Entrepreneurs are individuals who notice an opportunity to satisfy customer or market needs and decide how to find and use resources to make a product or deliver a service that meets those needs. In other words, they perceive an opportunity and create an organization to pursue it. Entrepreneurs may work in almost any industry imaginable, and create and operate a business venture of almost any size.
There is no single educational path to becoming an entrepreneur, as being your own boss allows you to determine what is a sufficient amount of education for you to have in your field. Despite the fact that a formal education may not be necessary, it is highly beneficial to have some level of knowledge, competency or even expertise in the industry you plan on working within. A combination of industry experience and formal education can help accomplish this.
Pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Business, such as Marketing or Management, can provide you with skills related to starting, operating, promoting and managing your business.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, there are certain things you’ll need to have if you are to become a successful entrepreneur.
An identified business opportunity: Look for unmet market needs you could address by introducing a new product or service.
Market research: Use market research to determine if the business opportunity is real, what the current competition level is like, what their pricing is, etc.
Business plan: The process of writing down your plans for the business will help you refine your thinking and will focus your efforts.
Financing: One of the biggest challenges for a start-up business is obtaining the necessary capital. Among the possible sources of funding are your savings, friends and family, lending institutions, working a second job and venture capitalists.
Operational Decisions: There are many small decisions you must make that will help shape your business, such as what equipment to buy, where to locate your business, what business stationery to use, what policies and procedures to implement, etc.
Even with the right education and skill set, becoming successful as an entrepreneur is not guaranteed. If you’re reading the list of personality and intellectual traits listed below, and you recognize many of the traits in yourself, you may be well suited to become an entrepreneur.
Desire to achieve: This is the most important aspect of becoming an entrepreneur, as without it you won’t have what it takes to overcome the many obstacles you will face.
Desire to be your own boss: Working for others isn’t for everyone, and having a desire to be your own boss can help motivate you when times are hard.
Self-discipline: As your own boss, you will be in control of your own schedule; making yourself work hard and staying focused won’t guarantee your success, but without it you don’t have a chance.
Willing to work long hours: Many things fight for your time, and seldom will you be able to start a business without having other commitments get in the way.
Self-motivation: You can’t just coast while starting up a business; you have to be able to pull yourself up when things are too hard or tiring.
Financial discipline: It can take a fair amount of resources to start a business, and if you mis-spend or mis-manage those resources, it can be harder to recover them than it was to get them in the first place.
Resourcefulness: Aside from possible mentors, there is no one to guide your path. This is especially true if you are starting a business in which you have no industry experience.
Calculated risk-taking: Entrepreneurs don't just take risks, they take calculated and analyzed risk. They don't plunge blindly into new situations, they thoroughly prepare for new opportunities.
Self-confidence: There will be times when you begin to doubt your venture, you can’t let those feelings win if you are going to succeed.
Handle responsibility well: Your customers expect a good product or great services, your employers will expect a good work environment, and you will expect yourself to succeed.
Be a ‘Go getter’: Getting your name or business’s name out there is a great way to build your brand and make a name for it. You can’t attract customers in the shadows.
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