Most of us dream of becoming our own boss. Who wouldn’t given the unpredictable nature of the labor markets these days? If you’d rather build a business that you love, then you might want to become an entrepreneur. Here’s how.
Inspired by the flourishing support given to startups, more people are now turning to entrepreneurship as a vehicle to set their dreams to motion. This shift from working for someone to being your own boss sounds sexy to a fault.
Or is it?
If becoming an entrepreneur was an ideal lifestyle, why isn’t everyone doing it? Well, that’s because those who took the leap don’t always succeed.
In fact, the recent COVID-19 pandemic should give you a grim reality behind starting a business. More than 100,000 small businesses have shut down permanently, causing a harrowing domino effect on the economy.
To start a business, you need a fusion of skills, grit, resources, and yes—luck, to succeed. If you want to begin a new chapter of your life as an entrepreneur, you need to plan this carefully. These are the steps we recommend you follow to become a successful entrepreneur one day. Let’s start.
How to Become an Entrepreneur
Choose the right business for you
What’s great about being an entrepreneur is that it allows you to explore businesses that match your goals in life. Choose a business that considers your lifestyle, personality, and the values you live by.
When considering if entrepreneurship is for you, there are different ways to approach it.
Do you want a lifestyle change? Or maybe you were recently laid off from work? Take stock of all the skills, experience, and network you have accumulated over the years. Hence, it’s easier to offer products or services using your background as leverage.
Did you discover a problem in the market? You might have a business idea that solves that problem. This part can be tricky as you need more insight and knowledge about the market before investing money in it.
Also, see if you have hobbies and skills that you find interesting. Once you find the business you like, do some research, and then learn from other businesses in the industry.
Learn as much as you can
The entrepreneurial journey doesn’t stop the moment you build your company. It’s an ongoing process of learning and unlearning things as you adapt to changes in the market.
Hence, we can’t stress enough how important it is to get an education. It doesn’t have to be a formal education from a business school. Online course providers such as Coursera and Udemy offer tutorials on different specializations.
So, if you’re thinking of starting a software company, you need to polish your skills in programming and user experience design. Of course, some industries like law and engineering firms will require special types of certifications and licenses before you can operate these businesses.
Create a business plan
Most entrepreneurs fail because they don’t really have a plan. Yes, having the determination and motivation will help you to start. But where do you go from there?
A business plan brings clarity and focus when operating a business. Additionally, it gives a clear framework and financial direction for the company in five years or so.
To increase your chances of success, write down an action plan that details your vision goals, and strategies. So, ask yourself:
- Are there any gaps in the market that my business will solve?
- What products or services can I offer as a solution?
- To whom will I be serving this product or service?
- What benefits will my customers get from my offering?
- What are my strategies to accomplish these goals?
Grow Your Network
In business, you need strong connections to survive. Networking allows you to meet entrepreneurs that may have the resources to get your business off the ground. As soon as possible, start building your network in the industry and beyond.
See if you can find an active community related to your business. There are tons of accelerator programs that provide education, mentorship, and funding for qualified startups.
Also, check if your area has events specifically for entrepreneurs. Who knows you just meet your potential investors there for funding? These networking events are great places to find mentors, too. Mentors are industry experts that can guide you to effectively scale your business.
Essentially, you need working capital to pay for employees, rent, supplies, and others. If you have carried out the previous steps, then you’ll be more confident to raise funds.
If personal funds are not enough, you can tap other investors to fund your business. From angel investors to venture capital, there are several places you can try to raise money. Make sure to prepare a winning pitch deck to increase your chances of getting funded.
Create value for customers
Most people don’t warm up to being sold. They want to buy products or services that they find valuable. Thus, serve your customers first, then profits will follow. Creating value means customers can get something out of your products, and it answers their needs.
As an entrepreneur, it’s your job to persuade people to choose you over other competitors in the market. Make sure to zero in on what makes you unique and then promote the value it offers.
Promote, promote, promote!
You might have the best products in the world, but no one will know if you don’t market it to people. Nowadays, it’s easier to get the word out with the help of social media. Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter are a few of the social media platforms to promote your business.
However, don’t forget other traditional methods. Word-of-mouth and email marketing are some of the tried-and-test tools to meet potential customers.
Be your Own Boss
Keep in mind, these steps will be fruitless without actions. Now that you know what it takes to become an entrepreneur, it’s time to embark on this dream. Choose the right business, understand your competitors, and create value for your audience.
Additionally, it’s important to get into the entrepreneurial mindset. With no boss to look after you, it’s easy to get distracted. No one but yourself can motivate you and the team to accomplish your goals.
Yes, being an entrepreneur is not a walk in the park. That’s why you need mentors to guide you on this journey. Startup experts Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson can coach to put your ideas to work. They are the co-founders of Full Scale, Kansas City’s premier software development firm. At Full Scale, we provide entrepreneurs with access to high-skilled software teams to build and market their products.
Follow them on their weekly podcast, Startup Hustle, or message them to schedule a FREE consultation.