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The Skills and Steps Needed to
Become an Entrepreneur
The idea of building a business from scratch is appealing to people across the world. There is great satisfaction in seeing your idea blossom into a thriving, sustainable business that you can be proud of.
Being self-employed and enjoying the freedoms that it brings is just another alluring factor of becoming an entrepreneur.
However, for all the positives that come with being a business owner, many challenges need to be overcome throughout such a venture. It takes a specific type of person to be able to withstand such challenges and navigate their way through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.
If you have always wanted to establish an independent business, in this article we list some of the critical skills and steps you will need to take to realize your dreams. Read on to learn more about what you can do to achieve your entrepreneurial goals, and whether or not you've got the right personality for the job.
The Necessary Skills
All jobs will require a specific skill set, but as a business owner, you will need to be able to master a lot of different tasks and adapt to various roles. Here are some of the basic skills you will need for success:
Being able to communicate effectively, both verbally and in written form, will be essential for anyone who intends to build a business. You will have to work closely with your team to achieve your goals, as well as reaching out to others for help and advice. You must be perceived as capable and professional at all times to make sure people are getting the right impression of you. Furthermore, clear, and honest communication will be vital for getting exactly what you want and reducing the risk of confusion and chaos when trying to close deals, finish essential tasks and the general management of your business.
Networking is another essential factor to anyone who is looking to advance in their career, and it is particularly crucial if you are trying to get support for your independent business. As an entrepreneur, you must be able to feel comfortable talking to strangers and making yourself visible to those who could be useful contacts, investors, and other members of your team.
If you're going to run a business having strong leadership skills is necessary. You might be working alone at first, but as your business grows, so will your team, and they must have confidence in your abilities as a leader. If not, this could risk a bad reputation, low productivity, and have further negative effects on your business. Be fair, but firm as a leader to get the best results.
As the leader of the company, you must have the ability to come up with realistic and suitable solutions to any problems that you might face – and there's likely to be a lot! Even if you have years of work experience under your belt and an education in business, this doesn't mean that you will be able to foresee every potential problem that comes your way. This is why creative problem solving is a crucial skill to have if you're going to follow the path of an entrepreneur.
Naturally, having an organized work schedule and knowing where all of your essential information is, etc., is an integral part of running a business. There will be a lot of things you will need to organize, from sales, staff, finances, meetings, and much more. Therefore, if you're not a naturally organized person, this is a skill you must learn to master.
As a business owner, with so much responsibility resting on your shoulders, you will need to have self-discipline to make sure your goals are met and tasks are completed on time. It can feel overwhelming at times, but this is why your organization skills need to be great. Having good self-discipline and the ability to push yourself will be an essential personality trait for entrepreneurs.
Work Under Pressure
Any job can be stressful but running a business will increase the pressure in a big way. You are not only responsible for yourself, but your staff, keeping customers satisfied, making sure your business is profitable, and so on. While being the boss might have its perks, don't think you won't have to make some tough decisions and deal with stressful situations. You must be able to work under pressure if you're going to start a business. However, it's important not to micro-manage, either, as this can be counter-productive. Make sure that you are taking on your fair share of responsibility, but also remember to delegate, too.
An Analytical Mind
Being able to assess situations and analyze data properly is another crucial skill that entrepreneurs should have. You must be able to look at your business model and identify areas that need improvement, as well as things that are going right. If you can't do this, your business will be slow to progress, or worse, it could fail. You might have the majority of the skills listed here, but if you can't analyze and assess your company's strengths and weaknesses effectively, this will hinder its performance enormously.
A lot of entrepreneurs start their business venture journey alone, and only later do they add other people into the mix. When you're working with others, that's when your leadership skills will need to kick in, but in those early stages, it's your self-confidence that will be the most important. If you're struggling to convince yourself of your capabilities and ideas, this will be noticeable and could affect your chances of getting funding and finding others to help you set up your business.
While intuition is more of a feeling than skill, as a business owner having a good sense of others and situations will be vital. The ability to read between the lines and assess another person's body language, etc., will help you to size up the situation and to know whether it's time to push forward or fall back. This will be useful when trying to make deals or sales pitches regarding your business.
The Necessary Steps
There are different ways you can begin a business, but here are some of the most common and effective paths you can take.
A college education isn't essential for entrepreneurs; however, there are quite a few benefits to enrolling on a degree course. For example, taking a business course at degree level could help to enhance your understanding of how industries work and will teach you invaluable things about how to run a business yourself. If you want to take your education further, a master's degree could be a natural step for you, and you might want to consider a business analytics degree to help you feel more confident. There are also online degree options available for those who can't commit to attending a college full time or can't relocate for their studies.
Work experience is essential for all careers, but if you're planning to run a company, you will undoubtedly need some experience in management roles at the very least. While you can take the leap and throw yourself into starting an independent business, previous experience in leadership roles will help to prepare you for such large responsibilities. Working within a particular industry will also be beneficial; for example, if you wanted to open a restaurant, you should have some prior experience in the hospitality trade. You might be keen to get your business started but be patient and get some practical knowledge about how your business is going to work first.
Before you start making plans to apply for business loans and so on, you must first determine whether or not there is any room in the market for what your company is going to provide. If there is no demand for a business such as yours, or if the market is already saturated with similar businesses, your idea might not be as good as you think. There must be the right balance of supply and demand for a business to be a success, and your company must stand out from the rest. Make sure you've carried out thorough market research before you put the rest of your plans in motion, as this will tell you whether your idea is viable or not.
Form a Business Plan
Once you have identified whether or not your business will work, the next step is to write a detailed business plan. This process will help you to think beyond the general idea of your business and force you to analyze the realities of expenses, profits, promotion and marketing strategies, customer relationships, etc. If you're going to apply for a business loan from a bank, approach an entrepreneurial scheme for funding or a private investor, all will want to see a copy of your business plan. Your plan should cover at least the first 5 years of your business, and include cash-flow forecasts and estimated profits.
If you're lucky enough to fund this business venture yourself, you might not be too worried about securing funding. Still, the majority of entrepreneurs need help when it comes to finances. There are various paths to take when trying to secure funding for your start-up, including government-run schemes, banks, and private investors. They will want to see a copy of your business plan, but you will also need to make a presentation for your business and convince them it's worth supporting. Do your research on what these financial sources are looking for and make sure you're applying for the right kind of business loan to avoid confusion and problems later down the line.
Marketing your business properly is essential, and many start-ups can get this step wrong. As a small, independent business, you might not initially have a big enough budget to spend a lot on marketing, but there are ways around this. Social media is a brilliant tool for all businesses to promote their brand and products, and these platforms are particularly useful for smaller companies that will have tighter budgets. Other digital marketing techniques include SEO tactics, pay-per-click advertising, email, and content marketing. However, if you can afford to spend more on your branding and marketing, consider hiring a professional agency to help you develop these plans as they are likely to get you better results.
It's essential to find a good attorney who specializes in business matters. They can help you draw up contracts, make you aware of your legal obligations as a business and employer, and could even help to give financial advice on occasion. While the cost of an attorney might seem off-putting at first, it's far better to have someone explain the legal jargon to you and reduce your risk of bad contracts or getting into trouble over other legal complications.
Get an Accountant
Like having a good attorney for your business, getting an accountant is another professional service that could save you a lot of time. Some start-up business owners choose to do their own accounts to cut back on expenses, and if you have experience in doing such tasks, this is fine. However, it's essential to get your accounts right and pay the relevant taxes on time, and if you have little or no experience with accounting before, hiring a professional might be the safest option for you.
Finally, if you're business is becoming more and more successful, you might want to consider how you can expand it to accommodate the extra workload. This could be opening a second store, or simply hiring a few extra employees to help tackle the growing tasks. Don't rush to expand your business before it's ready, however, as these additional costs could end up harming your business if there isn't sufficient cash-flow.
Becoming an entrepreneur is an exciting thing to do, and for those who love a challenge and are natural leaders, it’s not surprising that they choose this road. However, it isn't an easy path to take, and there are plenty of things to consider. If you want to try your hand at entrepreneurship, develop the skills listed above and think about the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.
About the Author
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.