7 Myths About Startup Culture that Simply Aren’t True

Entrepreneurs face many challenges when bringing an idea from concept to fruition. One of the first challenges is to make the decision to become an entrepreneur. Today’s guest post by Ryan Currie, a product manager at BizShark.com, helps to dispel some of the thoughts that might prevent you from lauching a new venture.

Startups have somehow started to develop a reputation, a folklore, that’s as pervasive as skinny jeans in Silicon Valley. But some of the most commonly-accepted ideas about how startup culture really operates are simply untrue, and worse, damaging to startups’ credibility.

Where are your dreams going?

Where are your dreams going?

7 Entrepreneur Myths

Here are seven oft-repeated myths about startup culture that are, in a word, hogwash.

  1. Most successful startups are founded by wunderkind.

    Not even close. Did you know that most entrepreneurs start (and close) two businesses on average before ever landing on anything remotely close to success? Mark Zuckerbergs aren’t the norm in the land of startups, they’re the exception. In reality, most successful startups only take off after months (or years) of dedicated hard work.

  2. Most startups are run by 20-somethings on skateboards.

    It’s true, many of the most talked about startups are run by young, inexperienced founders, but study after study has shown that in terms of creating a long term, sustainable business model the “peak” age is 34 years old.

  3. Successful startups nowadays are all about technology.

    If you think every startup office has a monitor scrolling Google analytics data 24/7, you’re wrong. Some of the coolest startups aren’t actually tech-centric at all – take, for example, Naked Granola. Founded by two college-aged entrepreneurs, Naked got off the ground being pedaled door-to-door at grocery stores and recently sold to Kelloggs for millions. Nothing high tech about that.

  4. Every startup office has a foosball table and nap pods.

    We can all thank Google for this one. Sure, plenty of ‘cool’ startups like to lure in talent with office perks but there are plenty more startup businesses operating 9-5 in window-less cubicles across the country. These businesses may not have the capital or the desire for all the extras, and it just may make them more focused.

  5. All the good startups are in San Francisco.

    The Bay Area is the inarguable capital of startup culture in the U.S. but plenty of other mid-sized cities are aiming for a piece of the startup pie. Pittsburgh, Portland, and Austin all have flourishing startup communities within their borders.

  6. The goal of every startup is to one day sell for millions.

    Sure, money’s a great incentive for many entrepreneurs, but lots of startups are founded with the goal of actually making a great product or service and seeing it through. Startups don’t uniformly “sell out” when they hit a certain break-even point.

  7. Most startups are founded by really charming people who are good at promotion.

    In fact, just the opposite. The smartest startup founders realize their own shortcomings early on and hire other great people to compensate. There are plenty of founders that would rather write code all day and leave the marketing to someone else.

There are plenty of pervasive myths about startup culture that really don’t have many roots in reality. For every Groupon-esque hipster office, there are five more people working 20-hours a day from their mom’s basement. That kind of diversity is a good thing.

Ryan Currie is a product manager at BizShark.com, with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. In addition to web related businesses, he also enjoys the latest news and information on emerging technologies and open source projects.

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How to Become a Food Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs face many challenges when bringing an idea from concept to fruition. One area of expertise that is often needed which can determine their success is the ability to negotiate. To help you understand more about negotiating, we have a guest article today by Davis Miller on behalf of Wild Card.

According to numerous food photos that seem to flood social media networks such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, it appears that more and more people have become obsessed with food. What’s more, the gastronomy courses and cooking classes have gained a lot of popularity lately, which means that people are simply fascinated by food. The good news is that some of these individuals choose to make the most of their food obsession by starting their own food companies.

The food and drink industry has developed at an astonishing rate over the last 10 years. As a matter of fact, our grocery market appears to be the eighth largest in the whole world. Plus, specialists expect it to be worth no less than £162bn by 2015 in the UK. Anyway, you should know that the small, independent organizations that are selling delicious handmade products might have a considerable impact on the growth of the industry.

Food-Entrepreneurs

Even though the world has gone through an awful economic crisis, people continue to purchase luxury edibles (such as Paul A Young handmade chocolate). But how long will this apparently insatiable public craving for sophisticated foodstuffs go on? And more importantly, how many stylish niche food-stuff will the economy be able to support? The problem is that the current global financial pressures and the large amount of artisan products that are already available on the market might have an irrecoverable effect on the luxury-food industry.

Tina and Tomina’s – Entrepreneur Highlight

Tina Birdsall is familiar with the food business, since she has worked in numerous restaurants and organized a plethora of mobile marketing tours for several key members of the natural food industry. However, she didn’t start her own food company – even though she dreamt about this all the time – until she moved to the east coast and decided to see if she could be a good food entrepreneur.

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On second thought, Tina realizes that she first wanted to be a food entrepreneur seven years ago. While she was shopping in a Whole Foods located in Bellevue, she said to herself that she would really like to make cookies. Tina stored the idea in her mind and continued to market for natural foods businesses. After several years, she and her husband moved to New Hampshire and the idea of making designer cookies came to her mind again. Even so, she couldn’t think of a way to make this work, so she decided to put the idea away.

When the marketing agency she was working for began downsizing, Tina knew that that was the best moment to start her own business. Since the number of those dealing with gluten-intolerance was rising at that point, she decided to try to replace ingredients and make gluten-free cookies. Therefore, she started to create recipes and after three months, Tina had five recipes she was pleased with.

Tina has been running her own food business for one year and she’s willing to share the most important aspect she has learned. She started by estimating the amount of money that she would have to spend to make one cookie. She wanted her cookies to be about 97-98% organic, but she didn’t know how expensive that was going to be.

Considering that the whole company was self-funded, opting for such high percentage of organic ingredients was impossible. Because Tina thinks organic ingredients are essential, she tried to modify her recipes until they contained 70% organic ingredients. When people examine the label of her products, they can see that there are no GMO ingredients, and that makes Tina proud of her accomplishments as a food entrepreneur.

Final thoughts regarding food entrepreneurship

Social media and its famous Pinterest and Instagram are like a silver platter where businesses people can exhibit their products. Foodies love a food blog that looks good, because as human beings we’re often tempted to think that what looks good, tastes good as well.

What does it take to become a food entrepreneur? Apart from a passion for food recipes and exclusive ingredients, aspiring business people should also think about advertising, costs, and the time they have available to develop such a challenging business. Are you willing to devote all your time, money, and energy to food entrepreneurship?

Negotiation tips for women entrepreneurs to perform better at negotiations

Entrepreneurs face many challenges when bringing an idea from concept to fruition. One area of expertise that is often needed which can determine their success is the ability to negotiate. To help you understand more about negotiating, we have a guest article today by Davis Miller on behalf of The Gap Partnership.

Five Negotiation tips for women entrepreneurs to perform better at negotiations

The-Art-of-Negotiation

Whether we like it or not, the business world is a stern battlefield between men and women. Who holds the power? Who is in charge? Who has more wins? This battle of the sexes will never end. Let us focus more on women negotiators and their role as business entrepreneurs. Being in charge and leading a team made entirely of men ought to be extremely tough for a woman struggling to impose respect at the workplace. Determination and confidence are fundamental features you should have to perform better at negotiations and close deals in your favor.

  1. Do your best to get what you want

    Negotiators often get involved in meetings without having established what they want to achieve. Women entrepreneurs know that having a goal is very important when participating in a negotiation. As long as you’re prepared to face the competition nothing should stop you from closing an excellent deal. Yet, unlike men, women find it hard to get accustomed to unfamiliar situations. Although they’re professionals, they usually deal with a problem that is referred to as aspirational collapse. This means that they prefer to surrender and accept a less favorable solution rather than fight for what they deserve.

  2. Don’t compromise

    Women are more likely to make concessions because they’re afraid to use their power. Most female entrepreneurs are naïve and they don’t realize they’re in charge. You’re the entrepreneur, the business owner, the boss, so act like one! Don’t allow a rude male negotiator tell you otherwise. Just because men know how to raise their voices, it doesn’t mean women can’t do that as well.

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  4. Are you ready to walk away?

    Business women should know their value. During a negotiation it’s essential to showcase determination and willpower in front of your competition. There’s no time to be emotional so try to keep things professional. Talk less, use your body language to highlight poise, and if something doesn’t suit you, speak your mind. Running a company and being in charge is not that simple; yet, as an entrepreneur you must find the courage to say ‘no’.

  5. Make eye contact

    Business women should never be afraid to look their team in the eye. As an entrepreneur you’ll have to deal with employees, clients, and investors, on a daily basis so there’s no time to be shy. Eye contact exhibits confidence and self-belief, features every business woman should own. Your counterparts should see you as an equal; avoiding eye contact makes women weak, emotional, and nervous, and those features will motivate counterparts to take advantage.

  6. Smile

    There’s nothing wrong with using your physical assets to influence business partners. Negotiations are stressful, tiring, and sometimes extremely demanding. As a professional entrepreneur you must find common ground, so smiling can sometimes work miracles on your opponents. Listen carefully to everything your counterpart says and if they’re offering something that’s below your expectations, make a counter-offer with a smile on your face. Always be polite and don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ if you can’t reach an agreement.

    Women-Entrepreneur

  7. Do you have enough authority?

    Men don’t like powerful women in business, but that’s no secret to anyone. Female entrepreneurs must be strong and decisive otherwise they will outshined by impolite men eager to showcase their masculinity. Never let a subordinate tell you want to do. Let your employees know who’s in charge and if they’re not comfortable with your position, inform them that they can look for another job. Give respect and you’ll be respected, so as long as your people are doing their jobs the atmosphere at the office should be cordial and professional.

Men and women are not treated like equals in the business world and we don’t know if that will ever happen. They say that men have greater leadership skills and that women are weak. Yet, with every day that goes by we see increasingly more women working as business entrepreneurs. There are companies more willing to hire women than men because of their sixth sense in everything. While men are ruthless and brutal in business, women are more analytical and compassionate. Both genders are excellent negotiators, and female entrepreneurs are constantly struggling to showcase that they can be tough as well.

Reasons why every entrepreneur should be able to negotiate

Entrepreneurs face many challenges when bringing an idea from concept to fruition. One area of expertise that is often needed which can determine their success is the ability to negotiate. To help you understand more about negotiating, we have a guest article today by Davis Miller on behalf of The Gap Partnership.

Entrepreneurs must own great negotiating skills to stay in business. These skills can help them close excellent deals and gain a reputation. While not all entrepreneurs are born with effective negotiating abilities, they can all perfect them if they’re dedicated. Preparation is extremely important before a customer negotiation, because you have to deal with various inquiries and questions. Prepare documents, presentations and yourself. Yes, that’s right! A business outfit speaks a lot of things about the business person, so make sure not to ignore this aspect.

Entrepreneurs-walking

Why should entrepreneurs know the ins and outs of a negotiation?

From the very beginning of their business, entrepreneurs are required to deal with numerous contracts and wide array of stakeholders – vendors, consultants, partners, employees, distributors, agents, and clients. Contracts are generally drafted and finalized in a hurry by entrepreneurs themselves, and that’s why every now and then it pays off to understand negotiating contracts.

Key points every entrepreneur should have in mind during a negotiation

How can you close a deal if you can’t state your mind? Entrepreneurs forget that their position can greatly influence a business deal. Bargaining with employees and vendors is not the same thing as bargaining with investors though. In order to achieve your goals and turn the whole meeting in your favor, it’s important to have some skills.

  1. Evaluate goals from different points of view
  2. When you face a situation that entails negotiation, start with identifying the needs of your counterpart. This way, you’ll be able to come up with a solution that is mutually favorable. Car dealerships are a good example to understand why evaluating goals is essential. Apart from trying to convince customers to purchase a vehicle, a salesman must also convince the client that purchasing from his company only is the best solution. As soon as a salesman notices that you’ve decided to purchase from him, the goal will to obtain the highest possible commission. It’s important to find a sales person willing to tailor his objectives to your needs. This is the most efficient way to satisfy both parties.

    The-Art-of-Entrepreneur-Negotiations

  3. Keep your emotions under control when you’re stressed
  4. Entrepreneurs are well aware that negotiating with customers can be maddening. Sometimes controlling your emotions will seem impossible, especially if we’re talking about dealing with important clients. In order to succeed in this business, you can’t let emotions get in the way. Your partners can’t know you’re anxious because anxiety is a weakness that can be easily exploited in a negotiation.

  5. Proper organizational skills can help you efficiently manage negotiations
  6. Entrepreneurs are compelled to be thorough planners. Every document must be attentively organized, and every affirmation you make should be backed up by solid evidence. It’s impossible to close good deals if you’re not meticulous. A word of advice: it’s humane to make mistakes, but do your best to learn something from them; try not to make the same mistake twice if you want to be an excellent entrepreneur.

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  7. Knowledge is bliss in negotiations
  8. Prior to meeting with customers, make sure that you possess ample knowledge of the services and products you’re about to sell. You have to be familiar with every single detail of your product in order to present it with confidence and be able to clarity uncertainties that might arise.

  9. Make sensible compromises
  10. You shouldn’t give away anything without receiving something in return. A business discussion has to be proactive and both parties have to state their opinions about the things that are being negotiated. Making concessions is important in negotiations, but only if they’re made by both parties. Don’t forget that your position as an entrepreneur can have great advantages, and if you’re a valuable asset to your opponent, compromising can turn into a win-win solution.
    Whether we’re talking about skilled entrepreneurs or beginners, negotiation abilities are compulsory in any business domain. It’s impossible to close contracts, keep employees under control, and build solid partnerships if you’re not an avid mediator. The ultimate goal of business owners is to boost sales, which can be achieved only through efficient negotiations. Communicate with your people, be honest, emphatic, and ultimately, be principled. These are some of the most important attributes every entrepreneur should have.