7 Very Common False Assumptions in Entrepreneurship

Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry

Tim Berry

1 min. read

Updated April 19, 2024

Here are the key assumptions I believe deter potential entrepreneurs.

1. That being profitable means having cash in the bank

Seems obvious, but spending on inventory, waiting on accounts receivable, buying assets and some other spending suck up cash while not having anything to do with profits. Profits ≠ cash.

2. That the lowest price option usually wins

That’s just not often true. Price is the strongest marketing message there is, and high-value high-price options are often the best strategy for a startup. Having the lowest price doesn’t necessarily generate volume (think of discount sushi, for example) and usually takes a lot of capital.

3. That if you build it they will come

Actually, no. Not if they don’t know about it. Some really good products and services failed for lack of getting the word out. Meaning: marketing.

4. That the highest quality product will win

Yeah, I wish this were true. But there’s marketing, sales, distribution, and all the rest of the business. In my four decades in business I’ve seen many better products lose out to better marketing.

5. That the first to market wins

Nope. Rarely. Apple, Google, Facebook weren’t first. The winner is a combination of work, luck, strategy, resources, positioning, capital, and other factors.

6. You can’t do it if somebody else is already doing it

Actually, you can. See my point #5 above. Just do it differently, or better, or in a different market, or with a different strategy. Businesses are always copying other businesses.

7. That more hours wins

People who work 80 hours a week rarely get more than a few percentage points of additional production over those who work 40 hours a week. Work smarter, not harder. To generate productivity in a group, acknowledge that people have lives, families, and need for downtime, regular exercise, etc.

Brought to you by

Create a professional business plan

Using AI and step-by-step instructions

Create Your Plan

Secure funding

Validate ideas

Build a strategy

Content Author: Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning.