lot that goes into building a company from the ground up. Like when you're having a baby, it seems like everyone wants to give you advice. Some of it's good, and some of it's just terrible. So we talked to Jill Salzman, founder of The Founding Moms, a collective of offline meetups and online resources for mom entrepreneurs, about her top four start-up myths that you should chuck aside.
1. Someone Will Steal My Idea If I Talk About It
"People assume in business, if you share any details they are going to steal my idea," says Salzman, "and if you share the idea that is not out there yet, it is going to be really bad or I am not going to make the money I want to." What she tells people is that even if there is another company with the same exact idea as you, they are not going to run it the same way as you will. And as we probably all learned in Econ 101, the more you have of the same kind of competitive businesses on the same block, the better for both businesses.
2. You Must Have A Business Plan
Says Salzman, "My No. 1 advice for launching anything ever within your business or to start a business is always scrap the business plan and go talk to people." Find out if someone will buy what you want to sell. If you receive a lot of hesitation or flat-out "No"s, it is probably not a good idea, Salzman says. But if you hear positive feedback that gives you the motivation to proceed, you should just run with it. "In technical business terms, figuring out your target market to promote to is the same as going out and talking to a bunch of 'other people' to find out if they are going to buy your stuff," she explains.
3. Start By Focusing Solely on Strategy
"There is an amazing focus on the business plan or the charting out of how to launch the business or the marketing plan or the landing strategy," Salzman says. But what she finds is that most of the mom entrepreneurs she talks to just need to talk to other entrepreneurs and hear how they started their business, rather than charting out how they think it will work. This helps you learn from others in your shoes if your idea is good enough to work, or if it needs some tweaking.
4. Women Can't Work With Women
It seems that the media, whether movies or TV, are to blame for this myth. But Salzman finds that it's not true at all. "When you get into a room with mom entrepreneurs, at least with the Founding Moms, we want to help each other. We want to see you succeed because we know that if you succeed, I succeed."