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How to Become an Entrepreneur

Learning How to Become an Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner

There are many paths to owning your own business and unfortunately there is no simple formula or set of instructions you can follow that will teach you how to become an entrepreneur. Large capital reserves, industry experience, certain skills like communication skills or salesmanship will certainly help you along the way if you possess them, but they are not necessarily required and having them in abundance does not guarantee success.

There are also a lot of misconceptions about what it takes to become a small business owner or entrepreneur. Many people with dreams of becoming a successful business owner end up not pursuing those dreams because they think they are not smart enough, wealthy enough, or creative enough. The fact is, however, that to start and run a successful business you do not need to invent a new product, sink your entire life savings into your venture, or come up with a completely original idea and no college degree is required.

Myth Shattering Successful Entrepreneurs

Richard Branson of Virgin Group fame has dyslexia and was, by all accounts, not a top student. Michael Dell took $1,000 and starting selling computers out of his dorm room. He soon dropped out to focus on his business, which would eventually become Dell, Inc., one of the largest computer makers in the world. Sam Walton did not invent the concept of department stores, but he did manage to turn Walmart into one of the biggest public corporations on the planet. So if education, massive amounts of startup capital, and a brand new idea are neither required nor an accurate predictor of success, what does it take to become an entrepreneur?

What Does It Take to Become A Successful Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner?

Whether you have a specific business in mind or you are still searching for the answer to the what kind of business should I start question, you are probably going to ask yourself at least once if you have what it takes to be successful. While there is no blueprint, there are certain soft skills you are going to have to have already or work on developing. For example:

  • To become a small business owner or an entrepreneur, you must take action. It may seem obvious, but many businesses never get off the ground and many more fail because of the inability to take action. Sometimes the fear of failure can be paralyzing. The unwillingness to try something new even in the face of declining sales, new competition, or other strong signals has been the beginning of the end for many businesses both big and small. If you want to be successful you must take action whether that means simply following through, changing course, or constantly tweaking your product until you get it right.

Learn How to Become an Entrepreneur

  • To be a successful entrepreneur, you will also have to be flexible. Things have a way of not going exactly as planned. Deadlines get missed, estimates prove to be inaccurate, and results fall short of projections. Market conditions, laws, the overall economy, consumer tastes, and a host of other things that may potentially impact your business can shift in a heartbeat. How you adjust and respond to change can make or break your business.
  • Successful entrepreneurs listen. Your existing customers, potential customers, and your employees are all very good sources of ideas. Ideas for new products, improvements to your current products, and ways to streamline business processes can spring from the people who buy from you and the people who work for you if you are paying attention. Customers know what they need and employees may offer a different perspective. A good small business owner seeks out feedback and takes both the good and the bad seriously.
  • Successful small business owners and entrepreneurs have good people skills. Nobody likes giving their money to a jerk so in order to gain customers and keep them happy, you will need to have strong interpersonal and communication skills. Besides customers, you may have to deal with employees, contractors, vendors, and others on a daily or frequent basis. Managing these relationships and treating these people well can save you a lot of headaches and positively impact your bottom line.

How to Become an Entrepreneur - Paths to Entrepreneurship

There are a couple of ways you can become a small business owner while giving yourself the best shot at success. Could you wake up one day, quit your day job, scrape together every dollar you can, and just go for it? Absolutely. Some people do exactly that, but by doing so they are probably making it more difficult and putting a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves to be successful. You do not need to take huge risks to become an entrepreneur, though. If your risk tolerance is not that high and you would prefer to significantly increase your odds of succeeding, there are a couple of ways you could approach it. In fact, many successful entrepreneurs and small business owners start in one of the following ways:

  • By starting a small business part time. By keeping your day job, you limit your risk while gathering valuable information and experience. Building your business part time allows you to test ideas, determine whether entrepreneurship is for you, and build a solid foundation before leaving your day job. Your nights and weekends will be busy, but you will have more security. When you do quit your day job, you will be moving on to an established business.
  • By learning a business from the inside. Working in your target industry before starting a related business can give you insight into customers, vendors, costs, employee issues, and more. You may be inspired and come up with a twist on an existing idea or spot a niche within the industry that is underserved. The more you work in your chosen field before striking out on your own the better off you will likely be.

Granted, neither of these paths are a quick or easy road to becoming an entrepreneur. Some of the largest, most successful businesses, however, were started part time or by people who left a company to start their own similar business. If, when you are ready to start your business full time, you can do so with customers, you will have a significant advantage.

How to Become an Entrepreneur - Finding Your Own Path

Although there is no single path or one size fits all set of instructions on how to be an entrepreneur, there are certain common elements to almost every great entrepreneurial success story. Successful entrepreneurs come from all different walks of life. Age, education, background, and wealth are not reliable predictors of success. You do not need an invention or an original idea and you do not have to take huge risks. The successful entrepreneur is someone who identified a need and took action. Successful entrepreneurs and small business owners meet the needs of their customers by listening well and taking the appropriate action to deliver value and service in a more convenient, better, less expensive, or faster way than their competitors. Successful entrepreneurs have the communication and interpersonal skills to gain customers, inspire employees, and forge good relationships with vendors and other service providers. If you start part time or after you have gained some experience in your chosen business, you stand a better chance at success. You can become an entrepreneur or start a small business if you can take action, meet the needs of your customers, and charge a price that is fair to both your customer and you.

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