‘Being your own boss’ is an ultimate career goal for many. As amazing as it sounds, it’s certainly no cake walk! The word most synonymous with ‘entrepreneurs’ is ‘millennials’ as the millennials are the most entrepreneurial generation. The editor of MiLLENNiAL Magazine, Britt Hysen, claims that 60 percent of millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs and 90 percent recognize entrepreneurship as a mentality.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the number of people under 30 who own a business has fallen by 65 percent since the 1980s and is now at a quarter-century low! In fact, the average age for a successful startup founder is about 40 years old, according to the Kauffman Foundation, a think tank focused on education and entrepreneurship.
So, Who Can Become an Entrepreneur?
While there are a lot of statistics on entrepreneurs, the simple answer to the question of who can be an entrepreneur is - anyone! Examples of entrepreneurs are everywhere. Name a famous company, and there is an entrepreneur behind it. But remember, anyone can become an entrepreneur, but not everyone will have the same amount of success. According to Fortune Magazine, a staggering nine out of ten startups will eventually fail.While this number is very discouraging, keep in mind that authentic passion, earnestness, zeal, and eagerness to learn coupled with a great idea can turn the table for many!
So, here’s a line up of steps to note before you set foot down the entrepreneurial path:
1. Do Your Research
There is no doubt that the term ‘entrepreneur’ has become a buzz world. However, one should know that being an entrepreneur isn’t about the glitz and glamour at all. If you think being your own boss means a lighter workload, then you are completely wrong. Entrepreneurs have to be open to take many risks and be bold enough to face failures. Long nights, working weekends and many sleepless nights will happen. So, one needs to think through and analyze their own personality, strengths and weaknesses to understand if they are ready to commit to this big sacrifice and then only make the next move.
2. Find Your Niche
This is a crucial step as you can’t just follow the herd and pick an idea that is trending. Your business idea has to be something that you are truly passionate about. One of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time Elon Musk said, “For me it was never about money, but solving problems for the future of humanity”. Now, while this doesn’t mean your ideas have to be only altruistic in nature, they have to be something close to you, something that means a lot to you. A concept that can keep you up at night working. Some significant factors to keep in mind are:
Research your idea to check out the competition - who is already working in this space and what have they done
If no one has succeeded with this idea find out why
Understand the commercial viability - is your idea a need that people will be willing to pay for
Learn more: Entrepreneurship Guide: From Idea to Business
3. Work the Network
Now with the Networking is an extremely valuable way to grow and gain knowledge from the success of others while obtaining leads and promoting your business. Leads from networking are often much more helpful than many forms of marketing. However, one shouldn’t go to a networking event to get instant answers or solutions to one’s problems. Instead, one should be ready to also offer ideas and solutions to others problems. When one adds value and extends aid to others, it is likely to be reciprocated. The networking arena can range from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to summits, conferences and other events.
4. Test and Trial to Success!
Testing your business idea is key to see if it is a viable business model. Blindly assuming that an idea will be a big hit puts one's time, money and resources invested at stake. While one might have a pedagogical understanding of the target audience, one will only be able to understand consumer behaviour at primary level with the trial method. So, it's crucial to create a business plan based on market testing and research. The way to begin can be by building a prototype or test service which is a minimum viable product, running it by a group of critics and then tweaking it to suit your test market. As an entrepreneur, one must have an experimentation mindset which enables one to try different ideas despite failing initially.
5. Set Up Your Business
It is not an easy decision to find the right location for your startup. You should be able to connect with the right people, hire skilled employees, and get the right type of aid from the government, community, and other sources in order to grow. Don’t forget the basics - registering your company, getting a tax ID number, opening a business bank account and getting your accounting set up. Once it’s done, focus on customer acquisition and identify different acquisition channels to work on optimization to lower your costs. Remember, you are likely to be your first and only investor. So, meticulously plan how much you can spend and on what. Last but not least, when one jumps into the market being optimistic, one also needs to be realistic, so be prepared for the worst.
While these steps give aspiring entrepreneurs a first glimpse of the roadmap of the entrepreneurial journey, there will be myriads of things one will learn on their own as they start their business. In today’s knowledge economy, continual learning is an imperative, not an option. The goal should be to be a learner for life and have the desire to create and be part of something bigger than oneself while being humble despite the magnitude of success. Here’s wishing you the best!
As we part, we’d like to share a quote from Saras Ramamoorthy, co-founder of Learning Matters.