Becoming an entrepreneur
What is an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur sets up, invests in and runs businesses using their own money and at their own financial risk.
You don’t have to invent things to be an entrepreneur
Not all entrepreneurs are inventors, and not every inventor is an entrepreneur. Many inventions are not marketed, perhaps because the inventor may not have the skills or ambition needed. This is where an entrepreneur can come in with business sense and knowledge. You do need to see possibilities, to anticipate needs, and to spot (or even start) trends.
Difference between being an entrepreneur and being self employed
Working for yourself shows enterprising tendencies, but it doesn’t always embrace the entire entrepreneur experience. An accountant, software engineer or childminder can be self-employed, but they are usually doing much the same work as a fellow professional who works as an employee and may not always invest their own money into growing their business. An entrepreneur may start out with their own small business, and would be highly inspired to expand, franchise their brand or sell on the business to gain investment capital for other ventures.
Entrepreneurship requires commitment
There are many characteristics you would need as an entrepreneurship, including commitment. An entrepreneur is never off duty or uncontactable, working weekends, evenings and on holiday if needed, developing their investment. You would also need to be decisive, flexible, persistent, resourceful, and prepared to take risks. Don’t underestimate the effort and dedication involved in even a small-scale venture.
Where entrepreneurs get their ideas
There are no limits to where an innovative idea could come from – life experiences, business ideas, employment experience or driving along in the car. Their idea could be a solution to a gap in the market or designed to solve a frequently-encountered problem. It might be part of a current trend or even start a new one.Back to top
Setting up an enterprise
Many businesses start in the spare room or on a kitchen table. Initial outlay can be small; it’s when you have to rent premises or find equipment that cash-flow problems might begin. At this point, outgoings usually outweigh any incomings for a period of time.
You may need to use your own money until a business loan is awarded, on the strength of progress made. You may take a very small salary to cover your essential living costs or gain employment, while you develop your own business or exist on any savings until your entrepreneurial idea generates a financial return.
- Do your research – ask friends, family, wider social circle for their help, advice and insights.
- Build your problem-solving skills or find someone who already has them - there will be challenges that crop up all the time, be prepared for these.
- Do as much as you can yourself but recognise the limits of your expertise where it really counts and be prepared to pay for specialists where required.
- Develop and refine the business as you learn and as it grows.
- Aim high but remain flexible and adaptable - small businesses need to be unique or innovative to survive.
- Market yourself and your enterprise.
- Develop your networks of people - those who can help and those who can advise and those who can help and support you in specific ways.
- Trust your instincts - and be prepared to listen to your customers/potential customers to really hone what you need to do.
- Do your sums - you have to know what your outgoings are, how much you’re likely to make and when.
- Persevere and show drive, belief and passion in your enterprise - if you can do that, you’ll have a really good chance of getting off the ground.