Separate Business Startup Facts From Fiction

Some “facts” about starting a business are untrue.

Lots of advice is available for anyone interested in starting a business.

But some of the claims are too good to be true, so you need to gather information from a number of reputable sources and sort out the myths from the realities before deciding whether starting a business is the right decision.

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One of the biggest myths of owning your own business is that business owners get rich quick.

“Profits rarely come quickly or easily, and business success may be measured in other terms, such as your ability to do what you want, or you are meeting a need,” says Glenn Muske, the North Dakota State University Extension Service’s rural and agribusiness enterprise development specialist.

“Build it and they will come” also proves to be untrue. Each year, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records more than 450,000 patent filings and grants nearly 200,000 patents. Yet less than 10 percent of those new ideas will be commercially viable, according to Muske.

Some small-business startup myths aren’t so obvious. For example: Starting a business takes a lot of money.

“Reality has shown that many entrepreneurs started without a great deal of money,” Muske says. “Many businesses start for $10,000 or less. The founders of Dell, Hewlett Packard and Domino’s Pizza started with less than $1,000.”

However, entrepreneurs need to be prepared to invest some of their own money during the startup phase and have the ability and creativity to find resources through a variety of means, he adds.

Another common myth is that successful business owners are lucky.

“Business owners will tell you that, instead, their success was based on hard work, staying aware of the market and good decision making,” Muske says.

For more information about separating facts from fiction when deciding whether to start a business, check out NDSU Extension’s “Small-business Myths and Realities” publication at or visit NDSU’s Small Business Support website at

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