Top 10 entrepreneurship myths

10 entrepreneurship myths

The world of entrepreneurship often seems very different to those who have been in it for a while, compared to those just starting out. Here are the top 10 entrepreneurship myths as told to us by Canadian entrepreneurs – what do you make of them?

Myth #1: Entrepreneurship is an extraordinary phenomenon – only a few will make it big

Contrary to what you see in your newsfeeds or read in the media, every one of us has the entrepreneurial potential to act. Successful entrepreneurship is not reserved for Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates. Every one has the ability to create a small business venture that solves problems and creates gains for their customers, and the world around them.

Myth #2: Start-up success depends more on the entrepreneur’s talent than on the business that they choose

Talent is great, but the kind of business you choose has a powerful effect on your chances of success. The odds that you will make the Inc. 500 list (the top 500 fastest growing private companies in America) are 840 times higher if you start a computer company than if you run a hotel. Overall industry health, and the degree to which the business is able to satisfy its target market’s pains, are just as important as your talent and experience.

Myth #3: Starting a business is easier than working for someone else

Yes, you can make your own rules and often set your own hours, but the job of a small business owner is no less demanding than that of an employee. Think about it — you’re often the only one to handle every aspect of your business. You’ll need to handle things you may not have experience in, like hiring and firing employees or making sales calls.

Myth #4: Entrepreneurship will make me rich!

The data suggests that getting rich is possible, but unlikely. In fact, seven years after starting a business, only one-third of owners have a company with positive cash flow greater than the salary they left behind. And remember, most start-ups – over 70% – don’t make it. Instead of focusing on the pie-in-the-sky dream of wealth, be realistic about the fact that you may operate at a loss before you begin to turn a profit – how much of that are you comfortable with?

Myth #5: The best time for new business start-ups is when you are young and energetic

There’s something to be said for life experience. Self-employment is growing fastest amongst young Canadians aged 15 to 24, and Canadians 55 years of age and older. These “Maturepreneurs” account for 25% of Canada’s self-employed workforce. Hey, Colonel Sanders started KFC at age 65 with his first social security cheque as start-up funds. There’s no time like the present!

Myth #6: Entrepreneurs are risk-takers

The image of entrepreneurs given in the media is exaggerated. Although giving up a steady paycheque may be a risky move, it may also be one of the few truly outlandish moves you will make in your career. Successful entrepreneurs only take what they believe to be carefully calculated and managed risks, often trying to influence the odds by getting others to share the risk with them or by avoiding the risk completely. Collaborating with others and building a team to take on the business opportunity means you’ll be spreading the profit around, but you’ll also be sharing the uncertainty and risk.

Myth #7: Entrepreneurs are completely independent as their own boss, leaving more time to do what they want

Contrary to popular belief, being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you no longer have to answer to anyone. Although you may be the boss, you will have to answer to employees, customers, suppliers, investors and partners. You may also experience pressure from your community and there may be certain social obligations associated with your businesses. Don’t get caught up in daydreams of having more free time than ever before. In fact, 35% of self-employed people in Canada work over 50 hours per week compared with less than 40 hours per week for most employees. All the more reason to get the best small business training you can!

Myth #8: Entrepreneurs shouldn’t waste time writing a business plan if they’re not looking for funding

A business plan is an important step you can take in your business. This detailed road map of sorts forces you to think of things that will be important down the line. Every section of this plan, from analysis of the competition to understanding your target market, will give you confidence about how the business must be run to be successful. If you’re starting a small art gallery, knowledge of art is a great starting point. But consider the best marketing options; will you need to hire in three years? or will you need to expand in the future? Putting together your business plan on paper reveals things that you need to know, which will help you come up with solutions to potential problems ahead of time.

Myth #9: If I share my business ideas with anyone, they might steal them

Many believe that keeping ideas secret prevents another from stealing your business idea and starting the business themselves. The business idea is the cheapest part of a business – ideas are plentiful. If you share your ideas and resources with others to co-create a business opportunity, you gain access to their expertise, network of people, and resources.

Myth #10: Entrepreneurs instinctively know what their customers need and want

While we’d like to believe that entrepreneurs are oracles with the ability to see all and know all, that’s simply not true. Only your customers know what pains and problems they have a desire to solve. Engaging with customers, understanding them, testing your potential solutions with them, taking feedback, and testing again is a more direct path to success than creating and perfecting – a product or service first, only to find out your solution is off-track. A very costly mistake.

The reality of entrepreneurship can be difficult, involving lots of hard work and sacrifice. But fear not! Studies show that entrepreneurs with education in entrepreneurship and previous entrepreneurship experience have an 80–90% chance of success with a new business.

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How much does it cost to start a small business in Canada?


You’ve done all the necessary market research, you’ve upleveled some of your important entrepreneurship skills, and you’re ready to start the small business of your dreams.

So – how much money will you need?

It’s important that you know your start-up costs ahead of time. We know entrepreneurship is exciting, but you don’t want to take the leap only to find out three months in that you can’t pay rent, your advertising budget for the year is already blown, and you can’t afford supplies.

Our free Start-Up Costs Calculator for Canadian entrepreneurs

Thankfully, we at GoForth Institute have created a handy Start-Up Costs Calculator that’s completely free. This Excel spreadsheet will let you plug in your estimated monthly expenses and one-time capital costs ahead of time, so you’ll know if you’re ready to set up shop – or if you need to wait a bit.

Click here to get our Start-Up Costs Calculator – best of luck with the journey!

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Who should your small business’ founders be?

small business founders

The decision of who should comprise your founding team is an essential one for entrepreneurs. After all, it’s been said that venture capitalists and angel investors would rather invest in a first-rate team with a second-rate idea than in a second-rate team with a first-rate idea.

It’s very important for the success of your small business that you surround yourself with a first-rate founding team – those people who will help you actually get your business up and running. Don’t duplicate the skills that you already have yourself. The members on this team must be experienced, bright and worthy of being part of your company. The size and responsibilities of the founding team will differ across industries and company characteristics. 

So, what makes a good founding team for your small business? Look for the following qualities:


How great will you look if the person in charge of your financials can’t explain to investors the logic behind your projected sales figures? Understand what skills you’re after, and look for people with enough experience to give your small business the best chance of success.


Look for people who are bright, driven, and are able to eloquently express what they do for your business. And as the founder, it’s wise to know when to listen to those around you and take their advice – let their knowledge work for you!


Personality clashes could have serious negative impact to the health of your business. You’re going to be working very closely with these people for the next little while, so make sure to reduce the risk of major friction. You don’t all have to be best friends, but do everyone a favour and make sure you all share similar goals and values.

The right amount of people

Does your business need salespeople? How many? Is it possible you don’t need any at all? Different businesses and different industries demand different things. Evaluate what your small business needs right at the beginning, and determine how many people can fill these roles.


Each member of your founding team should be so passionate about your small business that they’re excited to talk about how great it is and how it’ll work. After all, that’s a huge chunk of pitching to investors, isn’t it? Look for people who take your small business idea as seriously as you do.

A great founding team is one vital component in the successful launch of a small business, so be sure to take your time, do your research, and trust your instincts!

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Canada among top five best countries for young digital entrepreneurs

canada-digital-businessesErnst & Young and the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance have released the EY G20 Digital Entrepreneurship Barometer for 2016, which assesses the overall success of G20 countries in fostering entrepreneurship. The goal in doing this is to “provide a standardized assessment of the digital entrepreneurship ecosystem across the G20 to help identify areas of relative strength by country and opportunities for improvement.”

We were very pleased to discover that Canada has placed in the top five in the categories of: Digital Skills and Entrepreneurial Education; Entrepreneurial Culture; Entrepreneurial Culture, Digital Business Environment; Digital Knowledge Base and ICT Market; and was first in the Access to Finance category.

According to the report:

The EY G20 Digital Entrepreneurship Barometer takes a focused digital lens to the five pillars of entrepreneurship to assess country performance and help identify areas of relative strength and opportunities for improvement.

You can download the full report here.

As Canada’s leading provider of small business training, we’re proud of our country’s commitment to entrepreneurs! Go, Canada!


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Getting angel investment for your small business in Canada

Do you need to raise more funds than you can get through “love money” from family or friends, but don’t need as much as venture capitalists invest? Your small business may be ready for an angel. Angel investors are well-to-do people who invest money, usually their own, in start-up ventures. For that investment, they often get a portion of the ownership of the business.

So what do angel investors like?

  • A patentable technology or process
  • High-growth potential
  • A product or service with a distinct competitive advantage or very unique selling proposition
  • A strong team — preferably with experience

How to find angel investment in Canada

The secret to finding individual investors is through networking. Communicate regularly with business community members who are in touch with angel investors like lawyers, accountants, bankers and other business owners.

You may also want to investigate one of the angel networks that operate across Canada. Here are a few:

Happy pitching!

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