You Don't Have to Do Business the Way They Told You to Do It

Debunking popular myths around traditional business practices and why these myths should not be taken as models for today’s worlds of work and entrepreneurship.

by Margherita Sgorbissa, November 23, 2021
mainstream business

Photo by Zachary Keimig

The mainstream narrative around business, one that is perpetuated by most business schools, The Harvard Business Review, LinkedIn posts, Forbes’ articles, and entrepreneurship influencers, is often toxic and rooted in oppressive structures. As it turns out, business as usual is… red flags!

In this article, which is based on a slideshow I created, I’ll break down some of the most popular myths around traditional business practices and explain why these myths should not be taken as models for today’s worlds of work and entrepreneurship.

Mainstream is oppressive

Traditional business practices, like sales and marketing, are rooted in capitalist, manipulative and oppressive dynamics. These prioritize exploitative tactics to increase profit by disempowering people.

The reality is that you don’t need to manipulate your audience, nor create or amplify any hierarchies or power dynamics over them in order to get them to buy your product or use your service.

You can build, develop and grow your business out of the mainstream practices, using your own creativity and innovative mindset to create visibility around your work and specifically by tuning in to what feels good and healthy for you and your community.

Success is defined by you

We have been long programmed to believe that success is a unidimensional concept and should look the same for everyone: money, titles, social status, 6-figure funding rounds, huge following on social media, vibrant PR coverage etc. 

However, imposing a normative definition of success is how our capitalist society tricks us and works to create access to privilege and resources available to only a few of us. 

The reality is that success can work differently and be very diversified across industries, business sizes, models and intentions.

You can define the metrics and the meanings of success on your own terms and based on what matters the most to yourself, your business model, your goals and your community.

The path is nonlinear

Business gurus have been long trying to sell us step-by-step methods, one-size-fits-all solutions to accomplish entrepreneurial success and to rapidly grow our work. 

While there are known strategies that can help you accelerate your business growth, the journey of building a business, growing and developing is nonlinear, personal, marked by continuous trial-and-error processes and looks different for each of us.

Whoever tells you a different story is trying to fool you, scare you or make you believe you should fit into a fixed series of requirements in order to start your own entrepreneurial journey. And they’re wrong!

More than just business

Traditional business practices have long left politics and social matters out of their focus. Professionalism has been built on the idea that business is just business and it must stick to its scope. 

The reality is that businesses are embedded and intersected with our social and cultural dynamics and can very much influence them.

This is a very good thing if we use the power of business voices to create a positive impact.

Your business has, indeed, the potential to be more than just a business and to create transformations with higher purposes if you choose to believe so and act towards this purpose.

Have you ever heard about business activism and civic brands? You can read more about it in this Instagram post or shoot me an email to book a free consultation on how to kick off your business activism and civic brand strategy.

Hustling is not the way

Many entrepreneurs have embraced the myth of "hard work" and "fast-paced" business development. We have long been exposed to a narrative that normalizes hustle culture, competitive attitude and non-stop working schedules.

Well, hustle culture is toxic and oppressive. It is rooted in the idea that our worth is defined by how much we work (busyness) and how much we produce (productivity).

Can you think of anything more toxic than this?

You can build a successful business by going slow, prioritizing rest and building community over competition with your peers.


Read more about shifting entrepreneurial models and narratives on my cozy corner of the Internet!

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You look to do more with your business and change the narrative of traditional entrepreneurship. You are keen to create impact with your business idea and want to become more intentional and vocal about it. You want to tap into the power of community and lead your work in a more inclusive, community-driven way.

Well, you found the right support. I help you turn your brand from quietly disengaged into fiercely committed + community driven. Book a free consultation here: