5 Common startup myths in Kenya

There are many startups myths that harm Kenya’s goal to foster a culture of entrepreneurship. These myths scare away entrepreneurs and make life difficult for everybody else.

HerBusiness expounds on the most common ones:

Funding

A prevalent one of these startup myths regards funding. Many believe you have to go big on raising initial capital. It’s become all too fashionable to mention venture capital or angel investors. Others even presume that raising capital means success. But not all business models call for these.

An advantage a low income economy like Kenya gives is the effectiveness of bootstrapping. This means relying on your pocket, your family, friends and the occasional loan shark. Believe it or not you can actually scale from such a low base. Many entrepreneurs in Kenya, infact, share stories of how small they started.

Freedom

Entrepreneurship is finally getting glamour in this country. I have no qualms about this. My concern is how people go on about how being your own boss means freedom. Freedom to slack is what they usually mean in this case.

They later discover that the startup calls for much of their attention. Plus how much ‘boring’ running a startup can be with all the administrative duties at hand. The entrepreneur is obligated to deal with taxes, meet regulations and follow-up on contracts among other uneventful obligations.

Failure

Fear of failure is one of the main reasons people don’t get into business. I’m not claiming failure is cool. They feel an entrepreneur has to be some mythical being who never steps on a puddle; mythical just like startup myths.

Entrepreneurship is learning as you progress. It’s about adapting and adopting. Failure is tolerable and the measure is how much you’ve learnt when you get back on your feet. You can fail before you succeed that’s how to entrepreneur.

Profit

When you are bootstrapping you will need to factor customer funding as part of raising money. It shouldn’t trap you into thinking that profit is the end-game of your startup. The end game is your short term and long term goals working in tandem.

Your startup can grown ahead of revenue and cash in on the market you’ve built up. You can be fortuitous enough to have a major player buyout your startup. Your concern shouldn’t be profit from day one.

Idea

Your idea doesn’t have to be extraterrestrial. You could argue that it shouldn’t be. Many would-be entrepreneurs are afraid of going up against the competition. They feel that their idea is already in implementation so they cross it off in their notepads.

What you really need is to improve on what is being done. Fine-tune it to better meet the needs of customers. This is the secret of successful entrepreneurship and the truth behind the PR of innovation.

These are only a handful of startup myths. Which other myths of entrepreneurship do you know of?