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Guide: How to Succeed As An Entrepreneur - By Lissette Maduro

Guide: How to Succeed As An Entrepreneur
by lissette maduro

You’ve done the starter jobs, the in-between jobs, the pro-jobs and this is what it comes down to.  You’re ready to take the reins of your career, and set out on the ride of your life. 

So… you, want to be an entrepreneur! 

This guide will give you an introduction in how to master this exciting career choice. 

In How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur, you will learn:

  • What Is An Entrepreneur
  • The Mindset Required To Succeed As An Entrepreneur 
  • The Skills Needed to Succeed as An Entrepreneur
  • How To Choose Your Entrepreneurship Idea and Test It´s Viability
  • How To Get Started as An Entrepreneur and Go About Securing Funding
  • What The Entrepreneurial Pitfalls You Should Look Out For Are 
  • And finally, we’ll provide Resources To Get You Started on your quest to succeed as an entrepreneur

The requirements you’ll need for this course are:

  • A Brave Heart
  • Dogged Determination 
  • Absolute Dedication 

So go ahead and click on the first segment  and let’s get started making you a successful entrepreneur. 

Segment 1: Defining Entrepreneurship

In this first segment we’ll be defining entrepreneurship. In the first module of the segment we’ll discover what an entrepreneur is. The second module will discuss the mindset of an entrepreneur and the last module in the segment will cover the skills required to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Module 1: What Is An Entrepreneur?

In this module you’ll learn:

  • The definition of an entrepreneur
  • The distinction between an entrepreneur and other self-employment options
  • The roles of an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship has become somewhat of a new trend in the choice of a career path. However, very few people embarking on this career track have the appropriate understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Let’s take a brief look at the concept of entrepreneurship. It’s important to understand that entrepreneurship is not solely about being your own boss. There is a distinction between being a freelancer offering consulting services or a small business owner running a local store, and being at the helm of a billion dollar company as an entrepreneur.  

An entrepreneur is by definition someone who launches and manages an original business enterprise, bearing the brunt of the financial risk instead of having external investors in the project. 

An entrepreneur typically steps out on his or her own, tackling the odds of making a business idea a reality. Occasionally, an entrepreneur may have a partner or a couple of co-founders that assist with setting up the venture and recruiting funds to get the business off the ground.

The difference between an entrepreneur and freelancer or a small business owner is based on the extent of the business endeavor. Freelancers tend to cater to a modest clientele and small business owners focus on the daily operation, usually limiting themselves to running a mom-and-pop store or offering small scale services to locals. Entrepreneurs on the other hand, dream big and plan the national and international expansion of their operations from the get go. An entrepreneur constantly thinks about the big economic and business picture and how their company can be positioned in the broader global market.

An entrepreneur may start out wanting to do something he or she is passionate about but may end up having to fill a leadership role in their business venture. Additionally, an entrepreneur will need to be adept at various new roles, such as managing employees. Entrepreneurs may also end up not being their own boss in the companies’ they establish. 

For example, You may want to make a line of nutritional supplements because you enjoy promoting a healthy lifestyle. However when your supplement business takes off, you may find yourself spending more time managing the business, supervising employees, creating marketing campaigns, managing social media accounts rather than making supplements. Ultimately, when your venture makes it big, you may have a managing team or a board run the company and may be relegated to meeting investors and creating new expansion plans for your products or services, leaving what you enjoy, making supplements, behind.

So to recap, an entrepreneur;

  • Launches and manages an original business enterprise
  • Takes on the financial risk of the new enterprise
  • Focuses on the big picture in business and plans how to position a venture in the global market
  • Fills various roles in his or her company 

Module 2: The Mindset Required To Succeed as An Entrepreneur

In the previous module we defined what an entrepreneur is and what distinguishes an entrepreneur from a small business owner or a freelancer. Now let’s take a look at the mindset required to succeed as an entrepreneur.

In this module you’ll learn:

  • Five characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset

There are a number of determinants that will contribute to your success as an entrepreneur. You will need a firm resolve, you’ll need to be willing to make necessary sacrifices and you’ll have to be committed to going all-in on your venture. 

Of course, the nature of your proposed business will also have a great effect on whether or not you become a master entrepreneur.  Best-selling author, investor and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss notes that even simple things, like the friends you choose, can significantly affect the outcome of your entrepreneurship.

While all these points are important, having an entrepreneurial mindset is fundamental to excelling in the field.  Let’s discuss five characteristics of the mindset that is necessary to succeed as an entrepreneur. 

#1: An Entrepreneur Sees Every Failure As An Opportunity

Problems, missteps, obstacles are unavoidable on the way to becoming a high-flyer. Prospective entrepreneurs make their minds up from the start of their ride to the top, that failures will not be cause for discouragement or giving up. As an entrepreneur you will have to resolve to turn  mishaps and difficulties into learning opportunities. The tenacity you display in those circumstances will reflect whether or not you have the entrepreneurial mindset. 

#2:  An Entrepreneur Knows It’s Pointless To Complain

Entrepreneurs understand that during times of stress, letdowns and adversity there needs to be a conscious choice not to resort to complaining. The best strategy is to pull yourself together, figure out why you failed and how to steer clear of similar slip-ups going forward. Your ability to move past failures and pursue new goals will determine whether or not you are cut out to be an entrepreneur. 

#3: An Entrepreneur Understands That Discomfort Is a Crucial Factor Of Success

Flexing some entrepreneurial muscle means systematically moving past your comfort zone. It is necessary to constantly learn and devise novel and exciting strategies to meaningfully grow a business. Knowing when to push further, even if it is uncomfortable or even when things are going well, is essential. There are always competitors who may discover faster ways of expanding their business before you do, so being willing to not play-it-safe will show if you can handle being an entrepreneur.

#4: An Entrepreneur Takes Frequent  Risks

In order to succeed as an entrepreneur you will be required to take calculated risks. Having an inquisitive mind, analyzing current practices and theorizing how to improve on them, is what sets entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the business world and leads them to molding the world’s future.  

Your willingness to defy the status quo and scrutinize the inabilities of present-day industries dictates whether or not you have the mindset of an entrepreneur.   

#5: An Entrepreneur Believes In Their Potential

Ultimately, above all else, the belief in your ability to overcome obstacles and setbacks, is what sets you up as an accomplished entrepreneur. An elite education, ample financial assets do not dictate your potential. Knowing who you are, what you’re capable of, your commitment to being successful and to not giving up, those are the qualities of the entrepreneurial mindset that will take you to the top.

In summary, an entrepreneurial mindset consists of:

  • Seeing failure as an opportunity
  • Knowing complaining is pointless
  • Understanding that discomfort is a factor of success
  • Taking frequent risks
  • and Believing in your potential

Module 3: The Skills Required To Succeed as An Entrepreneur

Last time, we covered the five characteristics of the entrepreneurial mindset. 

Now that you know what an entrepreneur is and you’ve determined you have the mindset to succeed as an entrepreneur, let’s discuss the necessary skills to succeed as an entrepreneur. 

In this module you’ll learn:

  • Six skills to succeed as an entrepreneur

Setting up a business venture demands drive, enthusiasm and self-discipline. Before launching this adventure, it is crucial that you take the time to evaluate if the challenge of entrepreneurship is something you need to take on. The main question to ask yourself, is if you have what it takes, to succeed as an entrepreneur.

So let’s find out what the required skills to be a successful entrepreneur are.

#1: Leadership 

Author and co-founder of the business magazine Fast Company, Bill Taylor, in his article Do You Pass The Leadership Test states that, “the true mark of a leader is the willingness to stick with a bold course of action” such as an unconventional business strategy, a unique product-development roadmap and a controversial marketing campaign, even as the rest of the world wonders why you’re not marching in step with the status quo.” 

As an entrepreneur you will need the leadership qualities of persistence, determination and endurance, no matter what happens along the way. 

As author John Maxwell once said:”The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” 

 #2: Forward Thinking

Accomplished entrepreneurs are people with a knack for seeing opportunities and exploring them. They can analyze the risk of materializing an idea and turning it into a profit-making venture.  Entrepreneurs are big dreamers and visionaries that inspire and innovate. As such, they are skilled in short- and long-term goal setting. Your initial task as an entrepreneur, will be to form a business plan that will undergo anticipated adjustments as your business starts operating and expanding. Being skilled in forward thinking will ensure that regardless of any changes to your plans, you will stay true to your original design. 

#3: Flexibility

We touched on the varying roles of an entrepreneur in the mindset module. Once a business is operational, the role of the entrepreneur blurs in the startup phase.  Out of necessity, the duties of the entrepreneur become diverse and unpredictable. As an  entrepreneur, you will have to become comfortable with juggling numerous work streams and having a lack of regularity in your workday. Flexibility in dealing with unforeseen interruptions and upheavals will need to be mastered.

#4: Self-Motivation

Even professionals with years of experience will find starting out on their own business venture challenging. Studies show that roughly two-thirds of businesses fail in the first two years and about a half tank in five years. Despite the other benefits and opportunities of self-employment, as an entrepreneur, you’re solely responsible for steering the venture, devising the strategic plan and setting targets. Tackling these issues and other problems that may come up during the workday can be difficult and requires competency in self-motivation as the buck stops with you.

#5: Consistency

Being an entrepreneur affects lifestyle, and despite planning for the obstacles, there are no guarantees that the services offered will remain in demand, or that clients can be retained, or that employees will perform optimally. 

Keeping a business going beyond five years entails expending energy, remaining focused and most importantly being constant. You will have to regularly update your services and reach out to customers which is why consistency is a necessary proficiency as an entrepreneur. 

#6: Making Sales

The uncertainty of revenue, which can swing dramatically, and the fluctuation in business income which can vary monthly, is difficult in entrepreneurship. An astounding nine out of 10 startups will fail.

As such you will need to be good at closing deals to keep your venture afloat. Whether it’s small-scale orders or large retail deliveries you will need to master sales as an entrepreneur. Successful entrepreneurs survey the business landscape for opportunities and make sure they are positioned to take advantage of the sales openings that come along. 

To recap, The six skills needed to succeed as an entrepreneur are:

  • Leadership
  • Forward Thinking
  • Flexibility
  • Self-Motivation
  • Consistency
  • And Making sales

Segment #2: Embarking on Entrepreneurship

In the second segment of this course we’ll be outlining how to embark on entrepreneurship. In the first module of the segment you’ll discover how to choose an entrepreneurial idea and how to test if the idea is valid. The next module will outline how to get your entrepreneurial venture started and the last module in the segment will cover fundraising recommendations for your entrepreneurship.

Module 1: How To Choose Your Entrepreneurial Idea

At this juncture, you know what it means to be an entrepreneur, you’ve evaluated if you have the mindset and skills for entrepreneurship and now you’re ready to select an idea to run with. 

In this module you’ll learn:

  • How to choose your entrepreneurial idea
  • How to determine if your entrepreneurial idea is viable

Business Mogul, investor and author Richard Branson once said: “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”

Typically, by the time you’ve made the decision to become an entrepreneur you already have a few ideas running around in your mind about that type of venture you would like to set out on. So now that you’re serious about getting started, let’s talk about how you choose which idea to settle on.

When determining your entrepreneurial idea, consider the advice of Sara Blakely, the American billionaire and founder of Spanx: “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” 

Jot down the ideas you are juggling and take some time to let each of them marinate. Figure out which of the ideas you would regret not doing and which one you feel is ‘textbook you.’ Successful entrepreneurial ideas usually come from a place of wanting to find a solution for a particular problem in a profitable industry, and then assembling a team that is passionate about tackling the problem. Here’s how to go about narrowing down your entrepreneurial idea.

First: Pinpoint A Lucrative Startup Idea

Take note of daily aggravations and ask your friends to join in keeping track of everyday frustrations. Review the list you and your friends come up with and see if there are issues on the list you may want to solve. Entrepreneurs frequently derive lucrative ideas from their annoyances. Uber was created because its founders, Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp couldn’t get a cab.

Once you’ve selected an idea, be sure to research its possibilities. Before you make a final decision on an idea, explore its profit-making potential, study the competition and analyse if its an essential need that others would spend money on.

Next: Think Ahead

For an entrepreneurial idea to make it, it needs to be, and stay ahead of the curve. People’s needs change with the times. Spend time researching trend predictions for the industry or market you’re interested in. Study forecasting sites like Trend Hunter and Springwise. Figure out how your idea would fare if the predictions were to happen.

Then: Do Online Research.

Scouring the internet to check out what innovative ideas others have come up with is a great way to assess your entrepreneurial idea. Sites like Product Hunt and Kickstarter can jumpstart your creative juices.

An entrepreneurial idea doesn’t have to be novel. It can be an improvement or a twist (like better quality or a lower price) on an existing product. Product review sites like Wirecutter, Werd and  Uncrate can be useful for inspiration on how to spin a product already in use. 

After that: Zero In On An Evolving Sector.

Author and Co-founder of inventRight, Stephen Key, suggests coming up with an idea that keeps you riveted.  He says that “you will have an easier time licensing your ideas if you focus on categories of products that are growing as well as those that are open to innovation.”

Once you´ve selected a sector, research the products in that sector. Figure out what the advantages of each product are and how the products differ. Review how they are packaged, marketed and what is remarkable to reviewers about the products. Come up with ideas on improving the products like how to build on the current features, or use better materials or maybe personalize it in a way that would be more satisfying to customers.  

Finally: Look For an Underserved Market.

An entrepreneurial idea doesn’t have to be new to be successful. It can provide a necessary service to an area of shortage in the market. For instance, let’s say there are lots of fast food places in the city you want to open up a pizzeria in. But you learn during your research that there are only a few fast food places in the surrounding towns and no pizzeria. You can decide instead to set up a delivery only pizzeria that caters to small towns all over the state and expand to small towns all over the country.

Now that you’ve narrowed down your idea, you´ll need to determine the merit of your idea. Here are a few ways to assess the viability of your idea. 

In Determining If Your Startup Idea Is Viable:

Do a Small Group Assessment

Once you´ve decided on an entrepreneurial idea, you should test it on a small group. You´ll need to go out and sell your idea to, for example, friends, capture the attention of potential customers like neighbors and coworkers or try to sign up users such as family members. This may lead to you having to make substantial adjustments to your business idea, but drumming up interest in your venture is a good indication of whether or not it can move forward.

(Or you could) Use a Minimal Viable Product

Before you put all your eggs in this proverbial entrepreneurial basket after the initial testing, you will need to evaluate your product with a larger audience. This is where the minimal viable product (MVP) concept is useful. Entrepreneur and author of The Lean Startup, Eric Ries, explains that an MVP is that “ version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” This can be achieved by learning whether actual customers show interest in buying your product. 

The way to go about doing this would be to make a real product that you present to clients and evaluate how they interact with the product. For instance, if your entrepreneurial idea is an online business, make a landing page that you invite customers or users to visit. The number of visitors to your site will be an indication of interest for your product. This is a more valid method of analyzing the viability of your entrepreneurial idea than simply asking people if they approve of your idea. 

(You could also) Conduct Interviews

Another way of determining the viability of your entrepreneurial idea is to conduct interviews with prospective clients. During the interviews you can demonstrate the features of your product and discuss its cost. The interviews will allow you to get immediate feedback from potential clients regarding their ideas of the pros and cons of your product. 

(Another way to go about it is to) Create a Test Market

You can also evaluate the viability of your idea by creating a test market. Using the online business idea example from your MVP, you would describe your products’ features on the created landing page and then have prospective customers submit contact information for benefits like free subscriptions, discounts or offers for first time customers, early access to product and service updates. You can also do social media promotions to encourage additional potential clients to sign up. With the feedback from this test market you can assess the viability of your entrepreneurial idea. 

Let’s recap…You can narrow down your entrepreneurial idea by:

  • Pinpointing a lucrative startup idea
  • Thinking ahead
  • Doing online research
  • Zeroing in on an evolving sector
  • Looking for an under-served market
  • and validating your idea to determine its viability

In determining the viability of your idea:

  • Do a small group assessment
  • Use a Minimal Viable Product
  • Conduct interviews
  • Or Create a test market

Module 2: How To Get Started As An Entrepreneur?

You’ve done a great job so far. You decided you want to be an entrepreneur, you´ve worked on your mindset and skills for it and you have a viable idea to go all-in on. So how do you get started as an entrepreneur? 

In this module you´ll learn: 

  • A seven step plan of action to get your online business started

It seems awesome to run your own business but it is also extremely challenging. According to an article from the business magazine FastCompany, about 75% of startups fail

The good news is that becoming an entrepreneur can be fulfilling, exciting and a great opportunity to grow and develop as a professional. 

With that in mind, here’s a seven step plan of action to get you started as an entrepreneur.

Step 1:  Structure Your Business

Begin by selecting the right sector for your entrepreneurship. Pick a field that you can both flourish in and be passionate about. Once you’ve selected a sector you’ll need to organize your business in order to ideally and plausibly launch your idea. Start with determining the location of your company and the type of business you’ll set up. We’ll talk more about the type of business structure to consider when we discuss incorporating your business in an upcoming step. Once you’ve decided on the business structure, set up a business bank account and tax ID number along with accounting services for your venture. 

Step 2:  Decide If Upskilling Is Necessary 

Although a conventional education may not be necessary to become an entrepreneur, you should still consider upskilling. Depending on the type of company you will be running, a degree or course in tech, business or marketing may be a worthwhile investment.  Besides, some sectors or industries require you to have a certain education level or certifications to run a business. It’s important to know what certifications and what type of degrees are mandated for you to be able to run a business in your chosen field.

Step 3: Have A Game Plan For Your Business

Before setting out on your entrepreneurship, you’ll need to establish a business plan. A business plan should cover your goals for the venture and your strategy for reaching those goals along with how you will scale your business. It’s important to have a thorough business plan to pitch your entrepreneurial idea to investors. You can also use it to assess your venture’s success.

Step 4: Define Your Target Group or Audience

Nailing down the nature of your target group is crucial. Knowing the culture, gender, race, age and income level of your audience will help you determine where your business should be located and what its focus should be. Whether you need a physical address or should cater to an online business for instance, will be determined by the demographic that best fits your business model.  

Step 5: Set Up A Network

Networking is essential for entrepreneurs. It’s a way to meet people with whom you can collaborate or learn new skills from. Other entrepreneurs can serve as advisors or mentors and it is always a good idea to have a lawyer or two in your rolodex.  Networking also facilitates making contact with prospective investors who can help to launch your business. Additionally, a great network, provides numerous opportunities to establish new business relationships, meet new clients and discover resources that will support you and help your venture grow once it’s up and running. Sites like Meetup and Eventbrite are great online resources to get inspiration and start you off building a network. 

Step 6: Market Your Idea

Sometimes, consumers need to be convinced of the products they want, so as an entrepreneur, you are tasked with persuading them that your service or product is distinctive and the best choice for whatever their need may be. Focus on marketing your business to your intended audience as an added value to their daily lives. 

Make sure you are using the proper marketing strategies to engage your target group. If, for instance, you are looking to convince millennials that your ‘trendy outfits predictor’ app is the next coolest thing to hit the fashion world, social media promotions will give you more bang for your buck than advertising on a billboard.  

Step 7: Incorporate Your Business

From a legal standpoint it is always a great idea to incorporate your business. As a sole proprietor, you will be personally responsible for the expense tab your company runs up or for transactions it enters into. 

By incorporating your company, your personal assets will be protected from business liability and responsibility. It also releases you from legal obligations for corporate actions and once your business is incorporated you can also transfer shares or sell off parts of your company. 

Additional benefits of incorporation is that it gives you the ability to recruit a partner, and gives your business more credibility, which in turn allows you to engage investment capital. Incorporation also comes with the right to deduct business expenses before allocating income.

There are downsides to incorporating your business. For instance, filing taxes for an incorporation can be an involved process that may require you to hire a tax expert. 

If you decide to incorporate you’ll have to determine what form of incorporation you want to go with. In the resources section you can find a link to learn more about the types of incorporation. 

To recap, the recommended steps to start your entrepreneurship are:

  • Structure your business
  • Decide if upskilling is necessary
  • Have a game plan
  • Define your target group or audience
  • Set up a network
  • Market your idea
  • and Incorporate your business

Module 3: Securing Funding

An essential part to starting your entrepreneurial undertaking is funding. There are several options for securing funding.

In this module you’ll learn:

  • Nine  options for securing funding for your entrepreneurship
  • What comes after securing funding 
Option #1: Co-founders

Conventional wisdom suggests finding a co-founder when embarking on a new business adventure in order to secure funding.  Venture capitalist investors tend to think that having multiple founders adds to a business’ success and are therefore more inclined to back a venture with co-founders.

Additional benefits of having a co-founder are the emotional and knowledge support that having a partner onboard can offer. Having someone to share in the exhilaration and stress of running a business can be comforting and make you feel less like a lone ranger. A co-founder that is skilled in different areas than you are, can add to the reach and services or products that your business may be able to render. Selecting a co-founder whose business ethics, professional trajectory, work habits, personality and vision compliments yours is an essential approach to ensure a profitable outcome to your entrepreneurial endeavor. 

It’s important to note that a recent study found that over 46% of startups had a sole proprietor. So having a co-founder is not mandatory for securing funding.

Option #2: Fundraising

If you’ve taken the steps in the action plan of the previous module, you’ll be ready to set about raising funds. Having a consummate product and business mock-up along with the data collected from your MVP or test market will go a long way in convincing venture capitalists to contribute to your business.

Your fundraising goal should be to provide startup capital and adequate cash flow until your business takes off. 

There are many ways to go about fundraising. You can: 

Option #3: Recruit Family and Friends as Investors.

It is commonplace to ask family and friends to invest in your venture. This initial investment, usually known as seed money, can be made in exchange for a stake in your business.

Alternatively, you can ask your family or friends for a personal loan or donations. 

Option #4:  Apply For a Business Loan

There are various options for securing a business loan. Governmental agencies both on the local and federal level typically offer low-interest small business loans or grants. Check your country or local government site for more information.

It may be difficult to apply for a loan in the early stages of your venture but certain small business programs offer a microloan that amounts to anywhere from $13,000-50,000 dollars. Additionally, nonprofit lenders and microlenders cater to minority or less privileged entrepreneurs so these may be a good place to start if you qualify.

Option #5:  Crowdfunding Platforms

You can access a number of crowdfunding platforms as a source of fundraising. Online sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Fundable promote online campaigns. Crowdfunding is also a good way to get feedback on your venture, create brand awareness, and generate some press.

Option #6: Attract Angel Investors 

Angel investors are generally investors looking for a higher yield of return than conventional investments.  They tend to put up around $25-100,000 dollars in the hopes of making up to ten times their investment in returns. In order to pitch to angel investors, you’ll need to have a polished business plan, know your target audience well, have a strategy for turning a profit and scaling your business. Angel investor financing has the added benefit of networking and expertise. 

Option #7:  Go After Venture Capital 

Venture Capitalist companies are attracted to high-risk, high-return, undertakings with fresh entrepreneurs. A VC firm looks for three to ten times returns on their investments depending on the maturity of your business and the point at which they come onboard as investors. 

Option #8: The third Option could be to: Use A Form of Short-term Cash

 If all else fails to fund your startup in its entirety, you may have to resort to a form of short-term cash to get it off the ground.  Typically, a credit card is used as a temporary resource for fast cash, but it is not a good idea to have your business carry a credit card debt which may damage your venture’s bottom line in the long run.   

Option #9: Go It Alone

If you can afford to fund your startup costs on your own, there is no need to solicit outside financing. As a sole founder you can front the initial costs of your venture and use the business’ revenues once it is profitable, to keep it afloat. This resource grants you, and a co-founder if you have one, to maintain control of the business. On the downside,  your venture may have a slower growth without large cash infusions. In going it alone you will need to be mindful of your budget, keeping it at a bare minimum to maintain the business’ momentum.

What comes next?

Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple once said “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

Once you’ve secured funding for your venture, have set up, rolled out your business, and it’s going well, the next step would be to scale your company. You can use your profits to do this by repeating the successful steps you took initially and using what you’ve learned from your startup experiences. Scaling your business entails: exploring new markets to grow your business or purchasing other businesses, expanding your staff and making moves towards establishing a lucrative future.

Segment #3: Maintaining Entrepreneurship

In the final segment of this course we’ll give you tips on how to maintain your entrepreneurship and list resources for you to learn more about succeeding as an entrepreneur. 

Module 1: Entrepreneurial Hazards to Avoid

In this module you will learn:

  • Ten entrepreneurial hazards to avoid in order to secure the success of your venture

Entrepreneurship has become synonymous with living the high life and a short-cut to fame and fortune. In reality, entrepreneurs battle uncertainty, self-sabotage and exhaustion. In order to maintain a successful course as an entrepreneur there are a few major pitfalls you should steer clear of.   

The incorporation service CorpNet, lists some entrepreneurial snags that they’ve encountered over the years in assisting clients. Depending on where you are on your journey you may have come across some of these hazards already so luckily for you, they’ve also offered some advice on these issues.

 Let’s take a brief look at them and help you avoid these missteps on your entrepreneurial journey. 

#1 Having a Vague Focus or Mission

It’s easy when starting out as an entrepreneur to get caught up with multiple ideas that sound feasible. With time however, if you do not narrow your focus or establish a distinct mission for your venture, others can convince you to go down a road you didn’t intend to travel. Or, you can become overwhelmed by the many business idea options and say yes to some that are not what you planned to do.

When you recognize you’ve gotten to a point where you’re unclear about your focus or mission, take the time to rethink, reflect and go back to the beginning. Revisit your initial business idea and the inspiration behind the idea. Consult mentors or advisors to get help refocusing and use this information to chart a new and solid course for your business.

#2. Being A People Pleaser

In wanting your venture to succeed, it is common to slip into a routine of trying to please everyone and wanting to be liked in order to secure clients. The problem is, that this attitude will quickly lead to you being overworked, taken advantage of and feeling disappointed in the clientele or the quality of your services since you may not have the expertise to fill some of the demands or expectations. In order to tackle this conundrum you’ll have to change a few things.

 First, you are going to have to base your order-acceptance decision-making on three things:

  • Feasibility: is this something within your current range of services or offerings and can your staff handle the order? 
  • Appeal: Is this a request that appeals to you and will complement your services or products? 
  •  Delegation potential: Is this something that can be delegated within your pool of resources if it’s something you can’t do personally? 

Only accept business where you can answer affirmatively to all three of these points.

Second, you’re going to have to acquire or work on time management skills. Making sure all orders or requests are accepted and handled within a timeframe that is workable for your business will cut down on the feeling of being overwhelmed and dissatisfied with your business’ output.

 #3. Putting Your Revenue Eggs In One Basket

Sometimes you may hit it off with one client in particular and without realizing it, they may become your biggest or sole revenue source. It’s always great to have that one dependable client but if you rely solely on that stream of income, you might find yourself apprehensive and stressed about the continuity of that income. 

As you move along in your entrepreneurial venture, work on diversifying your sources of income. Research organizations that need your services or product, and reach out to them. If your main client makes up more than 40% of your revenue it’s time to look elsewhere to boost your income. 

#4. Insecurity

Feeling insecure as an entrepreneur can result in a negative trajectory for your business. Feeling less than qualified or having limiting beliefs about your potential due to past failures or failures of others, can lead to self-sabotage. It may also lead to you selling yourself short as an authority or thought-leader in the field.   

In order to remedy the insecurity hazard, list the qualifications you will need to be credentialed as an entrepreneur in your field. Focus on what type of education you will need, the expertise and experience you should gain and then, go after it! 

#5. Going It All Alone

It is understandable that being let down in the past may cause a shortage of trust and may lead you to feel that everything has to be done your way. That mindset however, will lead to being overwhelmed with tasks and getting burnout from micromanaging your staff. It also causes your projects and progress to be stalled, affecting your business’ bottom line.

To avoid this pitfall enlist the help of a partner. Pick someone who will not be shy about keeping you in check and giving genuine feedback. 

Then, work on figuring out how you can delegate small tasks initially to one employee you have confidence in. As you go along, build trust in the rest of your staff going forward, and get more off your plate so you can concentrate on doing tasks within your skillset. 

#6. Becoming Isolated

Being an entrepreneur can sometimes become engrossing and can isolate you from others. You may start skipping social activities and networking with others in your industry. Neglecting these connections comes with missing out on opportunities to share ideas and brainstorm.    

This entrepreneurial snag can be handled with simple exposure. Make time for networking events or subscribe to meet-up activities. Get out with friends or schedule a coffee meeting with a client or co-worker.

#7. Making It Personal 

Succeeding in your entrepreneurial venture can become all consuming, to the point of developing an unhealthy fear of being wrong or failing. Entrepreneurs risk making everything in business about their personal achievements instead of focusing on the needs of the client. This leads to a narrow focus, emotional decision-making and feeling disconnected or rejected when things don’t pan out.  

The key to dealing with this pitfall is externalization. Understanding that you and your business are separate entities. Your business should focus on the needs of your customers and how your products and services can cater to them. The business does not define you as a person and your decision-making should be objectified.  

#8. Having Reservations

We discussed before about how feeling insecure can be a hazard to your entrepreneurial arc. Lacking confidence and fearing failure can result in not going all-in or disregarding your expertise. It can also lead to avoiding risk-taking or not giving your business your full effort.  

To work out this hazard, go back to your original reasons for becoming an entrepreneur when you start feeling like you are phoning it in. Determine why you’re not willing to take the needed risks and what your fears are. Work on conquering those fears and your productivity and dedication to your venture will consequently improve. 

#9. Neglecting Self-Care

Entrepreneurs that assume they can do it all and have an inexhaustible amount of energy, soon find that assumption to be incorrect and end up suffering the consequences of burning the proverbial candle at both ends. The most severe of those consequences can be illness and burnout.

This hazard is easy to combat by clocking in enough hours of sleep and taking time to rest and recharge. Adding a healthy diet and time for self-care activities like yoga or meditation ensures  a strong constitution on your entrepreneurial journey. 

#10. Anticipating A Smooth Ride To The Top

Unfortunately, the sweet life of entrepreneurship as portrayed on Instagram has led many to assume that it requires minimal effort to make it to the top. When reality sets in, so does frustration, discouragement, anger, impatience and emotional decision-making.

There are no shortcuts or quick-fix programs to circumvent this pitfall so you’ll have to sketch out your plan for success from the ground up. 

Focus on what success would look like for you, and how you can work on achieving that success on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Find out what resources will be necessary for reaching your goal and what the plan is, in the case of an eventuality. 

Ultimately, the key to efficiently beating entrepreneurial hazards is to reckon on a long timeline. Everything being equal, if your overall outcomes surpass any daily losses or challenges, your business will make it. Be patient and consistent. Take baby steps before you try to run ahead with your business.  

In summary, to maintain a successful business venture, avoid the entrepreneurial hazards of:

  • Having a vague focus or mission
  • Being a people pleaser
  • Putting your revenue eggs in one basket
  • Insecurity
  • Going it all alone
  • Becoming isolated
  • Making it personal
  • Having reservations
  • Neglecting self-care
  • And Anticipating a smooth ride to the top

Module 2: Resources To Get You Started As An Entrepreneur

Here are some great reading materials to get you started on your entrepreneurial journey:

Hunt, Janet (2019, November). The Balance Small Business/ Eight Best Start-up Books of 2020

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/best-start-up-books-4171655

Ries, Eric (2011, 2017,2019). The Lean Startup (Book), the Startup Way (Book) and the Lean Startup Movement (Website)

http://theleanstartup.com/

To learn more about the Minimum Viable Product

Ries, Eric (2009). Startup Lessons Learned/ Minimum Viable Product: A guide

http://www.startuplessonslearned.com/2009/08/minimum-viable-product-guide.html

To help you get started with your business plan:

SBA/ U.S. Small Business administration. Write Your Business Plan

Retrieved from https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/write-your-business-plan

These sites can assist with finding a co-founder: 

To discover micro loan resources: 

Pimentel, Benjamin (2016, October) Nerdwallet/Thirteen Top U.S. Nonprofit lenders

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/small-business/top-nonprofit-microfinance-organizations-that-lend-in-us/

Johnson, Simone (2020, March). Business News Daily/Best small Business Loans 2020

To incorporate or not to: The SBA has a handy guide on choosing the right entity structure.

Grants.gov.

Consult this site for help with choosing your business structure:

SBA/ U.S. Small Business Association. Choose Your Business Structure

https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/launch-your-business/choose-business-structure

 

Course Material Resources:

Cremades, Alejandro (2019, May). Forbes/How To Become An Entrepreneur

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alejandrocremades/2019/05/25/how-to-become-an-entrepreneur/#192eb1808a6c

Ward, Susan  (2020, January). The Balance Small Business/ Six traits You Need to Be Self-Employed

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/traits-you-need-to-be-self-employed-2948570

Frost, Aya (2019, November). Hubspot/How To Become An Entrepreneur With No Money or Experience

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/how-to-become-an-entrepreneur

LHB/Learn How To Become. Seven Steps to Becoming an Entrepreneur.

https://www.learnhowtobecome.org/entrepreneur/

For more information, contact:

YouAccel Public Relations
media@youaccel.com

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