This month we’ve been all about being entrepreneurial, both literally and philosophically. So we’re taking a look at what it takes to literally start a venture of your own.
Becoming an entrepreneur means more than just starting a business. Entrepreneurship is a process through which people pursue opportunity, use resources and initiate change to create value. Entrepreneurs are people who see problems as opportunities, take action in response to needs, and accept calculated risk in hope of creating value. They look for problems that customers will pay to solve and are driven by a need to control their destinies and bring their dreams to the marketplace.
is entrepreneurship right for you?
If you’re thinking about starting your own business, ask yourself these 3 questions² before you dive in:
- How much control do I want over my future?
- Do I enjoy the challenge of finding a solution when I run into a problem?
- How do I describe my desire, drive and enthusiasm for my new business idea?
The Small Business Association (SBA) also has a great 20 question questionnaire that helps you determine if entrepreneurship is for you.
develop a concept
Entrepreneurs are ideas people. They see opportunities everywhere, but it takes more than an idea to make a business. A business concept is a bridge between a business idea and a business plan. Converting an idea into a concept requires you to think about how the product or service will be sold and who will buy it, the benefits of the product or service, how it is differentiated from similar ones and methods of delivery.¹
Before you start, it’s important to:
- Define your products and services – do they solve a problem or fulfill a need?
- Identify the uniqueness of a product or service.
- Prove that the product or service works.
Research the market (Identify and meet the market’s needs). A successful new venture sells customer goods and services they want or need and continually grows a base of satisfied customers. Hundreds of thousands of people consider starting a new business each year, and each of them will ask themselves the same questions: does my product or service fill a need? Who will buy my product or service? What will my price point be? What are the trends in my industry?
Researching your market helps you to:
- Communicate effectively
- Identify and understand opportunities
- Pinpoint potential obstacles or problems
- Minimize long and short term financial risk
- Benchmark and evaluate success
Assessing your propensity to be an entrepreneur and creating a concept might seem like simple or tedious steps, but they’re essential and can save you a lot of headaches down the line. Creating a new venture will have several highs and lows (probably more lows than highs in the beginning) but going into it knowing your who, what, where, why, how and can I will equip you with a solid foundation that’ll mitigate the inevitable stresses of entrepreneurship.
Need a little professional inspiration? Check out our Working Girl column.
1 Fast Trac New Venture, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 2011
2 Entreprenuer.com, Start Up survival 101: It’s all about relationships that work