Are entrepreneurs born or made? In reality, successful business people contribute to their own success through hard work, a thirst to learn, a desire to succeed and surrounding themselves with people who have the skills to make their ideas come to life. So, in order to find out how to become an entrepreneur, you have to learn what makes a successful business owner, and be unafraid to take some risks and make some mistakes.
Can you be an entrepreneur?
Of course you can. The definition of the word is: ‘a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.’ By that definition, anyone who starts a new business is an entrepreneur. If you have an idea, or you’ve spotted a gap in the market, and you’re brave enough to start a business to exploit your idea or fill that gap, you’re already on your way.
So, this article is really less about how you can be an entrepreneur – all you have to do is start a business with the aim of making a profit – and more about how to be a successful entrepreneur. Tips from people who have done well in business are invaluable for new business owners, and are all actually simpler than you think. One characteristic many successful entrepreneurs share is the willingness to listen to advice from others – so why not start here?
Tip 1 – make sure your idea is a good one
When new businesses fail, it’s because they haven’t taken the time to see if people really want the product or service they’re selling. Making a big investment in starting a business and then discovering there’s no market, or too much competition, or you can’t afford the necessary capital to make an impact means you’ve wasted your time and your money.
So do some market research. Go to networking meetings, talk to prospective clients, carry out surveys, look at market data. Make sure you have the facts and figures to prove that there’s a need for what you want to do – if you’re already working and you don’t have much time, you could hire a virtual assistant to help you with this – and only then should you go out and create the desire.
Tip 2 – have a plan
Plans do – and should – change, allowing your business to be flexible, but it’s important to have at least an outline plan of what you want to do and how you plan to do it. You can find template business plans online, so you don’t have to hire an expensive consultant to work with you, and it will help you keep track of your targets and objectives. If you can, find someone to hold you to account against your plan, so you have an incentive to keep on-track.
Tip 3 – know your sector
What’s the source of most business ideas? Entrepreneur after entrepreneur will tell you that their best ideas come from having worked in the area they’re now serving. From financial technology to car hire; food and drink outlets to clothing lines, start-ups are often born when someone sees something that’s not working and wants to put it right. The better you know your target sector – and preferably have worked in it – the more likely you are to spot a real opportunity.
Tip 4 – look for help
Look for it, ask for it, accept it. Smart business owners look for ways to make their lives easier and achieving their goals faster. From accelerator funds to start-up business support; virtual assistance services to reading business self-help books and blogs – there’s a huge amount of support out there and tapping into it could be the difference between failure and success.
Tip 5 – get out there
There’s no substitute for getting in front of potential customers and partners. Networking is the perfect way to do this. You might be an entrepreneur, but you’re not the only one. Your local area will be full of new, small and established businesses, all of whom can give you advice and support and may even be, or know, potential customers. People buy from people, so the more people you meet, and the better relationships you build, the more likely you are to succeed.
Tip 6 – take every opportunity
To paraphrase Richard Branson, when someone offers you an opportunity, never turn it down. Accept it, and then learn how to do it. The secret of successful entrepreneurs is that they learn from mistakes and failures – theirs and others’ – and they get back up and start again. They take every opportunity that’s offered to them.
You can’t learn how to become an entrepreneur in the course of a single article. But you can start to get a picture of what you need to succeed. Getting the right help, and understanding that it’s sometimes better to pay others for their skills and experience than try to do it all yourself is a really good starting point, and may just help you take your business from a smart idea to a profitable reality.
Did you find this useful? Let us know, and if you want to know more about how we can help your new business, or you’d like to know more about our virtual employee service feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.