There’s a lot of misconceptions about what it takes to become an entrepreneur, and it’s those misconceptions that keep a lot of people from even trying. Do you think you’re too poor? Unorganized? Too young? On the flip side of that, do you constantly sit back and wish you took advantage of ideas you had when you were younger?
Here’s the reality: there are thousands of success stories out there from people who were in a worse position than you when they got started and overcame the odds. Colonel Sanders of KFC fame was 65 when he opened his first restaurant. Yet Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest billionaire in the world at 23.
If you want to become an entrepreneur, don’t distract yourself with negative thoughts. You don’t need decades of experience, hefty qualifications, or a stuffed bank account. All you need to become an entrepreneur is a basic concept or creation that brings in money and energy.
That’s it. Money can be borrowed, experience comes with trying, and what you don’t know about marketing can be learned by picking up a few books on Amazon or hiring a coach to help you.
So now that we got all that mindset stuff out of the way, let’s get into the nitty-gritty on how to become a successful entrepreneur.
You Just Need an Idea
Listen, ideas are cheap and disposable. We often overvalue their worth, and because of that, end up overthinking to come up with the next amazing doohickey no one has ever thought of before. But that’s not how a lot of innovations are made. Rarely is the golden ticket of ideas ever discovered. Sometimes the answer is incredibly simple and uncomplicated.
Starbucks was started by three school teachers who decided to sell coffee in Seattle. Who knew? Facebook took off by piggybacking MySpace. Google thought it could make a better Yahoo. And who doesn’t know that Microsoft stole ideas from Apple… who stole ideas from Xerox? This goes to show that you don’t need the golden ticket idea. You just need an idea, whether simple or complex, that you implement at the perfect time.
Do not wait until the market is already saturated to take advantage of a need.
I mentioned Google wanting to create a better search engine than Yahoo—which is what they did—but perhaps Bing waited a bit too long on the draw. Now that the marketplace is saturated with search engines trying to compete, you would fail trying to create your own.
The point is, you don’t need an original thought or idea. You just have to find an area of the market that’s under-represented and fill those needs. This is also why competition isn’t something to shy away from. Can you believe that Burger King opened next to a McDonalds and has thrived so far as their competitor? That’s because McDonald’s already did all the hard work in creating an audience and the market wasn’t saturated.
A lot of potential entrepreneurs might get through the idea stage, but get stuck at figuring out how to get started. This fear can keep them from even starting, as the beginning of the process is where you’re probably going to fail. The reality is, a lot of businesses fail in the initial stages. It’s not uncommon for an entrepreneur to stumble their way through multiple ideas, learning as they go.
And that’s perfectly okay. If you’re so crippled by fear to even start, you’ve lost already.
There’s no hope for you. But if you give it a shot and learn from your mistakes as you go, you might be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
A huge part of the process is figuring out how to get people invested in you and your idea, even before they probably should. Think about it. We mostly gravitate towards products/businesses that we know have a good track record of service. If there’s any fear whatsoever of being taken advantage of or that we might waste our money, we will bolt.
Every business has this inherent challenge of getting those first customers to take a chance. Think about Steve Jobs. The guy had no money, nor any customers. He built an empire literally from nothing, in a garage.
Before he even had a product, he managed to convince a local computer store owner to invest in him, cash up front. He used that cash to buy the parts needed to build the computers. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Build a solid base and grow from there.
Pull Yourself Out
Every mega corporation has a system in place to ensure that operations continue, regardless of what happens at the top. Would your business continue to thrive if you were no longer the CEO? If not, then that’s a problem. In a lot of ways, you need to make yourself redundant instead of a slave to your idea. You start out doing everything yourself and might decide to hire help as it continues to grow, but you’re still taking on many of the tasks.
Think of your business like a machine with numerous working parts. You yourself shouldn’t be one of those parts or the irreplaceable part that runs all the other parts. Your role is much larger than that.
Instead, you’re the builder of the machine. You put the parts in place to keep it running smoothly. You need to focus your attention on the machine, not on wasting your energy as one of the working parts, or else the machine itself might just fall apart due to lack of proper maintenance.
This is the trap so many businesses fall into. If the entire thing revolves around you, then it will live and die with you, and you won’t grow. Smart businesses that last the test of time have a system in place to take care of the everyday stuff.
Consider any fast food chain in the world as an example. They bring in billions of dollars in profits, but that’s because of the system they implemented. If there’s a need, plug someone in to fill it. The whole system is being run mostly on minimum wage workers, but the system is flawless and efficient, so it works.
Keep it self-sustaining and it will succeed.
Starting a business doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Sometimes it’s about luck and perfect timing. Ideas can be simple and borrowed, as long as you have the desire to succeed and believe you can offer the market something the competition doesn’t. Don’t give up if you experience failure—and you most likely will. Learn and grow as you go. And once you get going, make it self-sustaining, and it will last through the ages.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.