Entrepreneurs – Want To Start A Business But Not Sure What Type?
Many entrepreneurs get that itch to start a new business, either because they are fed up being “wage slaves” or they like the freedom that working for yourself can bring. Some even think that they will be richer or have more spare time. Many are not sure what kind of business they want.
First of all – never start a new business because you want more money or more time. Starting a new business takes both lots of time and most, if not all, of your money.
Secondly don’t fall into the trap of starting a business just for the sake of it. Make sure that someone wants what you are aiming to sell! Your fruit cakes, tattoos or begonias may be the best in the area but if no one wants them – then you are going to be going bust very soon.
So how do you find out what kind of things you are going to sell?
1) Look at the type of area that you want to set up your business. A majority of aged clients is not going to be keen to have tattoos but might love your cakes!
2) Look at the other businesses selling in your area. Whilst it is sometimes good to group some businesses together such as car sales – make sure there is enough people left who may buy from you. Similarly if there is a successful company that is not coping – maybe you can inherit some of their clients?
3) Look for gaps in the market. Are their complimentary businesses close by who you can join in with to share customers? Is the market just crying out for a particular product of service.
4) Most importantly go and ask people. Give talks at clubs about your subject and see what kind of reception you get. Hold a competition for the best ideas etc.
Good luck in obtaining a firm foundation for your new business.
Are you intrigued by the possibility of being your own boss and starting a business but not sure you have the right qualifications to be an entrepreneur? What are the characteristics of an entrepreneur? Although there is no single perfect entrepreneurial profile, there are many characteristics that show up repeatedly in successful business owners.
Following are the top 10 essential entrepreneurial traits that anyone who is interested in starting a business must possess:
- (1) Independence - This is the most common denominator of all entrepreneurs. They want to seize control of their future; thus they decide to become their own boss instead of laboring under the gaze of a master. (2) Persistence and Determination - The world of entrepreneurship is fraught with both success and failure. An important quality of a successful entrepreneur is the doggedness to continue pursuing a goal despite some setbacks and obstacles they may encounter on the road. This persistence and determination is fueled by a burning desire to achieve the goal of succeeding in the chosen field of business. (3) Self-Confidence - Along with independence, an entrepreneur possesses self-confidence. They believe in their capabilities and makes sure that they will put in their best effort into their particular endeavors and likewise expect the best results from it. Belief in one's capabilities is very important in achieving any goal - especially in the world of entrepreneurship. (4) Creativity - In the business world, you can not afford to be complacent and uncreative unless you want the competition to move up on ahead of you. Creative people are naturally curious, inquisitive, bright and highly flexible when thinking. They keenly observe their environment and have an eye for spotting new trends that could spark a business opportunity. (5) Organized and goal-oriented - An entrepreneur knows the value of organization in a business endeavor. A good entrepreneur has the ability to consolidate resources. (6) Visionary - An entrepreneur has a vision for his/her future. (7) Risk-taking and Tolerance for Failure - A good entrepreneur realizes that loss and failure are inherent in any business endeavor. Thus, an entrepreneur must always be ready to make calculated risks and face whatever consequences accompany those risks. As in all fields of endeavor, the characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is in never giving up and in picking up the pieces and continuing the journey even if failure momentarily obstructs the way. (8) Perseverance and Hard Work - These are perhaps two of the most important entrepreneurial traits. (9) Commitment - An entrepreneur will not achieve success if he/she gives up at the first sign of trouble. (10) Honesty and Honor - Another very important mark of a good entrepreneur is being honest and honorable in all business dealings and interpersonal relationships - whether it is between business partners, employees, peers or investors.
If you possess these traits, you may have the necessary skill set to become a successful entrepreneur.
Myths About Entrepreneurs
Financial advisors often find themselves consulting to successful entrepreneurs about how to continue to grow their assets after the business has been sold or taken over through a carefully planned succession strategy. But developing a small business (defined here as having less than $50 million in annual revenues) is not so simple.
After the initial burst of business success and survival in the first three years, many small businesses encounter struggles that can leave them feeling isolated. What can assist a 30-year old consulting firm whose personal presence and paper products face a changing world of electronic presence and high travel costs by helping them with development of electronic products? What can encourage a small playground equipment manufacturer to move from $1 million to $2 then $5 million in annual revenues by helping her with facility expansion issues? What can help a successful cookie baker beat the competition through strategic partners, cause marketing and high tech kitchen equipment?
Small Business Development Centers can.
According to the Small Business Administration these SBDC's gave face-to-face help to more than 247,000 clients last year. A treasury of business answers lies waiting and ready to assist at 1,100 top colleges and universities across the United States, according to the SBA. These centers are funded by a combination of federal, state and local government monies as well as with private sector dollars.
Here are just few examples from the State of Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater hosts a Small Business Development Center at www.uwwsbdc.com [http://www.uwwsbdc.com/] Its email is email@example.com This center is also affiliated with the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, that "takes pride in an extremely high rate of client satisfaction...nearly 75% of clients have been referred by former clients and professionals. The Wisconsin Innovation Service Center charges an "affordable fee" to provide companies with enough information for improved product and market development decisions.
A few diverse examples of this university-related treasury of successes include these:
- A local gardener gained international attention for a unique gardening tool.
- An innovative drywall finishing product offers significant benefits over competition.
- A new product helps a honey producer grow.
- A business in the electrical equipment industry finds new customer segments.
- Investors and inventors find value in a flooring company start-up.
- An environmental product company breaks past the $15 million mark with a new product.
- An ornithology hobby becomes a successful business venture.
- An outdoor equipment manufacturer finds a potential acquisition.
- Customer purchase decisions and perceptions are revealed to a manufacturer.
- An automotive aftermarket tool gains distribution outlets across the U.S.
- A "hot" tool is offered to the propane and plumbing industries.
Part of the success of these entrepreneurs and a couple of hundred thousand others is due to the one-on-one relationship of these advisors with their entrepreneurial clients. Developing business plans, wading through loan applications, securing critical market research, exploring product design options, identifying a lasting competitive edge---these are typical of the services that SBDC's can provide to the entrepreneur.
These services are nothing to be sneezed at. In another state, South Carolina, the economic impact on the state's economy in 2005 alone was $86 million, resulting in a return on investment of $121.11 for every dollar of state funding, according to Regional Director Jill Burroughs as quoted in the Greenville News. Further explaining the power of the program, Burroughs said that breaks down to $45.7 million in capital formation, 1038 jobs created, nearly $25 million in wages paid, $869,000 in additional sales taxes and $15 million in contracts awarded to 381 businesses.
SBDC's are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. If you conservatively cut the impact of South Carolina in half and multiplied by the 50 states, you would have a $2.1 BILLION impact.
This is a powerful treasury of real riches that spills over to the rest of the economy from the struggles of entrepreneurs who refused to let their dreams be defeated by the obstacles they encountered. They got help.
All Fortunes Begin With an Idea!
Entrepreneurs make up only about 15% of the working population in the US. Far fewer actually succeed than those who attempt to become self employed business people and venture out on their own. So what makes people decide to take the entrepreneurial path, when so few actually make it a reality?
Is the American dream a possibility for anyone, or, does it take more than most to become a successful entrepreneur?
The success of an entrepreneur does depend on their mindset. A large percentage of business owners will quit in their first five years in business. What is needed is the fortitude and belief that goes with attaining success.
Entrepreneurs are risk takers and dreamers. The difference between the dreamer and the entrepreneur though, is that the entrepreneur takes actions based on their dreams. They persist through the hardships and never give up! Many entrepreneurs start with an idea. Their success is determined by their belief that they can create something greater than simple monetary success. Often, it is about creating something which will benefit the world.
James Dyson, for example, came up with the idea of the bagless vacuum cleaner. Despite multiple set backs, over 5000 prototypes and not being able to get any manufacturers or distributors to accept his idea, he persevered. It was over a decade after his initial idea when his concept came to fruition. Even then, it was after a lot of difficulties and hardship due to the vacuum replacement bag industry, which was worth £100 million in the UK.
In Simon Sinek's book 'Start With Why', he suggests that the biggest companies in the world are so because of their "why?" - their reasons for building a business in the first place. In all cases, it wasn't just to make money, or make technology better, or some whimsical ideology.
The Wright Brothers, for example, became known as the pioneers of the first manned flight. But their competition was much better funded and well connected - Samuel Pierpont Langley had worked at Harvard, had a number of powerful connections, including Andrew Carnegie and Alexander Graham Bell. The War Department funded his project with a $50k grant, a seemingly massive advantage to the unconnected Wright Brothers who had no money or influence. However, their passion and devotion to change the world with this new technology drove them to attain the first flight in history in 1903.
Desire for material things and monetary wealth can only carry someone so far. Unless you have a goal or passion which is bigger than that, you may lose the momentum and fail to maintain your enthusiasm for any length of time.
The entrepreneurial mindset is one which taps into your purpose. Without a purpose driven goal or aim, it can't take long before disillusionment kicks in. With a mindset which takes into account a larger purpose, entrepreneurs can build huge businesses because they 'saw' a vision of what they wanted to create. If the purpose is greater than the obstacles which lie in the path of attaining it, no amount of setbacks will stop you from achieving your goal.
On the other hand, if you set out to do something and something gets in the way and stops you, your initial reason, (your "why?"), may not have been strong enough to endure all the battles along the way.
Entrepreneurial mind frame (or mindset) therefore, must be aligned with both your vision, your values and your purpose. If your values are not in alignment with your purpose and vision, you'll come up against road blocks which will stop you from achieving your goal.
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