This guide is an introduction to mastering the art of “How to be an entrepreneur.” It provides easy to follow steps to have that energy grow in you. What you will find in our Beginner’s Guide is a blueprint that takes you from learning the basics of business to becoming a knowledgeable guy. This guide has been designed to help you achieve those goals in an easy to read, step by step way.
Once you have mastered each chapter in our “How To Be An Entrepreneur” guide, you will be well on your way to be an entrepreneur while should you need any help in starting a business, we will be happy to assist you for free.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEUR
Chapter 1: Introduction
The idea of being an entrepreneur, of you being responsible for your own wealth creation is a seductive one. You see examples of this every day. Truth be told, being an entrepreneur is eminently doable.
If you are of an entrepreneurial bent of mind, it is pretty safe to assume that you have a mind full of ideas. Some of these could work and some are clearly there just to take up valuable mental RAM.
For our purpose, we will assume that your idea is workable, which is a beginning. The challenge now is to put it to work and make a success of it.
The chapters here will provide you an organic, holistic blueprint to succeed as an entrepreneur. You will be able to make your own adjustments and improvements based on this blueprint. Whatever the result, let it never be said that you didn’t become an entrepreneur because you didn’t know how.
Chapter 2: Working on your Idea
You idea is your creation. But if you want it to be productive, you need to be clear about what it does. Else:
- What problem or gap does your idea resolve?
- Is there a clear path from your idea to an end product or service?
- What are the features and benefits of this product or service?
- Does your idea provide a new and unique solution or is it a qualitatively different solution compared to others in its domain?
Someone once said “If you can’t describe what you do in one sentence, then it is probably illegal or cheating.” While that sentiment is harsh, there is a valuable insight in there – for your idea to gain acceptance, it needs to be understood by others. The easier that is, the better chance you have for success.
Therefore, have two versions of your idea – one that can be presented to professionals and technocrats who are comfortable with the jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations associated with your idea. Keep the second one for those who might need explanations in conceptual rather than technical terms.
Chapter 3: Identifying the Right Enterprise
Not all entrepreneurs start from their own ideas. There are great ideas out there for you to take up and succeed. Look to identify a business that suits your personality, strengths, and weaknesses.
Here are a few ways you could go:
- Stick to Your Comfort Zone: Do what you do well up to this point. For instance, if you are in a particular service industry, is there a way you can provide a similar service that makes it stand out among the competition?
- Learn and Do: This is an option if you want to try something totally different. In this route, you need to study and make yourself completely competent in the new field before you set up shop.
- Identify and Plug Gaps: This is perhaps the riskiest of the entrepreneurial leaps. You look very, very closely at an existing business, find a gap in the market that’s not being served, and set yourself up to plug that gap.
If you are open to ideas and look at them earnestly and without bias, you will be surprised by the options you have; especially those that you would never ever have considered.
Chapter 4: Other Sets of Eyes
Your idea will always sound good to you; it’s your baby after all. Thinking about it continuously will create an echo chamber in your mind that will be hard to get out of. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to run your idea past a few trusted friends or relatives to get their feel about it.
If you have a family, it is important that they are solidly behind you when you start on entrepreneurship. They might not be convinced at the outset. Sit with them and clarify their concerns. Your near and dear ones are your first filter: if you can clarify their queries and address their concerns, you are getting invaluable support AND practice in explaining your ideas clearly.
The advantage of having different sets of eyes is that they will give you new and unbiased perspectives different from your own. These will only help to refine the idea and make it better.
Chapter 5: Feasibility Study
Your idea for business might have merit, but does it have the legs to form a viable business? A feasibility study on your idea will ask necessary questions like:
- Has this been done before? If so, why did it not succeed? Are you prepared so that you won’t make the same mistakes as those previous attempts?
- Is the idea unique or is it a fresh reading on an existing idea? If it’s the latter, is your version different enough so that the market can identify the difference?
- Who are your competitors? Competition isn’t a bad thing – it means that your idea has a market i.e. the potential to succeed. But if you find that the market is already overcrowded with dominant brands, you have set yourself a hard task right at the start.
Do a SWOT analysis of your idea. It allows you to define all aspects of your idea which, in turn, gives you an estimate of how successful your idea could be at the marketplace.
Perform a risk evaluation for your business idea. Some businesses, like restaurants and grocery stores carry more inherent risk than others. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enter these kinds of businesses. A risk evaluation will identify potential pitfalls and you can create safeguards against them.
Chapter 6: Creating a Business Plan
In this stage your idea moves on to nuts-and-bolts enterprise, with every aspect of the enterprise carefully considered accounted and budgeted for. Your investors and business partners are in this because they trust your idea to work for them. Your business plan will show them how well your idea can convert into a workable, sustainable business.
Here are a few questions that you must answer through your business plan:
- Does the executive summary of the plan clearly state the nature of business, its funding, the management, and a plan to break even and make profits?
- What’s the nature of the business entity – proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc.? What’s the reason (s) behind the choice?
- What’s the target audience and how will you make your product accessible to them?
- What are the key features of your product and how will you familiarize it to the target audience?
- What is the sales potential at the beginning of the enterprise and how does it change in the middle and long-term future?
- Can the market be expanded? If so, what are the plans in that direction?
- What is the competition? Who are the successes and failures? What are the reasons for their success or failure?
Your business plan will also include a detailed development process that specifies how your product moves from inception to end product. Define the process step-by-step, along with resources required at each step – people, machinery, packaging, shipping, etc.
Chapter 7: The Finance Aspect
Your business enterprise will need money to run. Whatever your business is, be sure that there is a viable financial plan underpinning it to make it run efficiently. This plan begins with funding to start off and then to keep the business running smoothly according to your business plan.
Always be specific in spending money in your business. Every penny you spend at the business must be backed by a specific, objective reason and tracked using any basic accounting spreadsheets available. Hire a trusted professional to look at how your money is being spent and give advice on spending.
Entrepreneurship will overlap between your personal and business life. Ensure that you do not spend money intended for your personal life (home, family, household expenses, etc.) in your business.
Your family members are stakeholders in your enterprise too. They might need to tighten their belts when your start your business. In such cases, sit down with the family and draw a plan on how to do so.
When you are responsible for your own business, any financial need will seem like a life-and-death issue. Do not borrow indiscriminately, for instance, on personal credit cards – they are punishingly expensive and can put you in a debt trap.
Chapter 8: Legal and Regulatory Aspects
There are many legal and regulatory aspects involved in creating and running a business. Hire a legal advisor and an accountant. The nitty-gritty of setting up a business will include rules and regulations for your business, zoning laws, city and county permits, taxes, fees, and so on… An experienced legal advisor will help you move through these and with obtaining the various permits and licenses you will need to do business.
The accountant helps with keeping the finances in order. Even if you think you can handle this aspect, the professional will keep track of financials on a day-to-day basis. Plus, the accountant is invaluable when it comes to tax laws and the various business taxes that can get complicated in a hurry.
Chapter 9: Marketing
Lessons 1 to 8 talked about setting up your entrepreneurial dream. From this lesson on, the focus will be on how to actually run your business.
Nothing is more important in this regard than marketing your product or services so that:
- You are visible in the marketplace
- Your market segment knows clearly who you are and what you offer
- You have created enough of a space for your product to succeed in the marketplace
There are innumerable strategies and experts in this field who will filter and deconstruct and refine a marketing strategy for you so that you have the best chance to make it big. The online market and social media are critical components of any marketing plan. This is true even if you offer old economy product or services. Never underestimate the power of an earnest, well-thought-out social media marketing plan.
But you are the first expert of your business, always. You need to be up for any question regarding your business from anyone. Your expertise must include the industry or domain you are doing business in, the marketplace, and the market segment that you are aiming at. Be a shameless self promoter – let everyone know how invested you are in the success of your enterprise. That will give them the confidence to trust you when you talk about it.
Chapter 10: Supporting System
Resting on your laurels goes against the spirit of entrepreneurship. You must always strive to expand your knowledge and reach. Here are a few support systems that will help you:
Join local business groups and chambers of commerce in your locality or city. These gatherings comprise of like-minded people. When networking, make sure to keep a few basics in mind:
- Show genuine interest in what others are doing. During conversations, try to come up with ways in which you can help others.
- Be generous with ideas, suggestions, and help. Someone looking for help may be in the exact spot you were when you started out. Helping them will earn you gratitude and friendship.
- Networking is a continuous process. The more you networked, the better it is for your business.
Great entrepreneurs are well-read and well-informed. They read business and marketing books, industry reports and newsletters, market trends – anything that helps them stay on top. They attend business and marketing seminars, industry workshops, or training programs that will update their knowledge levels in their field or any other allied fields.
Get involved in your community. Help out at local charities, food and clothing drives, and organizing community events. You will eventually find that you have become a vital voice when there are decisions to be made for the betterment of the community.
Chapter 11: The World Is Your Oyster
When you are successful in your enterprise, your thoughts will probably turn to moving on to bigger and better things – either in your chosen line or completely new avenues.
A globalized world is helpful in this regard. You are not limited by state or national boundaries in your quest to entrepreneurship. While you must adhere to laws of the land that might be different to your own, it is no longer a pipe dream to set up a factory in China or India or indeed most parts of the world.
Details on how to set up a business in a particular country can be found at their respective embassies or consulates. Or even better, a simple search on the Internet will give you contact information – phone, e-mail, addresses, etc. The same rules apply – make sure that you have all the relevant information regarding your business at your finger tips.