Do you like being in charge of your destiny and are you able to handle stress well? Do you have a great idea for a new business? You may be able to strike out on your own and become the entrepreneur you want to be. Here are some ideas that may help clarify your thinking and help you decide if you could become a successful entrepreneur.
If you like routine, stress-free days and the predictability of a regular paycheck, and you are not comfortable taking full responsibility for work-related matters, you may not have the traits necessary to become an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have to be highly motivated, driven individuals who can handle high levels of stress and lots of unpredictability. They know that the success or failure of their new ventures depends in large part on their own decisions and actions.
Is your business idea for a new product or service, or does it reimagine or improve an existing one? New ideas often come from listening to other people expressing frustration with how certain things are. For example, the founders of ride-sharing service Uber recognized that the lack of frequent, reliable taxi services was a huge frustration for them and their friends. They worked on finding a solution that was profitable and scalable.
Other entrepreneurs refine and improve existing products -- the classic "building a better mousetrap" approach. You may be working in an industry where you recognize room for improvement. You may decide that items you use every day can be made better, cheaper, or with more features. Your big idea may be the one that delivers the most value to consumers while making their lives more pleasant.
Once you have decided on your entrepreneurial idea, you have to determine if there is a need for the product or service you hope to market. You can only ascertain the true extent of that need through market research. It does not have to be an expensive or complex undertaking -- you could, for example, use social media to reach out to potential customers and gauge their interest. You could offer early access or future discounts to people in return for them filling out a questionnaire about your product or service.
Can you fund your start-up using your own money? If not, family and friends may agree to be early investors. Crowdfunding sites, angel investors, or venture capitalists might also be other sources of start-up funding. You could also look into local, city, or state government economic development offices to see if they have any programs that offer funding to entrepreneurs like you.
Having a co-founder is not always feasible, but certainly desirable for a number of reasons. Having someone at your side who brings the same passion but different skill sets to the business can be invaluable. Additionally, a co-founder can help you critically assess which parts of the business are working and which are not. Essentially, a co-founder can serve as a sounding board for your ideas as to the direction of the business. If it is not possible to have a co-founder, look into bringing trusted advisors, mentors, and other entrepreneurs into your circle.
Today's consumers want to feel a connection to the brands they support. By using social media to reach out to your potential customers with a compelling story that humanizes you and the business you founded, you can build loyalty and help your customers feel part of your success. Just be sure that when you use social media to communicate to customers that you are being transparent and authentic. You want your customers to trust you and your business at all times.
If you truly believe that you could build a good livelihood for yourself and for others around your ideas, then you should go for it. And you should absolutely consider reaching out to a financial professional for input and advice on the many financial and strategic details involved in running your own business.