How to become an entrepreneur
Drive. Perseverance. Persuasiveness. It’s true that entrepreneurs have developed certain traits that set them apart. But they’ve also discovered that learning how to become an entrepreneur is a combination of mindset, knowledge and strategy.
Once you master how to become a successful entrepreneur, you can level up your game to become a serial entrepreneur – one who moves more quickly through the business cycle, retaining stakes in each business they build. Start with these strategies for becoming an entrepreneur and move up from there.
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1. Find your passion
There are thousands of potential businesses you can start. Why not make it one that excites you, drives you and makes you jump out of bed every morning? Make it one that’s deeply connected to your purpose in life, that allows you to give back and grow as an entrepreneur and as a person. Connecting your venture back to your passion gives you the energy and vitality you need to crush obstacles in your path, and the resilience you need to eliminate fear of failure – two of the most vital traits of successful business entrepreneurs.
2. Build relationships
Becoming an entrepreneur is about relationships. You may think it’s about getting investors, creating ultra-efficient processes or hiring superstar salespeople – but your ability to connect with others underlies all of those accomplishments. With the right relationships, you’ll be able to use the power of leverage to help build your business. You can even start a business with no investment at all. Recognize the power of proximity and focus on networking, and you’ll be surprised how far you’ll go.
3. Create a business map
Having a plan for your business is just as crucial as having the right mindset. You wouldn’t drive to a cabin in the woods without a map, and you won’t build a successful business without one either. A business map takes into account every possibility for your venture and helps you think outside the box when problem-solving. You can also create a more traditional business plan that details your company and can help you attract investors and top talent.
4. Determine your target audience
Part of building your business plan is determining your target audience, or the people who are most likely to become raving fan customers. This part of how to become an entrepreneur requires research and critical thinking. Learn about your industry, your competitors and your potential customers. Use industry publications and other sources to gather data. Then create your market segmentation strategy and your buyer personas, and you’re almost ready to start marketing.
5. Focus on value
Now that you have your target audience, your next question is: What matters most to them? How can you provide more value than anyone else? Business is a sport for gladiators, and those who survive know one secret others don’t: You must find your X factor. You must differentiate your product or service from the competition and clearly communicate to customers why you are better. Without this ability, you’ll never discover how to become a successful entrepreneur.
6. Create a marketing strategy
Marketing seems complicated, but it comes down to this: Your audience + your X factor = your marketing strategy. Becoming an entrepreneur means discovering what sets you apart – and then leveraging it. There are many ways you can do this, depending on your product, your industry and your audience. Lead generation is one strategy that works for nearly any business. Influencer marketing is cost-effective and helps reach younger audiences. There are many marketing strategies, so find what works for you and go for it.
7. Set goals
Want to know how to become an entrepreneur? Set a goal, work toward it and accomplish it. Then set another one. Repeat the process until you’ve built a successful company. It isn’t always easy to stay on track, especially when you inevitably reach plateaus in your progress. Goal-setting gives you something to work toward and can even help inspire you to reach higher and go farther. Use SMART goals – which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and anchored within a Time Frame – to track your progress and celebrate successes, and you’ll create a cycle of success.
8. Work on your leadership skills
You may start off solo or with a partner or two, but every business entrepreneur will eventually have to lead a team. The ability to inspire and influence others can be the difference between building a global, million-dollar brand or becoming one of the 45% of businesses that fail in their first five years. Luckily, leadership skills aren’t something you’re born with, they’re something you can develop. Get started by identifying your leadership style, then working to improve your weak spots and becoming more adaptable.
9. Keep learning
Discovering how to become an entrepreneur is a process, not a destination. You must commit to constant and never-ending improvement in both your business and your personal development. Increase your creativity and innovation by feeding your mind the right fuel, getting outside your comfort zone and actively seeking out new ideas and perspectives. Find a mentor – better yet, find several mentors. Sign up for business coaching to take your mindset to the next level. The ways to grow are endless if you know where to look.
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