Five Startup and Scaleup Myths and How to Defeat Them

Myth no. 1 “You need a great idea before you start”

No, you need two things

a) to start

b) a question

Preferably a good question – one that makes people stop and think…

Myth no. 2 “It needs to be an idea that scales”

No, you need a solution to a problem or pain. If you can solve an issue for one person, can you solve it for three? Then solve it for thirty or three hundred…

Scaling is something that happens to your organisation when problems are solved at speed. It isn’t something that you choose to do. Someone telling you ‘this is exactly how to scale’ is probably selling snake oil. For each scaleup organisation the experience will be different – so look for a road map – not a formula.

Myth no. 3 “We’re scaling because we’ve raised money / hired our nth team member”

No, scaling is a phase of business growth in which the focus switches from product / service experimentation to team / culture / sales pipeline experimentation.

It is a reversible process! A pivot is typically when you go back to startup experimentation on your product / service.

Equally, businesses are organisms, they mature into different phases at different speeds – think of when a young boy’s voice breaks – is it a man’s voice or a boy’s voice? Sometimes it’s both!

Myth no. 4 “I can’t share my idea, because someone might steal it (ie ‘sign this NDA’)”

No, your idea only has value if you have the passion / purpose / energy / commitment to drive it forward.

Anyway, a startup idea is a question – the value lies in the answers you discover as you resolve it. That’s your unique ‘sauce’ and no one can take that learning away from you.

Myth no. 5 “We must raise money first / early”

No. There are two ways to build a business with other people’s money – customers & investors.

Investors always ask why you haven’t got customers yet – & the credibility of your answer will determine whether they will trust you.

In fact, at later stages, investors will refuse large investments if the founders gave away too much equity early on. So yes, customers are always better!

Tell me more…

If you are starting up / early stage startup and want some help bringing these insights (and others) to your project, come and join me in London on the 13th of February at the British Library:

Or check out our other events

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