Despite the many challenges brought on by COVID-19, Canadian entrepreneurship, business innovation and optimism have remained strong. Canadians are challenging themselves, seizing opportunities, and starting their own businesses. In our #GetStarted series, we provide practical tips, debunk common myths and call on experts to help prospective entrepreneurs take the leap from idea to action.
Do you have a great business idea? Are you on the cusp of striking out on your own and starting your own venture… but not sure you’re 100% ready? Here, we address five common myths that tend to hold back prospective business owners from getting started.
Myth #1. “I need a lot of money to start a business.”
Necessity breeds innovation and many very successful businesses have been launched with limited financial resources.
For instance, Muttluks founder Marianne Bernard said if she had $500 more in the bank, she would not have started her company. “I wouldn’t have had to come up with a creative way to earn the cash needed to make my next mortgage payment,” she says.
Need a bigger example?
In 1976 Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple with a combined $1,500, building computers in a borrowed garage.
Myth Busted: There are Ways to Find the Money
- There are many ways to finance your new business. See how finding the money is within reach.
- Government grants are designed to help businesses grow, fulfill current needs and solve real-world problems. Learn how to find and apply for the right grants.
- RBC and Futurpreneur have collaborated to launch the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program, designed to create more inclusive and equitable financing opportunities for emerging, young Black entrepreneurs.
- SheEO provides investment, mentoring and networking support for women who are creating businesses that take on the world’s to-do list.
Myth #2: “I’m too old/too young.”
Entrepreneurs come in all ages and life stages.
Young business owners will tell you that starting a business is a great thing to do early in their careers, as there is a lot of runway ahead. “Young people are coming to understand more and more that if things don’t work out the first time, they have time to try something different,” explains Scott Bowman, Vice President of Ontario, Prairies and Northern Canada at Futurpreneur Canada.
Older entrepreneurs can draw on life experience to start, grow and scale their new business. And they’re doing just that. Nicknamed “Encore Entrepreneurs,” Canadians nearing or in retirement draw on their rich experiences, often tackling a new business venture once their children move away from home.
Myth Busted: You can start a business at any age
- Futurpreneur’s Rock My Business series is a 3-part workshop designed to take businesses run by young people to the next level.
- Amid COVID-19, young people have been drawn to starting a business. Learn what the motivating factors are!
- According to an RBC Small Business poll, nearly half of small business owners right now are Boomers.
Myth #3: “I’m not a risk-taker.”
Launching your business doesn’t have to feel like a huge leap.
There are steps you can take along the way to decide if you have a marketable idea, a well-reasoned business plan and sufficient financial support.
If you’re ambitious and believe in your idea, the greater risk may be missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime and always wondering ‘what if?’
Myth Busted: Resilience trumps risk
There are a number of attributes new business owners will want to lean into as their business gets off the ground. Being a dare devil isn’t one of them.
Learn from a business coach the attributes prospective owners should have, and the questions you can ask yourself to find out if you have what it takes.
Myth #4: “I don’t have the kind of personality.”
Business owners aren’t all outgoing sales gurus with big personalities. Sure, some are born deal makers, but entrepreneurs are motivated by different things.
Maybe you have a passion or a craft you want to share with the world. Or maybe you want to build a business that gives you more balance in your life.
Myth Busted: Businesses are built out of passion, genius and need – not charm
Read how – and why – these business owners started their companies.
- Lily Tse founded Think Dirty from a need to uncover truths in the beauty industry
- Catherine Metrycki founded Callia Flowers after discovering a gap in the market
- Ron Spreeuwenberg started HiMama to solve parent-child communication challenges.
Myth #5: “I need to quit my job before I start a business.”
The side gig has never been as popular as it is today, as many entrepreneurs have found ways to do their “day job” and their side hustle at the same time. For instance, the online marketplace Etsy Canada says new shop openings increased by more than 250 per cent during the third quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year.
The great thing about the side gig is that it can be a shrewd way to test your venture’s long-term viability while you have a safety net in place. You can then transition to full-time entrepreneurship when you’re ready. The trick is to find a balanced schedule that leaves you enough time to devote to both, while still getting some sleep at night.
Myth Busted: A side hustle lets you validate before you leap
Read how these business owners did it!
- Green Beaver owners turned a hobby into a booming business
- Blast Off Fireworks started as a high school side hustle
- Fiore Botanics owner Kathleen Quinlan started mixing skin care products in her kitchen while working as a massage therapist
If any of these perceived barriers have been keeping you from entrepreneurship, consider how you can break through them to realize your dream of starting a business.
More from the #GetStarted Series:
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.