Have you ever wondered what it would be like to start your own business and be your own boss? We’re sure you have a stockpile of business ideas that you’ve been itching to try out. It could be a tasty food truck, a landscaping business, or a digital marketing firm — whatever it is, there’s a little Richard Branson in all of us, yearning to be the next billionaire.
But where do you start and what does it take to become an entrepreneur? In this article, we’ll go over the steps you can take to become a successful entrepreneur. And we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know to get your first small business off the ground.
Is Entrepreneurship Right for You
Before embarking on the wild and crazy journey of being an entrepreneur, it’s important to understand if it’s the right life for you. Some people were born with entrepreneurship in their DNA while some may be better suited to working for others instead.
There are plenty of upsides to starting your own business. One of the main reasons people gravitate toward entrepreneurship is the fact that you can be your own boss and set your own schedule. There’s something exhilarating knowing that your future success is largely in your own hands.
Entrepreneurship doesn’t come easy though. It comes with a tremendous amount of hard work. There are many risks and uncertainties that you’ll face on a daily basis. Stability will be hard to come by, especially in the early days of launching your business. You’ll need to stay on your toes, and be adaptable and ambitious to stay the course and successfully grow your business.
Do you think you have what it takes?
How to Become an Entrepreneur
If starting your own business sounds like the perfect fit, then let’s take a look at 10 things you should do to become an entrepreneur.
1. Educate Yourself
Before taking the leap into entrepreneurship, you should seek out any relevant education that will help increase your chances of success. It’s not a bad idea to have some business education under your belt to help you grow and maintain your business. Areas like finance, accounting, marketing, and business management will all give you the foundation you need to get your business off the ground. You can start by looking over common business terms. There are also online courses and degrees you can look into at sites like Coursera and Udemy.
2. Create a Business Plan
A sound business plan is like the blueprint for your business. This will help lay the framework and guide your efforts as you build your business from the ground up. Business plans include a high-level executive summary describing what your business will do. They also lay out extensive market research, financial planning and budgeting, operational and managerial organization, the products and services you’ll be selling, and your marketing and sales tactics. Not only will you need a business plan to organize your business, you’ll also need it when seeking out funding or additional partners.
3. Fill Out the Proper Paperwork
Filling out the proper paperwork is necessary to operate a legal business. For starters, you’ll need to fill out your articles of incorporation which will establish your company as a legal business entity in your state.
The articles of incorporation will provide basic information about your company, like the business name, address, board of directors, stock ownership allocation, and the purpose of your company. It will also determine what type of business you’ll be running — a limited liability company, S-corporation, C-corporation, or non-profit. If you’re just starting off on your own, you can create a sole-proprietorship LLC.
4. Find a Partner
Having a partner is completely optional when launching your business. You may want to ride solo and figure everything out on your own — and that’s OK. But on the other hand, a partner who shares the same vision and drive to build your business can provide both financial and emotional support.
A partner who has a complementary skillset to your own can bring plenty to the table. With one more person on your team, you can divvy up responsibilities and get more done than with only one person. Your partner can also help keep you accountable and push you to hit your business’s goals.
5. Do Market Research
Doing as much research as possible will put you in the best position to succeed. You should have a solid understanding of what the competitive landscape looks like. You should also be able to gauge how much demand there is for your product or service, what competitors are charging, and who your consumer is. You should be able to paint a crystal clear picture of exactly who your target market is and how you can effectively sell to them.
6. Find Sources of Financing
Securing financing will be crucial to getting your business off the ground. One way is to finance your company on your own. If you’re sitting on some savings, then that’s a great place to start. Keep your day job until you’re comfortable enough to go off on your own.
If you don’t have all of the funds you need, then you can start moonlighting or making money on the side to start saving.
Another technique is to seek financing from third-parties. This could be in the form of investors or partners, or you can always seek out business grants.
7. Market Your Business
Once you launch your business, you’ll need to get your name out there and find new customers. New customers will be the lifeblood of your organization and will drive growth for your company. You should always be on the lookout for new growth opportunities to tap into. Once you find a source of new prospects, you can experiment and figure out the best tactics to turn them into paying customers. Check out our guide to growth hacking to get an in-depth look at how you can grow your business.
8. Network With Other Professionals
Networking with other entrepreneurs and professionals will open doors to opportunities you may not have even considered. Networking will help get your brand out there and will put you in contact with people who can potentially help your business.
This could be with other entrepreneurs you can learn from or even people you can collaborate with in the future. Who knows, you could even find some future employees as you level up and grow your business. In-person meetups and social media sites like LinkedIn are a great place to rub elbows with other professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs.
9. Operate With Goals in Mind
Operating with goals in mind will be critical to driving your business forward. If you don’t have any goals set, then you’ll be operating with no finish line in sight. Goals give you something to shoot for and help you gauge your success.
You can set specific financial goals like improving your customer acquisition channels by 20% over the next year, or looser goals, like finishing your company’s website by the end of the year. Whatever your goals are, remember them, write them down, and continue to set more goals once you’ve succeeded.
10. Grow Your Team
As you begin to realize success, you can start thinking about growing your team. The most successful founders know that you should offload responsibilities as soon as possible so you can focus on higher-level initiatives, like finding new opportunities to grow your company.
Once you’ve figured out 70%-80% of something, you should find someone else who is smarter and more specialized in that area to take your business to the next level. Figuring out most of the responsibilities of your business before handing them off will help you save money at the beginning while you’re bootstrapping your business. It will also give you a thorough understanding of how all aspects of your business work.
For example, if you run Facebook ads to find new customers, you can figure out the basic ways to succeed with this acquisition channel. After you’ve gotten the hang of it, find someone else who is an expert in Facebook ads and let them take you to the finish line.
When you start bringing on more employees, you’ll need to decide how your company will be set up and how you’ll collaborate with your team. This could be in an office environment or a remote team. Whichever you choose, you should think about ways to create a healthy company culture so that employees will love working for you.
Become a Successful Business Owner
Starting a new business will take grit, determination, and months of hard work. Success won’t come easy, but where would be the fun in that?
Nothing will taste sweeter than the moment you realize you’ve successfully launched your own business. Use this guide to take the first steps toward getting your business off the ground. Come up with an idea, write a sound business plan, and start marketing your company today. We wish you the best of luck!