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How to Become an Entrepreneur – 10 Steps to Being Your Own Boss

Updated on March 7, 2013
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It may sound like one of the toughest things to do when you look at it from the outside – how to become an entrepreneur is a question that could be worth a million dollars or more if you know how to take the bull by its horns. Here are a few steps that would get you thinking in the direction, while reducing the chances of your taking a misstep. Entrepreneurial mistakes have financial implications for your own future, and impact the lives of many more in the course of your entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs are Made, Not Born

The debate is on whether leaders are born, or are made. Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are invariably made or are self-made. To become an entrepreneur, you need to know that you can make yourself great by virtue of your own willingness and will power. The worst obstacle that you could face is self-doubt. It is true that some people have the innate ability to take risks, and the inherent aptitude for dealing with uncertainty. But that is no guarantee for success nevertheless. If you have your instincts urging you to call the shots, go for it.

Great Men Think Different

If you heard people say that great men think alike, rest assured that they got it wrong. To begin with, people were never born great – rather, they became so because they never dreaded taking the path less travelled. Entrepreneurial ability has much to do with your willingness to venture beyond your own self-imposed limitations. The moment you start asking “why not” and start questioning the status quo, you would have already set off on the path to entrepreneurship.

Be Sure in Business

While that may seem too simplistic a recipe for success, the irony is that many people tend to get caught not in the flow of things but in their own doubts about their abilities and capabilities. It’s not just about what you can and what you cannot – rather, it is about whether you are sure you can or you keep looking at the negative side of the equation. People who walk the tight rope slip the moment they look at the ground below, and not at the rope that keeps them walking. Whatever you decide to do, do it with all your heart, and give it all that you have.

Go Ahead and Take Risks

You are never safe in life. The moment you were formed in your mom’s womb, you were shrouded in all kinds of uncertainties. If you are alive today reading this, you are lucky that you have not succumbed to the whole host of risks that you took all through your journey called life. You do not have to step out of your home to take risks – how could you be sure that your heart would continue to beat the next moment? Yet, life goes on - and so do entrepreneurs. Great entrepreneurs never shy away from taking risks. Rather, they realise that risk taking is an integral part of life; they go for it.

But Then, Know Your Limits

Life is all about balance. While you have the potential to become Great, you were not born a Superman either! There is a good deal of difference between being perennially optimistic and being realistic. For all the might that your mind might perceive you to be, you still operate within the realms of reality. You may well be the Neo of Matrix, but if you have not acquired the ability to see through the wall, you are not ready for it yet. Successful entrepreneurs are always grounded in reality and have their feet firm on the ground even as they aimed for the sky!

Have a Plan

Dreams are the building blocks of mighty structures – but great cities were never built without a plan. Planning is one of the first steps in the principles of management. Dreams propel you towards action – but actions may mean nothing if they were not bound together by a plan. What is your objective? Why do you do what you are doing? Where do you find yourself at the moment? Where do you want to be in the space of time? How much will you have to invest? How much would it cost in terms of time and energy? What would you need to achieve your objective? How would you get those tools? Plan!

Spot an Opportunity

Plans are nothing without opportunities. Henry Ford saw an opportunity when he decided to build auto mobiles – would building auto mobiles be the best opportunity for you today? Which industry has the best growth potential? Where do you see money flowing? Where do you find needs that have not been served by existing products and services? Opportunities do not need to be global; you may find that your neighbourhood has a basic service lacking – which you may have access to. How about tapping into your networks and contacts to get the missing service to your locality? If you are a technocrat, is there an on-line business opportunity that you could leverage? Is there a link between your ability to go global using the powers of the internet and the basic needs that exist in your neighbourhood? To become an entrepreneur, you need to spot business opportunities – and identify consumer needs.

Know Your Strengths – and Weaknesses

Not every opportunity is for everyone. There are many who run behind making money online. If it were so easy for anyone and everyone to make money online, there should be only one profession today. If it is not your cup of tea, think of another opportunity. The world is full of opportunities – but what are your strengths? For a planet that has been playing host to billions of lives, there has to be a set of opportunities that are in line with your own strengths. The first step to become an entrepreneur starts with knowing your own strengths and weaknesses. Even if there were an enormous potential in an area that you know nothing about, stay away. Start with something that you know like the back of your hand – or something that is intuitively appealing as your area of action. If you cannot know your own strengths and weaknesses, you cannot possibly understand what your consumer needs.

Beware of Scams

The world is no paradise – and not everyone is an altruist. You cannot overlook the gravity of scams that surround the idea of starting your own business. When you are more than eager to start your own business, there would be many more that would see you as their opportunity to make money. Internet scams as well as scams in the real world make it difficult to spot genuine business opportunities. Think before you take the big leap – and solicit information through various sources. If you are in doubt, hold yourself back and give it a hard look. If it is too good to be true, it probably is!

Have Cash to Back You Up

This is a golden rule that can never be stressed enough. Most start-ups fail for want of cash. Liquidity is the lifeline of business. Taking good care of all the nine preceding steps does not do away with the chances of business failure, if you were ill-prepared to meet contingencies. Cash flow in business tends to be invariably less than what you expected and planned for. You have no control over your customers and your debtors – and you should have abundant room for expenses to shoot up despite the best of your plans. Business is about making money, online or offline, but that does require you to invest enough to at least hold yourself above the waters and sustain till your returns on investments start pouring in from your business venture. If you can get them all in place, you are all geared to start your own business and write your own success story!

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