The Beginner’s Guide to Becoming an Entrepreneur
Coming up with an idea for a business is easy. You think ofsomething unique and are sure that the whole world will fall in love with it.And then you look around you. Everyone is a businessman. Everyone has ideas about how their thoughts can make the world a better place to live in, if not to make them millionaires before that. But one should never be afraid of competition.
Before starting a business, it is always better to have a game plan in mind. Nothing is worse than floundering around without a concrete plan, especially if you’re in front of investors. For beginning entrepreneurs, a business can seem like a huge achievement, but success is only for the wise and hardworking, so it is better to know the rules of entrepreneurship when stepping into the business world.
1. Bring a game plan
Beginning a business in the real world is not as easy as setting up a stall for lemonade and waiting for thirsty passer-bys. Ideas are a dime a dozen and thinking of a vague idea that might benefit the public is not beneficial. You have to know yourself why your idea is different, and how it won’t be taken over by any other idea. The idea of a soda similar to coca-cola or Pepsi is useless because they both already have such a concrete following that other sodas will seem like parodies of the original product. 7up started as something completely different. Whereas coke has herbal teasers in their taste, 7up concentrated on fizz and its ability to be refreshing and quench thirst. This is called differential thinking. Similarly, when you’re in the market with your product, know the facts before stepping in. Show the people how your idea is new and not an imitation.
2. Value your money
Money makes the world go round. When you want to be an entrepreneur, it is essential to be a bit of a penny-pincher. Every cent counts. However, although throwing money on just anything is not recommended, it is far worse to spend so little money that the quality of your product suffers. So keep your balance in check. Another aspect of this point is to know how the market is going. You cannot make money in a market which is already filled up to the brim with entrepreneurs pushing their products and services.
For example, if you see a market where there is lack of competition, the odds are that there is no business in that particular market. A good example would be zippers. Check any zippers in any clothing, there would be an YKK mark on it. That’s because the Japanese company “Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushiki”, meaning “Yoshida Manufacturing Shareholding Company” already has 71 facilities manufacturing quality zippers around the world. With such a massive market base, it would be no use to be a starter when there is already a dominant in the field.
3. Educate yourself
Knowledge is wisdom, but so is experience. There have been many examples of people going on to become millionaires without any studies. They were anomalies who were exceptions to the rule, and while we praise their success, we should also remember that the world is not made up of uneducated businesspeople. The myth of the millionaire college dropout is a technical fault. Mark Zuckerberg went to Phillips Exeter Academy, the most elite boarding school in the USA. These millionaire dropouts are the best educated people on the planet since they completed college in high school, and made their fortunes grounded in the best educational environment. Even Bill Gates went to Lakeside School, an exclusive preparatory school, before going to Harvard College.
However, not everyone was born into riches. Oprah Winfrey was born into a poor family in Mississippi, but this didn’t stop her from winning a scholarship to Tennessee State University and becoming the first African-American TV correspondent in the state, all at the age of 19. Even for those who dropped out, they learned through the business circuit. Every opportunity can educate you.
4. Understand the competition
Learn to be neutral. Personal grudges will never hold in the business world. In business, one has to be mature enough to know how you can use your surroundings to your advantage. It would be naïve for you to think that the competition will be easy on you. Each company in every field has a backup plan for new competitors and the best way to stay on top is to quash the competition early on before they can get wind of it.
5. Get used to early failure
If you ask anyone with a successful business, they’ll tell you that you should start getting used to the word ‘no’. This is also one word that entrepreneurs should not accept without a fight. Although this does not mean that a client or potential investor should be harassed, it means that someone saying no shouldn’t bring you down. If your product isn’t according to the investor’s standards, never feel like giving up. There are many other investors looking for creative and innovative ideas to invest their money in. The following quote by Adam Horwitz, designer of Mobile Monopoly states:
“The hardest part about being an entrepreneur is that you’ll fail ten times for every success.”
Did you know the average millionaire goes bankrupt at least 3.5 times or that 3 out of 4 start-ups fail? This is true for almost any successful millionaire, be it Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, or Walt Disney or Richard Branson. According to StatisticBrain, the reason all businesses fail is ‘emotional pricing’ which means that entrepreneurs overprice their products and then are too stubborn to adjust to the market. Keeping in touch with the market is basic. Never assume too much in overconfidence, and keep yourself in good company to encourage you if the going gets tough.
6. Be smart – Street and credit
With all these warnings, another is to be aware of your surroundings. When starting any company, remember how the worst boss you ever had treated you. Now think about how much your employees might hate you if you became a slave driver. Instead of pressing them into working at all hours, be smart and work to your employee’s strengths. Every successful entrepreneur surrounds themselves with positive energy and positive people who will push the company to bigger and better things.
Another smart is to be credit smart. Be careful with money. Not only is debt a terrible stigma for any company, but it can cause investors to pull back, for fear that the debt is so much that the company will go bankrupt. In any case, experienced companies use debt to influence investments and grow cash flows. Poor people use debt to buy things that make those companies wealthier. Make sure to use debt wisely through calculated risk.
Nothing can stop you from achieving what you want unless you believe in the power and influence of your own product or service. Being smart has to be a priority, otherwise get a mentor who knows how to guide you. There are millions of books available online and in stores to tell you what to do, but unless you get out there yourself and start working hard to create an audience, you will not know what it is like to achieve success through hard work, whether you’re educated, well-off, influential or not. Find a mentor and align yourself with them as they have been trough the challenges and failures.