Identify a burning problem that people need a solution for. Solving that need and doing so profitably is how to become an entrepreneur. Research online or ask people you know what problems have they been experiencing along the way of life.
You can select a desire, something people want or wish they had or you can be more concrete and focus on a need.
Then design a solution and test it with your target customer. You could choose to develop a business plan at this point but I believe you should review your test results first. If they confirm your assumptions that your product actually solves a real need and people are willing to pay for it, then you have more grounds to start a business.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur is about how you develop as a tester and how you react when things don’t go as planned.
Your target customer is the main one you are creating this solution for. Your target customer is a profile of the attributes shared by most of your customers which includes things like demographics, psychographics, interests, and challenges that your target customer(s) deal with in their lives. Here’s a great resource for that.
“I think if I offer these services then people will want to buy them.”
Can you validate your assumptions with revenue — people paying for your solution?
“I think if I offer these services then people will want to buy them and I can use that income to further develop the business and possibly pay myself a salary.”
Can you validate your business model with PROFIT— income that is remaining after paying for all costs related to running the business?
Entrepreneurship is a bond between thinking and DOING. The one thing entrepreneurs are missing is not necessarily ideas, but performing the necessary actions on a daily basis to be successful.
We (the folks with some shade in our skin) have made some remarkable progress in business and investing so I know that it’s possible for my brothers and sisters but I have to be honest in saying the system was not designed for us to be successful. Is that a hindering perspective? Is that really truthful? I think so. Is knowing this going to stop me?
I’m not gonna lie… sometimes it does stop me for a bit. Thinking about how the system is rigged against me and there are seemingly more ways for me to lose than win is motivating sometimes and demoralizing at other times.
Business is a gift.
Entrepreneurship is a set of skills that can set you free if you are willing to sharpen those skills and work them to your best mental and physical abilities.
Start with the need. What do people desperately need in their lives to achieve their goals?
Create a solution to help them “fill the gap” between where they are and where they want to be.
Marketing and Sales
Marketing is everything involving bringing your solution to the market so that people can become aware and interested in your solution. Sales are about converting that interest into revenue for your company.
Becoming an entrepreneur is a great opportunity to develop your sales skills. Sales are all about timing and the right fit.
Project management is needed to ensure you are working on the right tasks (at the right time) and doing things in an organized and productive manner. Aspiring entrepreneurs should learn about project management as a core discipline that will help you focus your time and resources on the building blocks of your successful enterprise.
Project management (with the addition of copious note-taking) will help you create a plan and execute your list of ideas and to-dos so that things GET DONE.
These are process flow diagrams that show each project that needs to get done in a sequential manner to the destination which is your successful company.
Know that the destination is not an end but merely a new beginning for your enterprise. Businesses constantly evolve or die.
Product development is the set of skills and discipline to evaluate what is needed in the market and to create it from an idea to a working product or service. A great framework for doing so is to start with the problem you want to solve. Starting a business is more than just a hunch, you want to get the data before you spend a lot of time on money on developing a product.
Build, Measure, Learn loop from The Lean Startup.
These are created using a program like Microsoft Excel or Google sheets. As an entrepreneur (who is also an employee of your company), you need to identify what needs to be done daily from a production perspective and perform the necessary daily actions. Becoming an entrepreneur is about using your resources wisely, especially your time and money.
When we have an active manager (in a job) this works well. When you are your own boss, it’s easy to skip out on work if you are not disciplined. Production is what you need to hit your income goals and beyond. Producers get paid the big bucks.
Track your production every day and become more productive. You will put the odds of hitting your goals in your favor because you are performing the activity AND TRACKING IT. Not to mention reviewing those numbers on a regular basis and thinking of ways to improve them.
BAM — Brand, Audience, Monetization
This is an acronym that has stuck with me for some time which I learned from a friend named Ozeal. It’s a great concept to keep in mind. There are many ways to earn in our economy so you don’t always need a brand or an audience. It just depends on what you are trying to create in your life. Becoming an entrepreneur is about developing a brand that can coexist without you eventually.
Build a brand that stands for something. Build a brand that is unique and provides something special to the world in a way that is not currently being offered. It’s kind of difficult to do this at first but the more you produce, the more you will “come into your own.”
It may be best to start with Audience
The brand should be created to serve the customers.
Start with the need and then discover the people that have this need. Then create a brand centered around helping them out. Build your brand strong enough and your audience large enough and you can turn their interests and supports into income for your enterprise. That is the gist of the BAM acronym. It works, that is what I can say from experience. Many entrepreneurs skip over the target audience bit.
Networking and friends
If you have friends you are more likely to be successful in business. Friends mean more options and resources. Without a network or the skills or the activity daily to build your network, you will not have a sufficient number of connections to make offers and secure new business. You can build your network in person and/or online.
Networking is a long term play. Eventually, you will meet people who you may be able to team up with. The best tips I have are treat people amazing, support them, and be kind.
Entrepreneurs expand and nurture their network on a daily basis. You can read more about how to deal with people positively in this blog post.
CAPITAL is oxygen
Level up your personal finance. Consume all the relevant and helpful free content you can on managing your money better.
Level up your understanding of credit and how money works in your domestic economy as well as the global economy.
Financial education comes first from learning and second from doing and exposing yourself to calculated risk.
Capital (money) is not the only important resource in business but it ranks close to the Oxygen we need as human beings. Becoming an entrepreneur is being better with personal and business finances.
Become more responsible by practicing and taking a calculated risk. Once you understand money it will be easier to secure the funding to build your business.
The injection of capital can literally revive some businesses with some new ideas and new management changes too. The one thing that can grow a business to reach your desired level of prosperity and more is the injection of capital. Without capital, a business can only go on for so long.
These are SOME of the ideas I want to share with you. I appreciate your time and energy. Please let me know what you think with a Response!
Books to read
- 100k Offers by Alex Hormozi
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- E-myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
- How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger
- Go for No by Richard Fenton
- The One Thing by Gary Keller
- 7 Levels of Communication by Michael Maher
- Zero to One by Peter Thiel (actually haven’t read it yet but the summary slaps)
- The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients by David A. Fields
- Scale by Jeff Hoffman and David Finkel
- Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim
- PMBOK Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge)
- Getting Things Done by David Allen (haven’t read but I do practice the flow. I need to get back in the cycle but I have it implemented in various parts of my life.)
Think about your business model. Is it a digital business? Is it a physical business?
Small business owners should learn and improve their marketing skills so they can easily promote their business. Business owners should advertise their products or services regularly to reach potential customers. This keeps customers informed about new products and services and encourages them to purchase what’s being offered.
Maximize brand building on social media
Companies use social media marketing such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tik Tok, and YouTube to reach as many people as possible with advertisements. These platforms make it easy for small businesses to advertise their services to potential customers using the latest technology.
Small business owners must be competitive in their pricing
But being competitive is likely a death wish.
You should focus more on being disruptive with something like your USP or learning about irresistible offers.
Being unique in your approach so customers have not interacted quite with a product or service like yours before
These types of businesses can set their own pricing and it may be at a premium
How to gain new customers.
Most consumers have short-term memory when buying things; they don’t have time or money to buy something if they don’t need it immediately. Price your goods or services competitively so you can make money from every sale you make.
You can adjust your prices based on the value
you offer and possibly also current market prices and customer demand at the time of purchase. Prices may seem rigid at first, but once you gain loyal customers your prices will be more stable and profitable for your business.
Small business owners must know how to work with suppliers so they can improve their products or services and make their businesses more competitive.
Money is in the follow-up
Working with suppliers makes sense since both companies win from a mutually beneficial relationship that increases both parties’ profits. Suppliers can provide cheaper materials since they know that the supplier will sell the goods due to good customer relations with the supplier owner/manager/employee relationships with business owner/manager/employee.
Study how you follow up and what are the results. Most people just fall off because life happens or they forget.
Anyone can start a successful small business if they put time into learning how to run it effectively above all else!
Entrepreneurs who succeed know their numbers
Join professional groups and show up.
Or join online groups and create a plan to deliver content and engage every day to grow your value and trust within a community. For me this has been twitter which I selected because of the ease of creating content and engaging with others after my experience with Instagram, YouTube, and medium.
Know where there time and money is going
Applying knowledge into practice is key when starting any type of business— including a small one— so plan wisely! The big part is applying here. There’s that balance of learning and applying because a book or course can only do so much for you until you jump in.
Build Your Skill Set and Knowledge Base
No matter what, you want to start and stay curious. There’s a lot out there to learn, more than you’ll ever have time to master and any entrepreneur needs to be adaptable and open to new information. That can seem daunting, but there are a few things you can do to simplify the process of continual learning.
- Get comfortable with research – subscribe to trade publications to see what’s trending within an industry. Research the market you’re interested in exploring. Get out and meet people who are doing the things you want to do; not only can they provide good advice, they’ll become an invaluable part of your network.
- Focus your attention on what matters – while some serial entrepreneurs have a reputation of being jacks-of-all-trades as they jump around from industry to industry, you can likely find more success by focusing on an area of interest and specialization. Pursue a degree or program that teaches entrepreneurial skills and knowledge specific to the industry that you want to get into.
Build Your Network
No one ever succeeded alone. Every successful entrepreneur has benefited from their own network of mentors, partners, employees and investors. Once you’ve found a mentor or advisor who can assist you, it’s important to reach out and find other systems of support.
- Going at it alone is tough. Partner with a cofounder or small team that will offer complementary skills to your own. Being part of a larger whole provides additional skills and expertise.
- Tell friends and family about your venture. Not only are they the surest way to secure additional support, but some might also be sources of possible “seed” funds or low/no interest loans.
- Get professional help! Research and vet professionals like financial advisors and lawyers that you feel comfortable trusting and relying on – you’re going to need them.
Claim Your Niche
Consider what type of product or service you’re able to offer and – more importantly – what’s going to set you apart from everyone else.
- Start exploring solutions for every-day problems or frustrations experienced by friends and family and your target markets.
- Determine if you’re going to meet an underserved demand or improve on an existing service. The former is a way to claim a space within a market and differentiate yourself from competitors. The latter is more disruptive, where you can position your business as a new way of doing things.
- You’ll want to do your research on the categories and fields you’re thinking of entering and start asking questions about how a new product/service can exist within that space. If you’re unsure of how to do the legwork, or need to dedicate time to other aspects of your startup, consider hiring a marketing researcher for assistance.
Find and Understand a Market
The best product isn’t going to succeed if there isn’t a market interested in buying it. Starting broad may seem like a good idea, after all that’s the highest possible number of buyers, but trying to sell to everyone means that you’re really selling to no one. To get a better idea of what your market is going to be, you’ll need to develop an understanding of what people are looking for.
- Who are the people most likely to buy from you or would be most interested in your service?
- Develop profiles of your potential buyers – what jobs do they have? What lifestyles do they lead? What needs do they have? What pain points do they experience?
- Narrow your list down to the best opportunities and select the one that you want to start with first.
- Set up interviews or surveys with people who fit that profile to continue refining that initial understanding. Which pain points are most urgent for them? Would they prioritize convenience over price? What benefits of your product/service might excite them the most?
Design Your Business and Idea
Once you’ve settled on what you want to do, then you need to outline your business structure and develop your product to show that it’s viable. Sometimes you may want to work with a co founder. Whatever you can do to grow your business is what you will focus on in this stage.
Start laying out exactly how your business will be moving forward. You’ll want to create a business model, aka a business plan, that details how your business will become organized, a prospective budget for the future, details on how your business will make money.
If you’re looking for models to follow, just Google “business model template” and look at Images.
Successful entrepreneurs have working business models. They planned their model, did some testing, and came back to the lab before they decided to officially start a business.
Plan out the sales process that you’ll use to acquire new customers. Start with how they will find you and step by step create the flow from cold to warm.
What’s your marketing strategy – are you using certain social media accounts?
Are you attempting a viral marketing campaign?
What sales materials will you need?
These are some questions you want to answer.
Most importantly, what’s the process by which you’ll convert those who express interest into actual sales?
- Build out a proof of concept, or what’s also known as a minimum viable product (MVP). The MVP, whether it’s software, a service or a physical product, should become capable of executing the basic and most important functions of your idea. And be good enough to get feedback for you to imorove and render a newer and better edition in the next cycle.
You have a plan and you have a product, now it’s time to secure the funding that you’ll actually need to start up your business and get it running. Depending on your product and market, you have several options available.
- You can worl to secure initial funding or loans from friends and family. Trust levels are high and you might even be able to receive the funds without having to pay interest or offer too much of a share in your company.
- There is also the opportunity to secure small business grants and loans. These investments differ from VCs and angel investors by offering typically smaller amounts of initial capital and having specific requirements: loans will need to be repaid with interest over time, while grants are reserved for meeting certain conditions – such as assisting minority or underprivileged communities. Read more about business grants and business loans at the SBA, a benefit available for most business owners.
- Rather than trying to secure a few large amounts of funding, you could attempt to crowdfund your business through hundreds, or thousands, of smaller donations. There are several options for running a crowdfunding campaign, through platforms like Fundable or WeFunder.
Build Your Business
Now the real work begins. Time to put that funding into place, build out your first real product, and get it out to your target market. This is a long term game and not a sprint. To be fit you will have to last in the financial space of keeping your business profitable. And remember this is a bold yet exciting career move.
- You will need to establish a location for your business, whether you’re renting out an office space for your team to work in or you’re leasing a building in a downtown location. Or, perhaps your business is entirely online and all your employees are expected to work from home. At the very least you’ll need to claim a website to both promote your business and allow customers to learn about your product and contact your business.
- You’ll need to consider the actual structure of your organization and what your plans are for incorporating your business. Many entrepreneurs consider the option of registering as a limited liability company (LLC) to both build the credibility of your business and protect your personal finances.
- Keep promoting and marketing your business alway.
- After the initial buzz dies off you’ll still need to find ways to reach out to new, prospective customers and announce the latest updates and developments of your product. Review the metrics of your campaigns and social media channels to determine what’s working, and what’s not, and what you should be doing to effectively advertise.
What Are Some Common Entrepreneurship Pitfalls?
Not every new business succeeds, in fact roughly 90% of businesses fail within the first few years. The others, if they don’t go out of business, just manage to sustain themselves without generating any real returns for their owners or investors.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of specific reasons why a business won’t succeed. Here are a few of them:
Running out of money
There are no guarantees that a product or service will take off or you will able to quit your day job. The best you can do is to get a solid plan into place and then be open to shifting your direction or focus as needed. Changing markets and environments require businesses to be agile and no amount of initial success will guarantee continued growth or sustainability.
When you have a co founder there is a chance you will have more cash on hand.
Too much debt
Some people want to become an entrepreneur but aren’t responsible on a personal level first. Take care of your personal financial behaviors and mishaps before you start running a business is my best advice.
Disrupting the market
Being different and avoiding competition if possible. This is by carefully differentiating and paying attention to the value skew in your market.
Tracking your numbers
This is something that potential investors will become interested in reviewing eventually. If you have an idea of what would be important for you to track, then make sure you create a tally for it.
Having a mentor or group of entrepreneurs to consult with
This is related to running out of money, as high levels of debt can cripple businesses, choking off additional sources of income as lenders or investors are scared off. The challenge of securing initial funding means that some businesses will settle for high-interest loans in order to get started, but that sort of devil’s bargain can hinder a company before it ever gets to establish itself.
Successful entrepreneurs usually have a nice support network and a mentor if not several.
We all need a support network. Eventually, you will become a mentor from your experiences. Mentors help guide you towards success by learning from their failures. They can give you a new side of education.
- Not keeping the personal and business separate – As an entrepreneur, it can be all too easy to overleverage yourself in a new startup. However, using your own credit as a means for funding could ruin you financially which would not be a smart move. Not incorporating or registering as an LLC can make you personally liable for actions your company takes. That restriction goes both ways, as entrepreneurs who treat their business’ assets as their personal piggy bank are undercutting their own success.
- Internal conflict – Disagreements with a co-founder or disgruntled employees can hold up production, disrupt communication, or even dissolve the business. Learn how to deal with people especially in a professional setting.
- Incompatible culture – Everyone brings their own backgrounds with them, employing different workstyles, possessing different value systems and having different expectations. When people are committed to “what has worked before,” it can make it difficult to pivot when change is needed. Entrepreneurs will need to effectively manage the culture of their business, keeping everything moving forward in a disciplined manner while being as flexible as possible.
What Are the Typical Entrepreneurship Salary Ranges?
Successful entrepreneurs have a wide salary range. It is challenging to estimate average salaries considering the vast differences in the scale between Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos vs. the owners of a local brick and mortar, mom and pop store. Depending on a whole range of factors, entrepreneurs can risk losing money or stand to make millions. This is if you make a career out of your business journey.
Looking to maximize your potential for success? One particularly interesting pattern we’re seeing is that out of the top 40 entrepreneurs under the age of 40, the majority of them are in tech or tech-related industries.
Any tips for a new entrepreneur?
Get out there and test the market.
You’ll also want to investigate whether they promote hands-on experience through collaborative research opportunities, business competitions, study abroad and real-world networking events.
What are my resources for securing funding?
I still like to use reddit on a Google Search to see if there new options or tips available from people who have secured this funding. The options include:
- Find programs your company qualifies for at Grants.gov
- Use crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe
- Pitch your business plan to Angel Investors and Venture Capital firms
- Get an SBA microloan or find a nonprofit lender
- Use your credit IF you can confidently pay the balance
Is it better to go it alone or find a cofounder?
Do you like working with others?
Don’t overlook the positive values of having cofounders. Partnering with someone who shares your drive and passion can go a long way toward getting through the initial startup phase and can bring more support and energy into the development process.
Positives of having cofounders
Can be easier to secure funding
Can share burdens and responsibilities
Mutual support and skill diversification
Downsides of having cofounders
Less autonomy in directing the business
Have to split the equity among partners
Increased potential for conflict
How can I market my business?
Small business marketing is about getting the word out there. This could be a whole post unto itself, and there are certainly a lot of options out there, from promoting on social media, to partnering with influencers to just straight up paying people to use and review your product. The best advice would be, whatever medium or method you plan on using, to start the process early.
Even during the funding phase, especially when using crowdfunding sources, you’ll want to think about how you’ll advertise your product and what your target market is looking for. If you’re able to generate that initial excitement and interest, then there’s a good chance you’ll turn your early adopters into advocates who will continue to spread the word about your business.
Don’t blame someone else for the lack of your business productivity. It is up to you to fully test and improve your business ideas. You will will learn much marketing on your road to how to become an entrepreneur.
What’s the difference between an Entrepreneur and a Freelancer?
Freelancers earn money through their direct work, often turning a passion or skill into their job. An entrepreneur is more interested in creating the business itself, and generally hopes that they’ll earn a large return down the line when they sell their business or go public. This is also in contrast to small business owners, who often start up their businesses with the intent to be in operation for decades and have gradual growth, whereas an entrepreneur is more interested in exponential growth in a shorter time frame.
Becoming an entrepreneur wrap up
Many people start their own small businesses to earn a living and take control of their career path. Some of the biggest and most successful companies are small businesses. It starts with the entrepreneur getting an idea of what they can contribute to the world.
A large number of small businesses are run by people who work full time at running their small business. Becoming a successful small business owner requires work, dedication, and planning.
Have an awesome day. If you like this post, please let me know with a Response. Thanks!