An entrepreneur is “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” Of course, this is a very basic description, but it does at least suggest that being an entrepreneur is less about the market you’re in than the person you are, because an entrepreneur is, first and foremost, “a person.”
You can learn many business skills you need to run a startup from institutions like EU Business School, but some of the most important qualities you need to succeed as an entrepreneur cannot be taught. These are:
Does that sound like you? Have you got a notebook in your desk—maybe more than one—full of concepts for stand-out new businesses? Then keep reading our simple five-step guide to find out how to become an entrepreneur.
1. Choose an idea
Creative people are often buzzing with ideas, so it might be difficult to pick just one out of the many ideas for businesses you have come up with. When you are starting out, though, you will find it helps to have a narrower focus. So, if you do have plans for more than one business, decide which one is the most viable and which you’re most passionate about, and start from there. Launching your own business involves long hours and doing a lot of the work yourself, so you’ve really got to believe in what you are doing. Then other people will start to believe in it too.
The key to creating a successful startup is to find a solution to an overlooked problem in an already booming market. Make sure you research your competitors—is anyone else doing this? Why not? Have other companies already tried and failed? Why did they fail? If you have come up with a workaround, you’ve already found your Unique Selling Point (USP).
2. Make a business plan
Once you have settled on an idea, it’s time to work out how to turn it from a concept into reality. Good business plans go into a lot of detail about every stage of setting up a business, including industry research, marketing plans, personnel requirements, budgets and forecasts, and more.
The purpose of creating such a comprehensive plan is two-fold. Firstly, having all of this information in one place will allow you to identify your objectives and determine how you will achieve them. Secondly, if you are going to apply for funding or look for a business partner, your business plan will demonstrate your goals and expected outcomes, allowing the connections you approach to decide whether or not they want to invest in you.
3. Build your network
Sometimes, business is as much about who you know as what you know. Given that other people in your industry will have more/different experience and a diverse range of skills, you stand to gain a lot from networking. Connect with investors and consultants and find yourself a mentor: someone who knows the market inside out and is willing to take you under their wing. The better you understand the market, the more likely you are to succeed in it.
Reach out to people online using platforms like LinkedIn, and attend as many in-person events, like speaker series, seminars, and expos, as possible in order to connect with and learn from other entrepreneurs and professionals in your field.
4. Launch your business
Some companies do this in two stages – a “soft launch,” during which you can gather and review consumer feedback and make the recommended changes to your operations/service, followed by your “rocket launch,” when your business truly takes off for the first time.
The value of the “soft launch” or trial period is clear. This is the first time on your entrepreneurial journey when you will be interacting with potential customers/clients and vice versa, meaning they can supply you with honest reviews and help you build your brand.
5. Take risks
Remember how we said entrepreneurs are “daring”? Building your own company is a risky business—literally. But isn’t the saying, “There’s no reward in life without risk”? Just make sure you fully understand the chances you’re taking and have a backup plan just in case things don’t work out the way you’d hoped.
The kinds of risks you face as an entrepreneur include financial risks (putting your own money into the company), product risks (what are you selling?), market risks (is there a gap in the market for that product?), competitor risks (how different is your product from your competitors’?). You may also choose to take risks when hiring talent. Maybe they’ve got no experience, but the right attitude, and you’re willing to take a chance on them.
Ultimately, taking such (calculated) chances is the only way to grow a successful business.
Of course, this isn’t a definitive guide on how to succeed as a startup owner, so if you are interested in finding out more about becoming an entrepreneur, why not check out some of the degree courses offered by EU Business School? The BA (Hons) in Business Management (Enterprise) can be studied at our Barcelona or our Munich campus, but if you want to pick up other skills that are vital to running your own business, we also offer bachelor’s programs in the following disciplines:
- Bachelor of Science in Business Finance
- BA (Hons) in Business Management (Finance)
- BA (Hons) in Business Management (Marketing)
With sites in some of the biggest business hubs in Europe, EU Business School allows you to learn from academics and professionals from all over the world and create connections that will help you build your career—even as you are learning.