Why Entrepreneurship is About What You Know, and Not Who You Are
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ― C.S. Lewis
What is an Entrepreneur?
There has been debate over the true definition of an entrepreneur. Some believe an entrepreneur starts their own business, while others believe an entrepreneur is someone who runs a business. However, I think this definition of entrepreneurship by Howard Stevenson is best: Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled, which means that an entrepreneur spots an opportunity and pursues it regardless of what resources they have.
So why do people want to become an entrepreneur? The main reason is for more personal freedom. Most people don’t want to be stuck in the grueling cycle of going to a 9 to 5 job and then have no free time for themselves. They also want to express their creativity, something a 9 to 5 job and having a boss doesn’t allow. It may also be because they have seen others’ success stories and feel inspired to start their entrepreneurial journey.
Can Anyone Be An Entrepreneur?
Using Howard Stevenson’s definition, anyone can be an entrepreneur, as long as they have the dedication and passion for pursuing their “opportunity”. For example, Steve Jobs started Apple, a company now worth over $2 trillion, in his garage when he saw an opportunity to sell computers. He did not have many resources on hand. He had to get a loan from the bank to continue with his entrepreneurial pursuit.
Entrepreneurship requires in-depth knowledge of your business or “opportunity”. Suppose you do not have a good idea about your business. In that case, you won’t effectively create products, target the right audience, and make a good sales pitch, which is essential to have a successful business. However, this does not mean you need a Ph.D. in Computer Science or Engineering. Successful entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates all dropped out of college to pursue their “opportunities”. Of course, this does not mean that you should drop out of school, but it shows that it doesn’t matter who you are. You can still be a successful entrepreneur if you put in the work.
How do I Start a Business?
First, you need a product and good background knowledge of that product. That is why most entrepreneurs start their businesses with things that they enjoy. Suppose you feel passionate about a certain subject. In that case, you will most likely have lots of background knowledge on it, so you do not need to do as much additional research about your product. Also, starting a business on what you are passionate about can make work easier. Since you enjoy, for example, technology and gadgets, you would not feel that you are “working” if you are creating a new device. Instead, you may be having fun and enjoying yourself, which can also help prevent you from losing your drive and giving up early in your entrepreneurial journey.
An example of this is Bill Gates. He started creating computer software due to his passion for programming, which allowed him to sell this software he created to create the tech giant we know today as Microsoft.
Once you know what you want to do for your business, it’s time to create a product. There are many ways you can find a product. One way to come up with a product is to ask your friends what frustrates them. Entrepreneurs get inspiration from their frustrations all the time:
- Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp started Uber after they had trouble getting a cab.
- Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail founded Venmo after they had trouble paying each other back by check.
Another way is to look for products that are within your expertise. For example, if you have good knowledge of tech, look to sell computers or other gadgets. If you use this strategy, you must keep in mind that the category will be very competitive. When looking for a product, it is best to find a niche that is not too competitive but has a good number of customers. A benefit of using this strategy is that you can look at your competitors to get an idea of what your advertisements should look like. You can then present your product in a unique and enticing way to stand out from the competition.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Successful Entrepreneur?
One of the essential skills in entrepreneurship is strategic thinking and planning. We’ve all heard the saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Planning is vital as you need to understand your end goal and what steps you need to take to achieve it. If you do not plan at first, you will be blindly stumbling, and you will get confused while creating your business.
Another critical skill is understanding your market. Many entrepreneurs fail due to the lack of understanding of their customers and their competition. You must thoroughly research your competitors and know exactly who your target audience is.
As you may know, marketing is also an essential part of entrepreneurship. Good marketing allows you to target your customers with advertisements that will get them to buy your product. A good idea to plan your target audience is to imagine yourself as your ideal customer. Then, create an advertisement that will entice that perfect customer to buy the product.
To become a successful entrepreneur, you must have a particular set of skills and have good background knowledge of the product you want to sell. These skills are planning, understanding of your niche, and marketing. You also must have some prior experience of your product to market it effectively.
All in all, anyone can be an entrepreneur as long as they have the required skills and knowledge, which is why entrepreneurship is all about your knowledge and not about who you are.
Ivan Yuk is a high school student with the passion in writing. He is aspiring to be a successful entrepreneur, and is also an avid stock trader. He also loves learning more about the world around him and how things work.