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Robert S.

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What should my first steps be to become a successful entrepreneur?

In the future I see myself creating my own business to help change the world. However, I do not know what my first steps should be in doing this. Do I start in college by taking some business classes or do I start earlier in high school?
#business #entrepreneurship

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Becoming a successful entrepreneur is an exciting process where you can dream big, solve a huge problem, change the world, and hopefully make some good money along the way. There are many steps in the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur. And, certainly books (2 recommendations below) and classes can help you understand the process better. The first and most important step in becoming an entrepreneur is to be clear on understanding why you want to be one in the first place. For example, are you a dreamer always coming up with ideas to solve problems? Do you want the freedom of running your own business and being your own boss? Are you looking to make lots of money if you can make your idea a successful business? Are you ok dealing with high levels of risk and uncertainty? Do you have the tenacity and grit to preserve and overcome tons of obstacles along the way? If you have answered yes to many of the questions above, then you are all set to start the process of becoming an entrepreneur. The first step in any great business is to figure out a big problem worth solving. Doing this well takes lots of research and interviews with your target customer. You need to understand: -Their current level of satisfaction and pain points with products on the market today -The ideal dream states for your customers that would make their lives easier/better -Key market trends for the next 3, 5 and 10 years -The strengths and weaknesses of competitors -The substitutes for solving this customer problem Once you have a clear definition of a problem worth solving, then you must now put on your creative hat and brainstorm all of the potential ways you can solve this problem. The goal is to conclude the brainstorming with a solid product concept worth evolving into a potential business. Brainstorming is often better with a small group so if possible get together with friends and others who are passionate about solving the same problem. Some good brainstorming techniques include: -Encourage your team to dream and think big and bold about revolutionary, not evolutionary growth and ideas -Get some sticky notes and ask the team to write 5 ways they could solve this problem and paste them on the wall -Then group the answers into common themes -Ask your team to come up with 5 more ideas in each of the themes -Try to summarize each of the best ideas in less than 8 words -Pick the best idea(s) to evaluate further (remind everybody not to evaluate ideas until the end so you don’t kill any ideas too early) Hopefully your brainstorming led to an awesome new product concept. If so, the next stage is to go back to some target users and discuss the concept further. Get feedback, test various ideas and continue to evolve the concept. The process of continually testing and validating hypotheses and ideas is critical for any new venture. Once the product concept refined, you will now need to do some analysis on the rough costs to build the product and begin to build a business plan using much of what you have learned to this point. Any good business plan should cover: -A clear and simple definition of the problem you are solving (and unmet user needs) -An overview of the size of the market opportunity for addressing this problem (ideally this is big and growing) -Your product concept and how it solves the customer’s problems better than anything else on the planet -Backgrounds for you and team and why you are very well equipped to succeed -You may want to recruit a small team at this stage too -You may also want to list any advisors you have with professional experience -A rough financial plan that is both realistic and aspirational With a business plan in place, you’re ready now to raise some money to help you kick off the business. Before you start raising money you need to practice presenting your business plan and telling its story in a simple and compelling way. You will need a good ‘elevator pitch’--A persuasive 20-30 second summary of your product, the problem it solves and the big opportunity if you succeed. Think about what is most exciting about what you are doing and how it solves a huge need. Investors want you to be both very confident and also adaptable as you get new learning along the way. You may want to start with friends and family, and over time engage with real financial investors for growing businesses. After you have raised money, hired a small team and figured out how to build your product, you are ready to bring your product to market as an entrepreneur. This is an important and first step that marks the beginning of an exciting and challenging journey, one that will take 110% of your best efforts if you want to realize your dreams. Good luck!
Last updated Jan 23 at 02:07 AM

Hundreds of businesses are started each day around the globe. They range in size from a few dollars of revenue to giant sums of money. For the entrepreneur, starting out can be very challenging or if one has the appropriate backing and experience, very easy. Every business starts with an idea!

Good ideas are a “dime a dozen”, translating those ideas into goods and services (and making a profit) is not for the easily discouraged. While success is particularly satisfying as an entrepreneur, the amount of time, effort and difficulty will not be minimal.


Some of the elements to consider are listed below, not all, but a sampling of questions you might want to begin with: Do you have the self-discipline, drive and dedication to your venture? Do you have the personal communication skills, sales ability and technical knowledge necessary to market and sell your product or service?


Do you have the financial backing to embark on your venture? If you’re living at home and are receiving food, clothing and shelter, insurance, transportation and a space for your venture, that’s great. If you are missing any of these resources, it will be necessary to provide them while you are starting your business. That said, people have started businesses on a “shoestring” but it is VERY difficult to do and adds to the already high stress involved with a startup.


Do you have the core competencies to start the business? That is, the analytical skills, financial tools, marketing strategy etc. It helps to list the resources you need, the resources you have and the gap between the two. Filling in the gaps with resources will be an important part of your business planning.


Have you defined what your business will be, who are your likely customers and why they are likely to purchase your product or services? Have you explored other companies in the same field? How would you differentiate your business from theirs? Where are your potential customers?


Once you have some of these questions answered, out, you’ll be ready to begin a formal business plan, developing all the details of your concept and delivery scheme.


It sounds like a lot but it's done every day. I started my company with a very simple "pitch". I would go to companies and ask them if they had any items they had difficulty finding, were obsolete but still needed or if former suppliers had abandoned the needed product or gone out of business. I told my potential clients that I really wasn't interested in competing with existing suppliers, taking someone's business or becoming an additional supplier to be used as leverage against their present suppliers. I found that most companies had at least a few products they had difficulty getting. I also had a great deal of experience with suppliers in the U.S, and in other parts of the world, and some of the best engineering resources around. Once I got an order, I would find a supplier or manufacturer and if I supplied what they wanted, they would come back with something else. It was a slow first YEAR......fifteen years later, I'm ready to close the business and retire. I had to learn a lot in the process and it wasn't easy. It was very satisfying and rewarding.


So talk to some people who've started their businesses and ask them how they did it.....I'm sure most will talk with you. Listen carefully to their responses....You can start today, it won't cost you anything and you'll have taken a valuable first step.


Good Luck


Don Knapik

This professional recommends the following next steps:

  • Fully develop the idea of the product or service you want to start. Will you enter a competitive field or develop a unique product or service? What characteristics will your product or service have that will distinguish it from others.
  • Define what skills, resources and experience you have. List them. Then define what skills resources and experience you don't have and begin finding ways to acquire them.
  • Start formulating a general business plan including a schedule of how you are planning to proceed, create a timeline and establish financial requirements.
Last updated Feb 10 at 10:17 PM
Great choice - the startup world is an exciting and booming place! You can start as early as now. Follow startup blogs, read the paper everyday, and get an idea of what the latest trends are. The most important think when founding a business is having a passion for a certain industry/product...what gap are you filling in the market? Start to think about the industries you are interested and become an expert in them...either by taking classes or doing your own research.
Last updated Jan 19 at 06:39 PM
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