How To Become An Entrepreneur: 10 Steps You Need To Take
Entrepreneurial thinking is the ability to spot a way to do something better than it's been done before, and then to make it happen. Entrepreneurship has taken many forms, from the artisan shops of the Middle Ages to the multinational corporations of today. However, every entrepreneur has his or her own unique story.
While some entrepreneurs have been full-time business people, others have worked other jobs and used their skills as entrepreneurs at night or on the weekends. Some entrepreneurs started companies that were intended to create only one new product or service; others were the founding patrons of entire industries.
Becoming an entrepreneur is all about building something out of nothing but an idea, and that’s a concept as old as time itself.
Who Is An Entrepreneur?
Most people don't understand what it means to be an entrepreneur. Many are even scared of the word, attributing to it negative connotations such as 'risk-taking' and 'failure.' Here we’ll take a look at the very nature of entrepreneurship, from both a strictly factual perspective, and from a more personal perspective.
Deciding to be an entrepreneur does not make you one. Nor does being born into a family that encourages entrepreneurship or joining a startup immediately after graduating from college.
An entrepreneur is someone who organizes and operates a business, taking on significant financial risks to turn their dream into a reality. Entrepreneurship can be a deeply fulfilling, liberating and empowering way to live.
Starting a company and growing it from a seed of an idea to a thriving company, however, can be very difficult. You need a lot of business savvy and skill in order to navigate the steps to becoming an entrepreneur. While some people are born with the traits necessary to be entrepreneurs, others have to learn them through practice. The good news is that, if you have enough drive and determination, you can learn how to be an entrepreneur.
Should You Become An Entrepreneur?
Why become an entrepreneur? The benefits are many, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Here are a few of the main reasons you might want to consider entrepreneurship.
- You want to be independent
The main reason why most people choose to become entrepreneurs is because they want independence. When you create your own company, you work for yourself. You don’t have to report to anyone, get anyone else’s permission to make decisions, or be beholden to a schedule that you don’t set.
- You want to have greater freedom and flexibility
Entrepreneurship grants you a certain level of freedom and flexibility that most people don’t have. You can build a schedule around your own needs, control your own salary, and grow your business as fast or as slow as you want.
- You see a niche in the market you want to fill
Entrepreneurs often start their own businesses because they see an unmet need in the market. If you stumble across a business opportunity that no one else has identified, you can find success by offering people something they cannot currently get elsewhere.
- You want to share your creative passion
A strong desire to help other people provides many entrepreneurs with the motivation they need to succeed. Passionate people who want to share their creative ideas with the world can make a difference in that way by becoming an entrepreneur.
- You want extra income
Money should not be the primary motivating factor in your life, but it can be the driving force behind successful entrepreneurship. With financial risk comes the potential for great financial gain, and founding a company can lead to high levels of income.
Skills You Need To Cultivate To Become An Entrepreneur
You may have the most business savvy, but that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. Here are some skills to practice every day if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.
- Communication skills
Communication is key to working effectively with other people. In order to be an entrepreneur, you need to know how to practice active listening. Improve your communication skills by reading up on civil discourse and active listening, asking others for honest feedback, and proofreading all written communication.
- Leadership skills
Leaders know how to motivate, inspire, and guide the people they lead. Practice your leadership skills by taking on more responsibility, striving for discipline, and taking initiative. A hunger to learn and challenge yourself will help build you into the leader you need to be.
- Strong focus
Entrepreneurs can’t afford to take their eye off the ball. Hone in your ability to focus by setting goals for yourself every day. Consistently check in with your progress and make a daily effort towards your goal. You’ll soon develop a stronger sense of focus that will serve you well on your entrepreneurial journey.
- A drive to learn
The best entrepreneurs are curious people. The more interested you are in learning, the more you’ll grow. Use every challenge as an opportunity to learn. The only person you’re competing with is the person you were yesterday, so try every day to learn more than you knew before.
Routines help center us and keep us fixed on our goals. But life throws us constant curveballs, which is why flexibility is a must-have for any entrepreneur. If you practice flexibility, you’ll be able to push through challenges without becoming derailed. Challenge yourself to adapt to new circumstances and practice humility by becoming willing to change when needed.
How To Become A Successful Entrepreneur
So, how do you become an entrepreneur? There are many tips that can help you get started on the path to creating your own business.
Here are a ten initiatives for an entrepreneurial plan:
- Identify profitable startup ideas.
The first step in how to become an entrepreneur is to come up with an idea for your startup. A business is only as good as its ideas, which means that this is the single most important decision you’ll make in your journey. Brainstorm on products or services your business can provide its customers; then do research to see which ones have the greatest potential for profitability.
- Identify and focus on a growing category (or categories).
It’s okay if your business isn’t entirely unique. Maybe you’re inspired by the variety of subscription box services popping up around the world and want to do something in that vein. As long as you’re offering something that no one else is (or doing it in a better way) and you market yourself properly, you can take advantage of a surge in popularity around a certain area—and eventually grow beyond it.
- Fill an underserved demand.
Maybe you’ve been working in a coffee shop for years, and you’ve realized that there is only one bakery in your city that delivers gluten-free pastries. Because the demand for this niche product isn’t being met, you could capitalize on it by starting your own bakery.
- Make something better (or cheaper) than what’s out there.
Always look for ways to improve the things people are already doing. If you can find a way to create a better way to do something that’s already being done, that’s a valuable business idea worth pursuing.
- Validate your startup idea with buyer persona research.
Before you narrow your product focus, do your research on potential customers. The more you know about who your ideal customers would be, the better you’ll be able to serve them. By researching data on who your ideal customers would be, you’ll be able to focus your time on qualified prospects and develop a product that meets their specific needs.
- Start with a minimum viable product (MVP).
A minimum viable product (MVP) helps you to improve your product early on by receiving and integrating user feedback. This gives you a plethora of information about your customers with very little effort. It also allows you to release your product as quickly as possible, test it before committing to a larger budget, and improve it based on customer feedback.
- Create a business plan.
Your business plan is the road map to your company's future. Early investors want to see a formal business plan, so try to be as detailed as you can with it early on. You can always refine it and add to it over time.
- Continue to iterate based on feedback.
If you have a minimum viable product, seek feedback from your customers to ensure that you’re creating something that solves their problems. If you don’t have a minimum viable product, incorporate feedback into your work to make sure you’re best serving your customer’s needs.
- Consider a co-founder.
Having a co-founder or two can help you run your business and take some of the pressure off. It is easier to delegate work with someone else by your side who has different skills than you, and the stress of running a business will be lessened when there are more than one people sharing it.
- Manage your business and keep learning
Once you’re on the ground, you’ll want to keep learning new things about your business. The more hands-on you are, the more you’ll understand how your business works and how you can improve.
Starting a business is not an easy task. It takes courage and risk. Some businesses succeed, and some fail. You may think the challenges of starting a business are enormous. You’re right. That’s why most people don't start a business, or taper off after the initial excitement and motivation fades.
But by applying what you've learned in this guide, by adhering to the trends, and by being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, you can be among the small minority of self-employed individuals who are successful in building companies they are passionate about.