I read “Myths Of Owning A Small Business” on Forbes.com the other day. It’s a good read, based on an interview with Anand Sanwal. Here are some highlights, along with my comments.

1. Myth: Entrepreneurs are risk-taking visionaries. Actually, as it turns out, we’re driven to something better, but we like to plan carefully and take precautions.

2. Myth: The idea is more important than the details. My sentiments exactly. I’ve posted about this one a lot on this blog. For example, “The idea and 2 dollars gets you a cup of coffee”.  And so on.

3. Myth: Jealously guard your idea, lest someone might steal it. I’m not so sure. Forbes says:

Truth: You may be onto something, but you surely don’t have all the answers (if you even knew to ask all the right questions). “While you don’t want to put your entire business plan on the internet, entrepreneurs who do their homework look to a relatively large but select number of people to talk through their ideas,” says Reid Hoffman, founder and chief executive of LinkedIn.com.

I say it’s not that simple. You can’t get paranoid about an idea: If you need investors, you have to talk about it. Real investors don’t steal ideas, they want teams to build companies, not ideas. On the other hand, most ideas are bouncing around for a while, and you’re in competition with other people who have the same idea. Don’t make it simple. Share carefully, and only with people who can give you something back in return (like help, feedback, etc.)

4. Myth: Your business plan must be rock solid from the get-go. No, not really. That’s why I keep saying your business plan is wrong, but vital, because you build it as you go.

5. Myth: Passion will get you there. Of course the truth is that passion isn’t enough. You need to offer value, and implement and so on. I like the way Forbes says it:

Passion can ease the pain of 15-hour days. It can galvanize employees and win over customers. In some cases, it can even enthrall deep-pocketed investors. But it is no silver bullet.

6. Myth: You can set your own schedule. Yeah, right, I say; unless you have clients or customers. Forbes quotes Mike Zaya, chief executive of PrintRunner:

“You have to be the first man in and last man out on any given day.”

7. Myth: There’s glory in it. Well, sometimes . . . on the good days, maybe. Forbes says, though, “For all its rewards, entrepreneurship can also feel like a thankless job.”

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.