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7 myths that can lead to startup disaster

Ignore this advice if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur


Most entrepreneurs and successful business owners will tell you that the road to entrepreneurship success is the most fulfilling. They will also tell you that starting a business was one of the most difficult things they’ve done. A lonely and arduous journey, many say they would not have made it without help and advice from mentors and other successful entrepreneurs.

Fredrik Nilsson, general manager of North America for Axis Communications, provider of network video solutions for professional installations, says, "When I found myself leading a small Swedish company in a foreign (and conservative) market segment that was controlled by global corporations, I realised I needed help and advice."

Writing in Entrepreneur.com, Nilsson says there was no shortage of people ready to tell him what was impossible, or what not to do, much of the advice he believes has turned out to be nothing more than myth.

He gives us a breakdown of 7 of these myths that you should avoid if you want to succeed in you startup:

1. "The best product always wins."

While a good product is important, if your company can't support that product with a solid sales strategy and the best service practices, the business will eventually suffer, says Nilsson.

2. "It's nearly impossible as a small company to compete with the big boys."

Nilsson, whose company was competing against big corporations such as Sony, Cisco and Bosch, informs that they focused on their business goals and commitment to their product expertise particularly in light of the fact that their bigger competitors viewed these aspects as secondary and less of a priority.

"We eventually learned to focus especially on the big boys' downfalls and that propelled our success. Do not mistake this advice by thinking you should compete on cost,” he warns.

3. "You better lower your price if you want to gain market share."

You'd be surprised how little having the lowest price tag correlates with happy customers says, Nillson.

"Having a value-first mentality trickles down to your product, service and sales teams and channels. If your product lifecycle matches a long-term customer relationship, your company will avoid the otherwise inevitable sales and customer service hiccups. Think long-term," he adds.

4. "Take short cuts and quick wins if it helps you get ahead."

Nilsson says quite frankly that there are no quick wins. Quite the opposite. He says, "Our team took a long-term approach to the market. This mentality helped us get ahead in sales, customer loyalty and brand recognition."

5. "Your growth will plateau."

"Sales goals always decrease as growth hits," says Nilsson, "but as long as you can continue to deliver and scale, don't settle. Push your team and company to hit new goals."

He advises to ask yourself the following important scalability requirements and questions:

  • What is your long-term potential?
  • Are you limiting yourself by addressing only a limited part of the market?
  • Who can you partner with and trust to stay committed?
  • What is your value and will customers stay interested in future releases and products?

6. "The channel is your only priority."

Utilising the sales channel program as the only priority could easily separate you from your customer base, says Nilsson.

"Our company realized how important it is to educate the market, with training and resources for both customers and partners, to nurture loyalty, knowledge and concern for our products and the industry. This truly helps to foster a community and closeness between the constituents of the company," he adds.

7. "Don't expect your culture to stay the same with growth."

Nilsson notes that it’s very important to keep the values and company ethos that you had from the beginning and advises that you should accept employee feedback and input to keep engagement and loyalty at the same levels to stay successful.

"It's hard to grow and expand. That's why many companies don't make it. It's a tough task to keep the large number of moving pieces in sync, but they must grow together to keep operations successful and morale high," Nilsson says.

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