CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become an entrepreneur.
Is becoming an entrepreneur right for me?
The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:
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Many books and other reference materials written on the subject will list ‘Find Your Industry or Niche’ as the first step in the process of becoming an entrepreneur.
While the majority of these resources undoubtedly offer valid advice and information, they often neglect to include the quintessential requirement for entrepreneurship success: a genuine entrepreneurial spirit – a bent, an aptitude for managing the myriad of things that come with starting and operating a business. Impressive education and a diverse network are valuable assets. But without an innate sense of industrialism, of pioneerdom, success is more often than not fleeting or unreachable.
In general, your niche will be something you have worked in for years or something that has inspired you for a long time. A professional organizer, for example, may see an increasing need for his/her services. A life coach may be motivated to develop and market a new paradigm or archetype in the field of human development.
For prospective entrepreneurs, ‘education’ is not a clear-cut term. This is not to say that education is not worthwhile; it’s just that in the entrepreneurial world it tends to come in more forms than in traditional occupations.
Some entrepreneurs – the minority, however – succeed with no formal education; they are born business leaders, self-motivated, self-taught, and driven by their vision and natural talents. For the majority, though, their learning track is composed of three tiers. These tiers may be comprised of different kinds of education, from formal programs in entrepreneurship to various targeted courses.
This education, also known as industry education, is directly related to the field in which their business is focused.
Of course, tier one/industry education can be in any discipline at all, based on the focus of the proposed business. The learning that takes place in tiers two and three is more generic; it applies to all entrepreneurs across all niches. It is about launching and operating a start-up. Let’s take a look at the typical education components of these tiers.
Entrepreneurship education teaches the foundational skills needed to launch a business.
Consider this example from Harvard Business School.
This is education is related to business and finance. Every entrepreneur needs to be versed in management, finances, taxes, and other business-related topics. Depending on individual skills and abilities, this knowledge may come in the way of a degree, a certificate, or standalone courses in the following subject areas:
Business Concept & Plan
A business without a plan is a business that will fail. Following are the basic components of a stable business plan:
Develop Your Idea and Research Your Market
• Determine why your idea is a good one and how it can help or change people’s lives.
• Determine who makes up your target market.
• Conduct market research; test your idea against the competition.
• Ensure that you are offering something different and distinct.
Create a Business Plan
• Develop a pitch to help focus your goals; demonstrate how your idea solves a problem.
• Conduct research to clearly identify and define the competition.
• Clarify your financial position; establish a budget; determine likely investment requirements.
• Estimate the phases/stages of growth of your business; set some milestones.
Finalize a Marketing Strategy
• Invest in promoting your product or service.
• Start thinking about your brand and the message/story you wish to convey; ensure consistency across all of your messaging, from logos, to taglines, and online/social media presence.
• All start-ups need capital. Most do not make a profit at the beginning of operation. Funding typically comes via loans or from investors.
• Bank loans require regular repayments.
• For many entrepreneurs, investors are the better option because they take equity in lieu of regular repayments; on the other hand, they may have unrealistic expectations.
Talk to a Lawyer
• Launching a new business is a serious undertaking. It is imperative to ensure that you are legally protected.
Build a Rock-star Team
• Hire people with strengths different from your own.
• Hire people who share your vision and relate to the culture you are creating.
Networking is a critical part of entrepreneurship. Meeting the right people can be the difference between failure and unimaginable success. Here is a list of several associations and groups dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs:
• Entrepreneurs’ Organization
• Startup Grind
• The Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE)
• Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)
• International Council for Small Business
• International Franchise Association (IFA)
• U.S. Small Business Administration
• United States Patent and Trademark Office