Common Startup Perceptions and Their True Realities

Debunking Common Myths: Venture funding isn't always necessary, ideas aren't always unique, and sales reps aren't the sole saviors.

A.T. Gimbel
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March 5, 2024

I frequently come across entrepreneurs that have a certain perception about the business that is usually not true in reality. Here are a few of the common ones that I hear.


  • Perception - I need to raise venture funding.
  • Reality - Maybe, but most businesses should not. Pending on your desired path for the business, market opportunity, and business model there are other options such as bootstrapping/side hustle, consulting, or customer funding to get going.


  • Perception - I have a unique idea with no competitors.
  • Reality - Someone somewhere else in the world has the same idea. Be careful how you are defining competition. Execution is more important.


  • Perception - I just need to hire a sales rep/head of sales and business will take off.
  • Reality - As the founder you need to be doing the early sales for all the learnings, as well as defining a sales process that you know works.

Good idea

  • Perception - Everyone loves my idea.
  • Reality - You should read The Mom Test. People are probably just being nice to you.

Build what customers want

  • Perception - Once I build these features, customers will buy it.
  • Reality - See above, customers are probably just giving a convenient excuse not to buy. They don’t actually believe you will go build it and come back to them.


  • Perception - I have a great team of ten advisors.
  • Reality - It is a red flag in a pitch deck for early startups that have an entire page of just advisors.

These are just a few recent examples of common perceptions I have heard. Be careful to check your perceptions and focus on solving a must-have problem that potential customers will pay today for you to solve.

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