Becoming an entrepreneur means the chance to be your own boss and pursue your greatest passions.
That’s probably why more people than ever are dreaming of starting their own business. But just because the results could be amazing doesn’t mean the process is going to be easy.
We spoke to Dave Cook, Director of Mentoring Programs at Bauer College’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, for his top six tips on what you need to know about becoming an entrepreneur — and how you can conquer any obstacles in your way.
Step 1: Discover U.
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely and difficult endeavor that will involve everything around you, not to mention your personal finances. That means it’s going to get difficult to keep going if you’re unsure of yourself. “Start by knowing you are,” Cook says. “Then make sure you know what your dreams are.”
Don’t Try to do it Alone.
Yes, you have to look inward if you’re planning to be an entrepreneur, but connecting and building a network can be even more important. Good mentors have been there, done that, designed and sold the T-shirt, and can save you incredible amounts of time and money. Plus, they’ll provide a great support system. Cook’s advice: “How do you find a mentor? You ask. The idea that entrepreneurs must be independent and work alone is false. Entrepreneurship is about relationships. You should always be looking out for possible mentors.”
#SquadGoals = More Than a Meme.
A strong team can make the difference between success and failure in entrepreneurship. According to Cook, “Your team is more important than your idea. If you have a good team, you can continue to generate good ideas. But if you don’t have a strong team, no one is going to be willing to invest in your idea.”
At the end of the day, entrepreneurship is about collaboration, which means a great team should be able to do the following:
Understand Your Markets and Finances.
Cook says: “Do you understand your value proposition? Do you know your customers and competition? You need to know exactly how your business will operate. Entrepreneurs need to make money. If you’re not making money, then all you have a hobby. Understanding the financial aspect of how your business is going to generate volume and make money is really, really important.”
Plan to Plan (A Lot).
“You need to be able to organize your thoughts and create structure out of what is a very messy process. A lot of what you’re doing has never been done before. You’re constantly experimenting, and in the process, you need some sort of discipline to keep you on time, on budget and to keep your project moving ahead.”
Pay It Forward.
“You must understand who you are as a leader. How are you going to inspire? What’s your message, and what are you going to do to bring people to your venture? You must also be able to communicate. Like it or not, being an entrepreneur means you’re going to be in sales. And your ability to persuade people that your idea has value and that they should invest or work for you is critical.”
By Priscilla Aceves