How to become an entrepreneur in seven steps
Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about starting your own business. An entrepreneur sees opportunities which others don’t; uncovers and responds to needs in an industry; meets non-existent demands; or improves the performance of an existing business.
While each of these definitions undoubtedly mean a lot of hard graft, there are many of benefits to becoming an entrepreneur. People in this position are generally able to create work they love, constructed to fit with their own life goals.
So how do you become an entrepreneur? We spoke to industry moguls and self-proclaimed entrepreneurs to find out what it takes to make a success of going it alone, being your own boss and turning an industry on its head.
Have an idea
This may sound obvious, yet a lot of businesses fail to get off the ground simply because the concept of their new venture isn’t solving an issue within its industry. Always consider what makes your company unique and why would customers come to you and not your competitors.
Before rushing into something, or not correctly positioning your business, spend time thoroughly researching your competitors and the people you hope will become customers. Some entrepreneurs can be too quick to act and end up missing out on key details or relevant information about their area. You might have an amazing product, but ask yourself: is it right for your target audience?
“Whatever you do, seek out someone who’s done something similar before and ask if you can come see them to ask for their advice. Without doubt this has to be on the list,” says Oli Barrett, co-founder of national entrepreneur campaign Startup Britain, in The Startup Guide: London.
Get a lawyer and an accountant
Mark Williams, CEO and co-founder of Firefly, believes that when starting up, you’ll quickly learn you can’t do everything in your business, especially when it comes to the legal and accountancy elements.
“Hire a lawyer and an accountant as soon as possible or you’ll find yourself trapped in a mountain of paperwork,” advises Williams.
Don’t be afraid
What’s the most significant obstacle an entrepreneur faces: funding, time management or finding customers? None of these. Research has shown that it’s fear, and in particaulr, the fear of failure. Be open to new opportunities and always think ‘What can I do next?’.
“Aim as high as you possibly can and kick the biggest problem you can find, one that’s not just economically interesting and viable but something that can make a difference and impact the society you live in”, explains Saul Klein, partner at UK-based venture capital firm LocalGlobe, explains in The Startup Guide: London.
Check your ego
This may be difficult for some but it’s critical for you as an entrepreneur and your business. A strong ego can be off-putting to not only your employees (and everyone around you) but also potential investors.
Find people who share and extend your vision
No matter how much we hate to admit, there’s only so much one person can do. Invest in a team that believes in you and your goal. The more united your team is, the easier it will be to handle the daily stresses of startup life.
Check your online presence
Prioritising your digital presence is a key consideration for any entrepreneur. Product and marketing director of online marketing firm Yell Business, Mark Clisby, says something as simple as an incorrect phone number or e-mail address on a directory or social profiles can result in lost revenue.
“We found that 85% of UK businesses currently have out-of-date or incorrect details online,” explains Clisby. “That’s an extremely surprising stat when the primary place potential customers will look to find your business is online.” Customers are likely to try another company if the details listed online for a particular business are incorrect.
Be prepared for failure (and success)
Williams gives one final piece of advice for any wannabe-entrepreneur, and that is to never expect all your ideas will lead to success.
“If you ask any seasoned entrepreneur they’ll be able to tell you the pitfalls they’ve faced starting a business from scratch,” he told Alphr. “The first thing to do is not lose all hope but learn from your mistakes and move on.”