When you become an entrepreneur it is about much more than just starting a business.
It’s a mindset, a lifestyle, and the right kind of person will make it all happen, even if they aren’t wildly successful at first. Perhaps that is you?
Here’s how to become an entrepreneur — and start your own business — like a pro.
How To Become An Entrepreneur – What You Need To Know
How To Become An Entrepreneur – Download Infographic
#1 Start with a great business idea
OK, that’s an oversimplification!
When you become an entrepreneur you are entering the problem-solving business.
Offering a solution to a problem your potential customer is experiencing.
It is fundamental to your project.
The basis on which your future business will stand.
So where do we start?
Identify a problem to solve
The most successful projects in history offered a solution to the existing problem. You may find your biggest frustration and look for a way to confront it. Or ask your friends, what are their major difficulties with their work. Perhaps, you have a solution to this.
Uber came to exist because Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp had a problem finding a taxi.
Facebook came into the picture because Mark Zuckerberg thought we need more opportunities to socialize.
We have GoPro cameras, because Nick Woodman, the founder, couldn’t find the photographer to capture his amazing adventures.
Validate your idea
Entrepreneur spirit is vivid and ambitious. Once we have identified the goal we want to go for it. However, being an entrepreneur is more than just being a fountainhead of business ideas. An entrepreneur is also a true leader, who is in contact with reality. Rather than building castles in the air, they identify real problems and help real people.
At this stage, it is important to do your research.
- What has already been done to solve this problem?
- Who worked on it?
- What have they done wrong?
- What did their clients complain about?
- What have they done right?
- What their clients are happy about?
This does not mean you should be scared of the competition. In fact, competition is a good sign. This means your service is really in demand. Rather than reinventing the bicycle, you want to know the “history” of your project.
#2 Develop an entrepreneurial mindset
Your passion is the fuel of your future business. Setting up a business is a lot of work. If you don’t love what you do, you will not make it to the finish line. When you are passionate about your project, working extra hours will not seem like work anymore.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Geniuses and outsiders” claims that you can reach world-class success in absolutely anything if you put in enough effort. Enough is 10,000 hours of work. This has become famous as Gladwell’s 10,000 Hour Rule.
For example, Mozart started playing musical instruments at the age of three. In his childhood, he reached 10,000 hours. By the time he was 20 he already had 50,000 hours of practice. Could he possibly do this if he did not enjoy it?
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” is a statement is often attributed to Confucius.
No matter who first said it, it is a “life lesson” that many entrepreneurs will quote, especially when it comes to qualifying why they are so committed to making their business a success.
Become A Proactive Entrepreneur
Being open to new opportunities is awesome. But creating opportunities is even better. Suggest new solutions, pitch new clients, find ways to do things better or cheaper. Successful entrepreneurs don’t settle for the status quo. Neither do they need to be told what to do. They lead the way through the unknown path.
Instead of REacting, or acting because something happened, the entrepreneurs are PROacting or making things happen.
Become An Adaptable Entrepreneur
As an entrepreneur, you need to find a way to grow your business. Sometimes you will get lucky and things will just go your way. Sometimes not. You will face the time when there is not enough money. Or when your team is simply not capable of doing what they have committed to.
A true entrepreneur can make it work no matter what. They can adapt to any situation. Not enough money? Become a finance expert and rearrange your expenses. Or get a loan. Or charm the investors with your confidence and attract additional funding.
This is true for adapting to unforeseen changes, both good and bad. The unexpected growth opportunities will come up, and they won’t stay long. You need to grab them. The market situation might change, and you may need to reconsider your business plan. Being flexible is essential for your success as an entrepreneur.
Be A Responsible and Ethical Entrepreneur
The day you decide to become an entrepreneur you take the responsibility for your life. You could never get far by blaming others or the circumstances for every failure. Entrepreneurs make decisions and take full responsibility for them. Learn to view your results as a direct outcome of your actions.
This also means being accountable to your clients and your team. Keep your promises, meet deadlines, and deliver high-quality service. This type of thinking will make your clients come back. This will also win the respect of your team
#3 Plan your path to success
Now that you have an amazing idea and the achiever personality, you are ready to go. But before you start off on this exciting journey, you need a map. Knowing where to go is important. But you also need to know how to get there. Your business plan is your map.
Set measurable goals for your business
To be a successful entrepreneur you need a clear vision. Set the milestones that determine if your business is successful or not. Make sure your goals are measurable and have a deadline.
Rather than saying…
I want a business that makes money
I want to make X by the end of this year.
My blog should drive traffic
I want to have X monthly visitors
Your goals must be ambitious, but realistic. You may expect huge sums of money, but this is not an ambition. This is a dream. If you aim too high and then don’t get it, you will quickly get discouraged.
Manage your finances
To run a successful business you need money. This is the reality. There are multiple ways you can finance your project. You can rely on savings and be bootstrapped. You can also get a start-up loan. Or you can find an investor. Anyway, you need a budget for your business. And you need to make sure you stick to it.
Equip yourself with the right knowledge
In order to make decisions, you need to know the subject well. Lack of knowledge and skills may lead you to wrong decisions with unforeseen consequences. Perhaps you need to improve your knowledge of the niche that you have chosen. This will always be your competitive advantage. You might also need knowledge in finance or marketing to make sure your business runs smoothly. Life-long learning is what all successful people do.
#4 Launch your business
There is a gap between planning and acting. A lot of great ideas never see the light. This is what makes entrepreneurs different – they take action.
A lot of people are permanently caught up in the planning. Trying to make sure they have thought of every possible scenario and issue before launching. They are addicted to planning!
Don’t let that be you.
Deal with the fear of starting
Once you have planned everything, it’s time to go. Many people get stuck in constant improvements. There is always “just one more thing”. If you find yourself thinking this way, you are dealing with procrastination.
If that is you, this will help.
You are making a leap into the unknown when starting the first business. Feeling uncomfortable is totally normal.
Remember, you can never be 100% ready. Colin Powell, former head of US military forces, said you only need to be 40 to 70% ready to start a project.
Also known as the 40-70 rule – If you have less than 40 percent of the information we need then we are likely to make a wrong decision. But if we keep looking for information beyond 70 percent, by the time we make the decision, it will be so late that others will have acted on the opportunity.
The reality is, you will always run into something you were not prepared for. You will have to improvise anyway. So don’t wait for the perfect moment. Press “Enter”.
The entrepreneurial world is very dynamic. If you don’t act fast, you will quickly get surpassed.
Find a dream team and collaborate
Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It comes with collaboration. Your team is your support network that makes your business function. If your business was a car, then you definitely got the wheel. But in order to drive, you need multiple mechanisms working in synergy. Only then, you will get to the destination.
Henry Ford, the man who changed the automotive industry and the world, was often accused of not having general knowledge. In fact, a Chicago newspaper once publicly called him ignorant. Henry Ford took them to court. To justify their statements, the lawyers from the newspaper placed Henry Ford, himself, on the witness. They asked him all kinds of general knowledge questions to prove that he is indeed ignorant. Like “How many soldiers did the British send over to America to put down the Rebellion of 1776?”
For a while, he was turning all of this into a joke. In the end, he got sick and tired of this and said: “Why should I clutter up my mind with general knowledge, for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require”.
Henry Ford knew he didn’t have to know everything in the world. But he had to know how to find the right people with the right expertise.
#5 Spread the word
You may have the most amazing business idea, but if no one knows about it, how can they love it? Be your best ambassador and make sure people know about your project.
Identify your audience and find the right marketing channel
Determine who needs your product or service. The most common mistake of all new business owners is assuming their product is just for anyone. Dig deeper. Semrush is one of the best tools for identifying your customers and the keywords they use to find you.
The best way is to develop customer personas for your business. Imagine they were real people. Give them names. Decide on their age, gender, lifestyle. Identify the challenges they are facing. Be precise. Decide how you are going to make their lives easier. If you believe your product meets the needs of several groups, you need several customer personas. And you address them differently.
Depending on your customer persona’s behavior, you can choose your marketing channels. You may be more successful by finding clients on social media, approaching them at business events, or print advertising.
Grow your network
Sure, you could run paid ads and do good SEO. But networking is going to save thousands of dollars of your marketing budget. Yet it may have even greater benefits.
People trust people. If you build relationships with them, they will be loyal clients or want to do business with you. Networking helps you establish meaningful connections and strong partnerships. Besides, you never know who you might run into. Use the opportunities to connect with others. Attend business events, zoom calls, participate in online discussions.
Come prepared. Have your 15-second elevator pitch ready, practice telling a compelling story about your business, and remember key stats that communicate your success.
And most importantly, remember that it is two-way communication. Listen to others, understand their needs, and offer your best solutions.
#6 Keep going
Persistence is the key to success. A lot of great projects failed simply because they gave up too soon.
Find the right motivation
Becoming an entrepreneur is a big challenge.
You need all your enthusiasm to keep the project running.
You need the inner power to drive your team to success. This is part of the game. To stay resourceful, learn to motivate yourself. There is no universal recipe, but here are solutions that work for many.
Be grateful. Entrepreneurial life is a dream for many. Being one of the lucky ones is an amazing feeling. So be thankful and find a few things that you appreciate every single day.
Stay in good health. To be motivated you need to be in good shape. Make sure you take care of your health. Here are 20 ways to improve your health right now.
Give back. We are happier when we share what we have. Donate to a charity fund, organize a community initiative, or simply make the next person you meet a little bit happier.
Read more: 11 Secrets to a Happy Entrepreneurial Life
Automate and delegate
You can be the most passionate entrepreneur in the world, but if you get stuck in the routine, you will wear out quickly. Successful entrepreneurs don’t try to do it all. Instead, they prioritize the most important tasks and focus on them.
Need to track your website performance? Don’t rely on the old-fashioned excel sheets or, worse, guesswork. Set goals in Google Analytics
Promoting your business on social? Don’t spend hours on it every single day. Use social media automation tools.
Not getting website visitors? Don’t just hope they will come one day. Add the best WordPress plugins for getting more traffic to your website.
Us the technology available. It is there to help you. So you can focus on what’s important.
When you cannot automate a business process, you can delegate it to someone from your team. Hire the inspired and talented people that you can trust.
Face failure as a hero
Everyone fails at some point. Failure is a part of success. Take a look at the most successful people in history. Most of them have failed more than once. Bill Gates dropped out of Harward and his first business, Traf-O-Data, was not very successful. Steve Jobs was fired from his own company. Walt Disney’s first business Laugh-o-Gram Studios went bankrupt and he was even fired from a newspaper once for “not being creative enough”.
As Thomas Eddison said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. After he eliminated all the ways that don’t work, he found a way that does. Thanks to his persistence we can enjoy light in our homes.
If you fail, consider this a learning curve and carry on.
Once you have got your business up and running, you are at the beginning of a journey. There is still a way to go.
Success is a process, not a destination.
Communicate your success
Once you have the results, tell everyone about it. Self-promotion may seem awkward at first. Nobody want’s to look self-centered. But if you don’t believe in your success, nobody will.
There are a few ways to make sure you don’t look egocentric when talking about your success.
- Talk about the success of your clients, and mention what was your part in it.
- Tell about the breakthroughs of your team members. This still contributes to the success of your business.
- Acknowledge your mentors. Attribute your success to the knowledge that you got from a coach or an institution.
Building a personal brand is a part of entrepreneurial life. It is your life-long project. Find the best way to describe your business and be bold!
Ask for feedback and improve
Your success depends on your clients. Ask for their feedback, run surveys, investigate errors.
When you become an entrepreneur you never stop improving.
This last point is perhaps the most important point to remember. Even with a successful business today, you cannot assume you will continue to be a success tomorrow.
New products and competitors will appear. When you become an entrepreneur it is your job to keep on top of these trends and to continue to innovate.
Click on the image below for “How To Become An Entrepreneur Infographic”
Barry Dunlop is a lifelong Entrepreneur, Business Coach, and Sales Turnaround Expert who is passionate about helping business owners grow their businesses and enjoy a better life while doing it. To interview Barry or invite him on your Podcast make contact HERE or connect with Barry on LinkedIn
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