Becoming An Entrepreneur Takes More Than Just Desire
Starting a business is a big deal, and it is a decision that requires lots of thought and even more research. It isn’t always easy, and many business owners choose to start small in the early days. Vector Commerce presents some tips for cautious entrepreneurs looking to gain experience without the risks or commitments associated with opening a business full time right off the bat.
Recognize the traits.
Many young entrepreneurs begin their journey simply by focusing on something they love. However, a desire to pursue a passion is not the only trait valuable to future business owners. The majority of successful businessmen and women share empathy, a strong sense of fairness, and an exceedingly strong work ethic.
If you want to be truly successful, you must be open to learning from the wisdom of others and recognize that there is much you do not know, even when you are considered an experienced provider of your products or services. Entrepreneurs are exceptional listeners, are willing to learn from their mistakes, and can visualize their future instead of seeing just the present.
It’s not enough just to know the traits of a successful entrepreneur, you must also be willing to recognize flaws within yourself that might make the journey unpleasant. If you are more concerned about comfort than performance or do not like to set goals, you might not make the best business owner. Further to the point, you must be able to manage stress well and interact with people at all levels.
Identify your area of interest.
Although the pursuit of passion should not necessarily be your driving factor, you should take the time to identify what you want to do and how often you want to do it. For example, if your goal is to start your own painting company, decide what this will look like. Do you want to paint murals, focus on residential projects, or offer services to corporate and industrial clients? This can help you narrow down your menu of services and decide where, exactly, to start.
The vast majority of businesses require money for a startup. How you get this money is up to you. Some entrepreneurs choose to start small and utilize their savings. Others borrow money from friends and family or reach out to an angel investor, which StartUp Grind acknowledges has risks and rewards.
Another popular option is to seek financing through either a government entity or a private lending agency. A Small Business Administration Express Bridge Loan, a traditional SBA loan, or a Main Street Business Lending Program loan can give you working capital to launch your business without unnecessarily dipping into your cash reserves.
However you choose to acquire funds for your new business, use it wisely. You might, for example, buy new equipment, up your inventory, or pay freelancers or employees to help you get your job done. And, if you structure your business as an LLC, your personal assets may be protected in case you are unable to pay back money borrowed. If you’d like to start an LLC today, you can save by working with a formation service.
Evaluate your skills.
When you are absolutely certain that entrepreneurship is for you, you’ll still want to hold for just a moment and evaluate your current skills. There are some areas that you may not want to handle on your own but that can’t go neglected. Accounting, customer service, and packing and shipping might not be your strongest points. In this instance, it makes sense to outsource these needs or, if demand is there, hire an employee in areas where you need help.
You can find help through your network or utilize other resources, such as job boards online or freelance talent agencies.
Create a marketing plan.
When you are ready to ramp up your efforts, write a marketing plan. An effective marketing plan first identifies your target customers. Keep in mind that each demographic may be reachable in different places. If you are targeting seniors, for example, it might be best to personalize their experience and meet them in different platforms, such as in print or online. This does not mean that you can’t advertise via affordable routes, such as social media, but you’ll need to pay close attention to where your customers are. Using seniors as an example again, keep in mind that more than 40% of Facebook users are over the age of 65.
Getting your first customers is more than just advertising. Your marketing strategy should also outline pricing as well as identify potential competition. One of the greatest benefits of performing a competitor analysis is that you will have an opportunity to identify needs within your shared market that are not being met. Once you know this, you can further refine your plan to include ways you can fill these gaps.
Even if you’ve acquired business funding and have begun to turn a steady income, you’ll want to run a tight ship. Growing your company does not mean throwing money at every area that has the potential for growth. You will need to make hard decisions on where to channel your profits, whether this means investing back into your business or saving for a rainy day.
Don’t overspend, especially on things like inventory and raw materials. While you want to have a cushion that will allow you to fill forecasted orders, moving far beyond the near future can put your business in financial dire straits. Funding Circle suggests calculating your inventory turnover rate and evaluating your lead time based on supplier estimates to determine how much stock you should keep on hand.
When you are ready to run your own business, patience, determination, and persistence are the keys. Start small, and remember that stress is almost definitely on the menu. You do not have to jump headfirst into entrepreneurship to be successful. The above tips can help you identify your target market and improve your operation so that you can grow when you are ready.
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