3 Things to Keep in Check While Preparing to be an Entrepreneur
There is no doubt that turning an idea into a profitable business venture is a real test for who you are, what you are made of and what you are capable of pulling off. It definitely takes a combo of abilities, skills, and habits you need to grow into to be able to build a company from scratch and grow it into a living breathing brand with a loyal community of users and team players who believe in your vision.
Just like any test you need to prepare for, you can actually prepare for the task of changing the world as an entrepreneur, and below are three things that will help you stay focused on what matters, to be ready when the time comes to press start:
1. Building your expertise
At the essence of every single startup effort is a problem/market need, it’s team is trying to solve/fill. However, building innovative solutions requires having both the theoretical and practical knowledge of the ins and outs of the problem you are trying to solve and the psychographic profile of the population affected by it. You can easily acquire information and theoretical knowledge through reading and research. However, the practical side of it requires you to have a solid understanding of operations’ management to be able to manage the process of building and constantly pivoting your business model and here is where things get sticky.
Let’s suppose you are attempting to solve the age-old problem of connecting freelancers to flexible work opportunities posted by companies, startups, NGO’s and individuals. So, you start reading and researching about freelancing (i.e. accumulating theoretical knowledge), information you gather suggests that 60% of the population lies within the working age group (15–64) and an X number of freelance gigs are added to the economy each year. Out of the working age group, those aged (24–40) express a preference towards flexible work arrangements, and that is your target user segment.
Armed with this knowledge, you launch your platform but, projects don’t seem to be completed for a reason. That strikes you as a strange observation but, after asking a few users, you find out that freelancers are not educated enough to professionally work on these projects from start to finish thus, employers are pulling the plug early on in the relationship. This observation is the type of knowledge you can’t find in books because you usually stumble against it in the course of your journey as an entrepreneur so, get your hands dirty and experiment as soon as possible.
It is always suggested that what separates successful entrepreneurs from those who don’t make it, is having the physical and mental strength to withstand fatigue and hardships (i.e. stamina). Remember the above observation (projects are not completed on your freelance platform because users are not educated enough to handle professional work). How you respond to this challenge is determined by your stamina.
Some entrepreneurs will quit under the pressure of constantly increasing bills, and administrative expenses. Others will actively look for solutions such as maybe offer training to freelancers on professionalism and delivering projects in a timely manner prior to boarding them into the system; or offer employers lower costs to compensate for inexperienced users. You can improve your stamina through exposure to experiences outside your comfort zone and constantly experimenting with different ideas and projects.
3. People Skills
As an entrepreneur, your social skills are considered one of your most valued assets because your job description usually includes convincing people to join your team, selling your idea to customers, investors, and different players in the ecosystem who might just help you get to your next milestone. Thus, you need to familiarize yourself with the biggest events, hackathons, and workshops available to you in the entrepreneurship community because these are great opportunities to find your next collaboration, co-founder, investor or mentor.