You might have heard people talk about them. You might have argued about the importance of such skills. You might have witnessed your friends becoming one. Or you might have yourself considered becoming one.
Entrepreneurship is the new “cool” thing to pursue in this age, yet so many people are confused over how to become an entrepreneur? What does it really take to become one? Is every self-employed person an entrepreneur? Or is it a conceptualist or an “ideator”? Can you become an entrepreneur without innovation? Are some people born entrepreneurs or can someone be developed to become one? Can entrepreneurs only be found in startups? Or can you call yourself an entrepreneur even if you don’t own a company but are a leader and innovator in your own space?
No matter how varied the questions be and how confusing the opinions be, there’s only one definition of entrepreneurship and anyone who possesses this characteristic is an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is the art of finding profitable (and usually risky) solutions to the problems and building a business upon it.
Every entrepreneur works differently, has a different work and life approach, and is right in his own way. Nevertheless, every entrepreneur is seen to possess these 6 entrepreneurial skills:
- Self-Belief: there is an inherent burning desire inside every great entrepreneur that does not let him quit even on the worst of days.
- Decisiveness: Entrepreneurs have to take very hard decisions and that too very quickly
- Risk Tolerance: A successful entrepreneur knows when to take calculated risks. A successful entrepreneur shall also have Plan B and Plan C ready when Plan A does not work due to unexpected situations.
- Constant Learning: Every entrepreneur has to be on his toes and keep learning how to make his business better to ensure his business is ahead of the competition.
- Vision And Focus: Entrepreneurs have a vision of what they want to do and how they want to do it and they are single-mindedly focussed on it.
- Optimism: An entrepreneur’s life is tough and not every day is rosy. A great entrepreneur is a dreamer and brims with optimism because he believes in his dreams wholeheartedly.
Entrepreneur vs. Self-Employed
Not every person working for himself is an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is not just his own boss. He is someone who looks for profitable solutions to the problems and builds a business upon it. He is someone who is ready to take greater than normal risks (financial and non-financial) and who is comfortable with uncertainty and long working hours. A true entrepreneur does not just talk about ideas but executes them in a stellar fashion as well. He is the disruptor and unstoppable. He is a hustler in the truest sense.
However, a self-employed person can be a freelancer or a business/franchise operator. He takes the paths carved by entrepreneurs and performs tasks that are less risky and the results of which are obvious.
Entrepreneur vs. Infopreneur vs. Intrapreneur
Entrepreneurs come in many forms. If you’ve read our post on the types of entrepreneurs you’d know that there are at least 10 types of entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, entrepreneurship also comes in different forms. You can be an entrepreneur and build your own startup. Or you could make money by collecting, organizing and selling information mainly in a niche market (Infopreneur). You could even be an intrapreneur in your own organization without undertaking most entrepreneurial risks.
Selecting if you want to be an entrepreneur, infopreneur, or intrapreneur is really important before moving on to reading the next steps of how to become an entrepreneur.
How To Become An Entrepreneur?
Identify The Right Business For You
Everyone has his or her strengths and everyone has his or her roadblocks. It’s not easy to build a startup. It’s not even easy to start the ideation process.
Most people think every startup is built on an unconventional idea and that they’ve to start from the scratch and must come up with something that no one has ever done before. This hypothesis isn’t true most of the times. Moreover, if you aren’t blessed with the brains like those of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, this could waste a lot of your time too.
So how do you come up with the right business for you? How do you start the ideation process?
Follow any one of these two entrepreneurial approaches:
- Do what you’re good at: What’s better than earning while doing what you love? Start a restaurant if you’re a foodie and love to cook. Build a website if you love to share. An arbitrage business is also a great option if you love playing with the system of prices.
- Learn from others and do it better: Learn about what’s going on in the market. What businesses interests you and how you can add value to them. Most of the disruptive ideas evolve using this approach.
Know Your Target Market
Substantial knowledge about the target market is very important for an entrepreneur before he moves on to building his dream. Target market refers to a specific and well-defined consumer segment within the business’s serviceable market which the business wants to sell its products and services and direct its marketing efforts to.
Who will buy your product? What is his/her age? Where does s/he live? Is your product a need/want/luxury for him/her? What is the size of your target market? Is it scalable?
The answers to all these questions not only add value to your business idea but also makes you more confident in starting your own business and presenting it to the potential investors.
Plan Your Business
A business plan is a formal statement which consists your business goals, objectives, vision, why they are attainable, and how you’re going to attain them. It is a strategically written description of your business’s future.
Business planning improves your chances of succeeding. Before moving ahead, write a one-page business plan with the answers to these questions.
- Why do I want to start this business?
- What problem can I look to solve/what niches have not been served/what gaps exist in the market?
- What can be the target market for my business?
- What are the short and long-term goals, personally and financially, for both myself and my business?
- Can I see myself doing this 5 or 10 years down the line?
Build A Business Model
A Business Model is a conceptual structure that supports the viability of a product or company and includes the purpose and goals of the company and how it intends to achieve them.
A business model answers who your consumer is, what value you can create/add for the customer, and how can you do that at reasonable costs.
Your strategy for making your startup work for you will decide its competitiveness in the market. You would want to gain a sustainable advantage over your competitors and that starts with the right business model. Here’s how you can build an ideal business model.
- Match your product with your competitor products and set the prices according to your USP.
- Focus on acquiring high-value customers. These are the customers from whom you’ll gain maximum value while keeping your costs as low as possible.
- Focus on positioning. It is the space your brand will occupy in the brains of your customers.
- Formulate a funding strategy. How will you procure funds to meet the operating as well as the capital expenses of your startup?
- Fill a business model canvas. It is a great tool to discuss your existing or new businesses in a structured and tangible manner.
Learn To Market Yourself & Your Business
Marketing your product and communicating its features to the prospective customers is as important as building one. Marketing leads to the creation of a brand which is the company’s most valuable asset. It helps you in building a relationship with the customers, understanding their needs and demands and serving them better, all leading to more profits.
As an entrepreneur, you need to focus on building your company’s as well as your own brand. He needs to look for affordable mediums to connect with his audience, to inform them about his product, to stand out, and to convince them to buy it.
Build A Support Network
It isn’t easy to be the sole decision maker and risk taker. Everyone finds it lonely at the top sometimes, especially when it’s your first time. This is where your support network helps you.
Your support network is the group of people who provide emotional and practical help to you in your entrepreneurial journey. These include fellow entrepreneurs, mentors, friends, family members, etc.
Support network doesn’t necessarily become a part of your business. However, they are there when you need guidance or support during your journey.
Building a support network is important for your emotional stability and better decision making. Include experienced entrepreneurs in your support network. Include people who understand you. People who understand your industry. And people who can cheer you up when you fail.
Go On, Tell Us What You Think!
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A startup consultant, dreamer, traveller, and philomath. Aashish has worked with over 50 startups and successfully helped them ideate, raise money, and succeed. When not working, he can be found hiking, camping, and stargazing.