Entrepreneurship in essence is the willingness of an individual to start a new business. The term is used interchangeably to mean the study of how new businesses are created, as well as the actual hands-on developing and managing of new business ventures, with the purpose of scaling up new startups to generate profits.
Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in expanding the global economy. Without the willingness of individuals to take the risks of setting up new businesses, there would be little or no employment.
Businesses are created to solve problems and create better ways of performing established tasks. Where most people see problems and annoyances, entrepreneurs see opportunities. Entrepreneurship is not primarily about the money; it is about your passion and vision to make the world a better place, and the money then becomes a by-product of that vision. If you have an idea for a new product or service that people are willing to buy, entrepreneurship is an option that you may wish to consider.
Yet the road to entrepreneurship is often a treacherous one. Approximately fifty percent of new businesses fail within the first five years. When starting out, you will often be working long hours with many sleepless nights. Your path to prosperity may be filled with unexpected detours, roadblocks and dead ends, when the most carefully laid plans do not work out, funding does not come through, and customers do not materialize.
Therefore, approach your business venture with great caution. For example, selling your home and investing all your assets into your startup company is strongly discouraged, as it could leave you and your family destitute if your business fails. Instead, make sure that for every strategy you undertake, you have at least three exit strategies in case your plans fail.
Indeed, it can be so challenging to create a startup business, that one might wonder why anyone was willing to take the risk. Yet, the freedom of living your life on your own terms and determining your own destiny, with no bosses, no restrictive rules, and no one holding you back, can be an irresistible lure to many. These are the people who take the first step towards making the world a better place for all of us. Despite the many pitfalls that potentially await prospective entrepreneurs, this is now a popular subject in college, with particular emphasis on studying new venture creation.
One way to avoid the potential pitfalls whilst embarking upon your enterprise, is to have another income source to fund you. You might have a partner who can financially support you to cover your bills and other living expenses, whilst you embark on your entrepreneurial adventure.
You can even set up your business enterprise in your spare time whilst working full-time for another employer. Once your part-time business has gained sufficient traction and is well established, you may find that you are making more money part-time than from your full-time job. This is the time when you may consider resigning from your employment, and becoming a full-time, independent, fully established entrepreneur.
The opportunities for setting up your own business are better now than they have ever been. A few decades ago, if you did not have a skillset or you did not have the capital to set up your business, you were pretty much out of luck. Today, with technologies such as digital photography, the internet, online marketing, and social media the opportunities for business ventures and entrepreneurship have exploded.
For very little money, you can set up a website-based business, and market to anywhere in the world, all from the comfort of your living room. Many manufacturers will ship the products directly from the factory to your customers so that you do not have the expense of paying for or holding onto stock.
Market research is essential for your business success. Marketing is not about what you want to sell: it is all about what your customers want to buy. So, do your market research diligently and establish your customers’ needs and desires. Your business can only ever succeed if your customers are willing to pay you profitably, for the goods and services that you offer.
If you are thinking about creating a business from a hobby that you are passionate about, make sure that you really want it to be your career. It is very easy to enjoy your hobby when you are doing something for the sheer pleasure of it, but it may take out all the fun it when you have customers to serve. Now, it is no longer your hobby; it is your job.
A good entrepreneur knows when to cut his losses. If your idea is not working and cannot possibly be profitable, let go of this baby however much money you have lost, and try something new. If a shark has swallowed your fishing rod, let go of it before it swallows your arm.
If you go into business with your friends, remember that you must all keep your business relationships separate from your friendships – always! It is easy to be the best of friends celebrating when your business enterprise is thriving; yet, it can put an intolerable strain on your relationships when your business falls on hard times. Business is business: friendship is friendship. Remember that. Because you may have to make some very unpopular decisions to the detriment of your friends, in order to allow your business to grow.
What motivates entrepreneurs to take on these daunting challenges, while most others would run away? Although each person’s motivations are different, there is some general consensus.
- Independence: Entrepreneurs want to be independent; they want to be their own boss, follow their own agenda, create their own destiny and run their business according to their own rules. They recognize that they are in the driving seat and the success or failure of their business is in their hands. Yet, they don’t see this responsibility as a burden, but instead, as freedom to express themselves.
- Vision: Entrepreneurs are very focused on their vision of what they want to accomplish and how they want to improve the world. They emphatically believe that their product or service fills a void in the marketplace and they work tirelessly on their goal to make it happen.
- Flexibility: Entrepreneurs often do not fit into the rigidity of a corporate structure. Oftentimes, they are looking to free themselves from this routine to find a lifestyle that works better for them. Very often, they are working many more hours than the rest of us, but the freedom and independence that comes from such a lifestyle makes the work commitment worthwhile.
- Prosperity: Although most entrepreneurs might dream of making a huge amount of money, they know that this is not going to happen overnight and not without an equally huge amount of effort. There is no limit to their potential success and the sky is the limit. Some may simply want to create a financial safety net or save up enough for retirement. Yet, others are focused on creating a huge profit by introducing the world to the next big thing.
- Legacy: Entrepreneurs are sometimes motivated to create something that outlasts their lifetime. This could be a craving for fame. Others want to create a brand that has longevity and becomes a household name. Many want to create a source of income and security that they can pass on to their heirs or a charity. Some want to create something amazing, an innovation that leaves a lasting impression on all of us, and improves the lives of everyone all over the world.
“People say that you have to have a lot of passion for what you are doing and it is totally true, and the reason is because it is so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. It is really hard and you have to do it over a sustained period of time. So, if you don’t love it, if you are not having fun doing it, you don’t really love it, you are going to give up, and that is what happens to most people actually. If you look at the ones that ended up being successful in the ‘eyes of society’ and the ones that didn’t, oftentimes it’s the ones that were successful, loved what they did, so that they could persevere when it got really tough, and the ones that didn’t love it, quit, because they are sane. Who would want to put up with this stuff if you did not love it? So, it’s a lot of hard work and it’s a lot of worrying constantly, and if you don’t love it, you are going to fail. You have got to love it and you have got to have passion…”
– Steve Jobs, D 5 Conference, May 30, 2007
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