Busting Business Myths: Four Misconceptions That You Should Let Go

Business myths are often perpetuated and become widely accepted as truth, despite being far from accurate. Let’s debunk four common myths: that work-life balance as the key to happiness, that sustainable businesses cannot exist at scale, the assumption that the customer is always right, and the misconception that failure is always bad. 

Myth #1: Work-Life Balance is Key

Forget work-life balance and strive for life balance instead. Achieving life balance is not only about the time you allocate to any aspect of your life but also about mental health. Prioritizing self-care, hobbies, and time with loved ones can help individuals perform better at work and ultimately achieve their goals. The key is to find a blend that works for you, whether it’s taking breaks during the workday, working from home, or setting clear boundaries regarding your availability.

If work is sucking the life out of you, and as a result you spend non-work time recharging, only to have your energy depleted again the next day, something is fundamentally wrong. Work should be a contributor to your life balance, not something that needs to be counterbalanced. 

Myth #2: Sustainable Businesses Cannot Exist at Scale

For a long time, there was this notion that sustainable businesses were only possible on a small scale. The idea was that if you wanted to be environmentally conscious, you had to make sacrifices in terms of profit and growth. However, this is not the case.

In fact, sustainable practices can lead to cost savings and increased efficiency, which can result in greater profitability. Furthermore, consumers are increasingly prioritizing sustainability in their purchasing decisions, which can lead to increased demand for sustainable products and services.

Sustainability can take many forms, from reducing waste and emissions to promoting social responsibility. Regardless of the specific practices, sustainable business models can be profitable and successful on a large scale. 

Myth #3: The Customer is Always Right 

The notion that customer focus is all that matters has been around for over a century, and it’s a common belief that the customer should always come first. While it’s important to prioritize customer satisfaction, it’s not the only factor that matters in business.

Listening to customer feedback and addressing their needs can lead to loyal customers, but businesses should also consider their own needs. For example, businesses also need to focus on employee satisfaction, financial performance, and their own identity. 

A few years back, we took the decision to walk away from a lucrative client contract. While working with the customer, we became aware of questionable ethical standards in their business. This customer was exploiting vulnerable groups for financial gain. The customer is always right? Certainly not. For us, it was more important to protect and maintain our own integrity and live up to our values than to continue to service that client. 

Myth #4: Failure is Always Bad

Nobody likes failure and we typically see it as a setback to success. We try to avoid making mistakes, sometimes at all cost, because we fear the consequences. However, failure can be a valuable learning experience that ultimately leads to much larger future success.

In fact, many successful business leaders have experienced failure at some point in their career, some of them extensively. Take Virgin founder Richard Branson, for example. Over a dozen of his businesses went bust, including his attempts to sell Virgin Cola, lingerie, wedding dresses, and cosmetics. Branson kept going and turned Virgin into the success it is today. 

The key is to learn from mistakes and use them as an opportunity to grow and improve. By reframing failure as a learning experience, businesses can take more risks and innovate without fear of failure. This can lead to breakthroughs and new ideas that ultimately lead to success.

Main Image by Rhii Photography