Becoming & Being an Entrepreneur
Wondering how to become an entrepreneur?
How to become an entrepreneur is a question similar to how to become a financial planner. Simply you'll need instruction and experience.
Do you think entrepreneurs are super smart people who have "that special gift" and therefore are the chosen ones? Think twice; entrepreneurs are just people with a different training program.
Therefore you can become one too if you have the real desire and you can make a serious personal and professional commitment. Let's review some general steps.
How to become an entrepreneur in 4 steps:
1. As usual make a self assessment
If you are reading frequently our articles you already know that everything begins with an honest evaluation of your present situation whether you want to improve your personal finances or if you want to decide if you'll become an entrepreneur.
2. Put your own numbers in order and learn how to manage cash flow
I highly recommend you to make a personal financial plan before to start your business or at least make both plans at the same time.
This is because before to risk any money you should have a good idea of your personal and familiar financial needs, wants, objectives, strategies etc. exactly as in your business.
You can't deny this reality, after all if you can't manage your own finances, how do you think you're going to manage a business? People frequently ask themselves the big question about how to become an entrepreneur and forget that there is a lot of work to do at home first.
If you can't control your own financial statements and cash flow this will be one of your main disadvantages if you want to start a business. That's because sooner than later you'll merge your own money with your business' money, you'll lose the control of the cash flow and the cash flow is the blood of any business.
It's better for you to learn how to manage cash flow with your own money first because this will help you to learn accountancy later. As I said you can plan your finances and business at the same time too.
3. Learn about leadership
Yes, even I you don't see you now as a leader capable to have people who trust in you and believes in your ideas, you'll have to learn how to become one.
Why? Because a business requires a conjunction of many skills and knowledge and a single person (i.e. you as the entrepreneur) simply can't learn it all, apply them and control. That's inefficient and you'll soon become a slave of your business losing all your personal time and balance in your life. That is not the idea.
Instead you should have to seek people who already have those skills that complements you and persuade them to believe in your project. That's leadership. This way you'll have a team to work with which leads us to the next step.
4. Learn how to work as a team
The last step on how to become an entrepreneur is related to team work. If you're an employee probably the organization you work for has teach you already how to work as a team.
Do you ever have a supervisor or something like that? Probably you did but if not, I will suggest you to learn to play the role of the staff member as well as the role of supervisor; they are all different I can assure you.
The role of staff member implies a lot of work but normally doesn't have to organize more than his/her own time to reach his/her objectives, of course team work and communication is needed when problems and difficulties arises and the help of a more experienced member is needed.
On the other hand the supervisor has the responsibility to reach the objectives and motivate the team. It has double pressure because he/she has to report to managers and has to help, control and motivate team members because without them he/she simply can't do it. There are lots of people with different experience, sense of humor, personal problems and therefore a supervisor has to have a good temple to manage them.
I'm telling you this because as a leader you'll have to work, manage, persuade, motivate, help and teach many teams in your business.
These are the basics steps on how to become an entrepreneur. They are simple but not always easy to learn, be sure that once you have some experience in these fields your chances to succeed are greater.
Lessons and sacrifices made by real entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur not only means fame and fortune, as many things in life involves some costs and sacrifices. Let's review some of the most common:
1. Time with family and friends
If you think being an entrepreneur means more available time for your family and/or friends you're wrong. When I was beginning my entrepreneurial journey one of my main motivations was to work less (because I used to work very long hours and weekends) but now I work as much or more than before (is more rewarding and I enjoy it) but is a hard work too.
That will probably happen to you too for the following reasons:
- You're doing something totally new for you and therefore you have to learn how things work, you have to make mistakes and that takes time. That is the called learning curve.
- At the beginning you don't have the resources to have a team or pay employees and therefore all the tasks depend on you.
- You don't have the ability to delegate tasks. This happens to many executives too. If you don't have the necessary confidence in your team it's obvious that you won't delegate nothing, but why? Probably you haven't trained them enough. Of course all of this implies time too.
These are only a few points about why you don't have time for your family or friends when you're trying to be an entrepreneur. There's a lot more, you can bet on it.
Notwithstanding this situation can change (and should change) when you have your business' system working and when you learn how to delegate effectively. You wouldn't be an entrepreneur if that implies working long hours for the rest of your life right?
2. Limited funds
I wouldn't recommend you to quit your job until you have at least a good business plan or even better an operating business because when you don't have a job you lose one of the most important things for businesses and people: your cash flow.
Why? Bills never fail but income does. The irony in this situation is that when you don't have cash flow you become more worried about the rent and bills than the business' matters itself and that limits the potential of your business and limits your cash flow even more. A dangerous cycle indeed.
This is by far one of the big reasons why businesses don't grow as planned or fail in their early years.
You'll find at the beginning that your business will become a kind of cash burner because you will invest more and more money (bills, taxes, payrolls) before you see a penny of income.
3. Patience and perseverance
Mahatma Gandhi said: First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. The meaning of being an entrepreneur couldn't be better expressed.
Is difficult to keep your patience when things don't work as you wish and is hard to persevere if you haven't see any reward for a long time. And given that things frequently don't work as you wish and you won't see immediately rewards, this is a real challenge for your temple.
These are only a few challenges you'll face in your "being an entrepreneur" journey. Don't get worried there are a lot of advantages too. We'll talk about them in the next articles.
Become an entrepreneur, make your Business Plan!
If you really want to become an entrepreneur then you'll have to learn how to write a business plan. Let's begin...
A business plan has the purpose to guide your steps while you're creating your business and assure that you have assessed the main and critical angles a business have before to start.
Many people who want to become an entrepreneur think a business plan is just a requirement to access funds from venture capitalists or other funding sources. Indeed it is a requirement but more than that is a tool that should guide the critical decisions an entrepreneur has to take.
Complementary to the general steps to become an entrepreneur we've seen before in this article, learning how to write your business plan undoubtedly is a must and we want to share with you a guide to write business plans which has been developed following the prestigious McKinsey methodology.
This guide will show you how to develop each section of your business plan. Probably you'll have some difficulties developing some sections like the financial plan for instance, but do you remember when we talked about team work? That's your answer if you get stuck anytime.
I've evaluated many business plans and frequently found that entrepreneurs think they can act as a one-man band in their companies because they are smart enough to manage everything. That's false in 99% of the cases, you just can't know everything. Even if somebody can, what is the point to manage everything? You'll need all the day to manage all by yourself and you'd lose the balance in your life.