Beginning For An Entrepreneur
The first step to undertake: knowing yourself
- Before you focus on your business, focus on yourself and the skills that will lead to personal and business growth.
- Once you start your business, don’t stop thinking big.
It takes much more than a good idea for a business to grow. More important is the person who drives the project. The entrepreneur will be the one who will lead the company to success or suffer failure.
This creates the image of the “super entrepreneur,” who knows everything and can do everything and who, by force of will, was the one who created and made the company bigger.
But it’s not always like this. We all have talents, strengths, and weaknesses. Therefore, before starting, it is good to know yourself, analyze what makes someone a good entrepreneur, and measure the differences. The objective is to know which areas of improvement you have and get to work on them.
Self-diagnosis is decisive because the entrepreneur must first manage himself and then manage the venture. Furthermore, this is an essential element for the growth and development of an entrepreneurial team, as it represents enhancing work by complementing skills and strengths, and determining what the team members need to find and develop what is necessary.
Good advice is not to dedicate yourself only to the company as an end and propose yourself or your team as an undertaking. That is, the basis of everything is a personal business model, addressing its opportunities and weaknesses as you would with any other project or business initiative.
This will allow you to continually improve on a personal or group level and lead you to identify what your shortcomings or needs are, and thus more ideally, search for other people to complement you or the necessary training.
In the book Your Business Model, Tim Clark and other authors explain a couple of simple steps to start this introspection process:
“Organizations can attract significant human, economic, physical, and intellectual resources: people, money, equipment, real estate, and intellectual property.
“However, people are limited in terms of resources, and we depend mainly on ourselves. Your primary essential resources include:
- who you are: your interests, skills and abilities, and your personality;
- What do you have: knowledge, experience, personal and professional contacts, and other resources or tangible and intangible assets”.
Starting Point: Six Basic Entrepreneurial Skills
Although it is unnecessary to be perfect for the undertaking, it is good to know the capacities required to succeed in the modern context. From that list, you can compare what attributes you have and refine what is necessary.
For the master Ronald Brenes, an expert from the School of Business Administration for Research in Administration, Economics and Technological Management (CIADEG-TEC), there are six essential skills to become that entrepreneur who makes a company grow and gives shine to an innovative idea:
- General knowledge, or at least essential about the area in which they will be launched. They can be conceptual or technical skills. Brenes gives, for example, that one must know mechanics before opening a workshop, as with a bakery or a beauty salon.
- Motivation and self-motivation. One can speak of two types of motivations: intrinsic motivation, which the entrepreneur gives himself. It is the ‘yes I am going to achieve it,’ ‘yes it can,’ ‘this one for me.’ That is positivism and the ability to motivate oneself despite difficulties. There is also extrinsic motivation, or the support of all those people around you, who say ‘you can,’ ‘you’re good enough,’ ‘jump in, you can do it.’ Having a network of support, family, and friends is vital to get ahead in tough times.
- Take risk. This is essential because every venture involves risk. However, today there is the possibility of using tools to calculate or minimize this risk. You don’t always have to go blind. According to Brenes, we can go to an expert’s opinion or do a market study, among other possibilities.
- Proactivity. You have to anticipate problems and look for answers not to fall unprepared. It is vital to maintain a clear vision of the world and place yourself in the role of the business. Also, Brenes indicates we must carry a dynamic analysis of the interest groups related to entrepreneurship, such as consumers, suppliers, and the competition.
- Creativity. “The entrepreneur depends on creativity,” says Brenes. It’s what drives you to innovation, whether to create a new product or a new way of manufacturing or to present an existing product—the more creative the entrepreneur, the better chance to attract prospects and convert them into customers. Research and development (known as R&D) do not have to be exclusive to large corporations. Brenes points out that even a tiny personal venture can invest some time and resources in researching how to improve their recipes, lower costs or make their facilities more attractive.
- Persistence. Here we talk about applying fundamental values for the entrepreneur, such as commitment, perseverance, tolerance, and patience. In particular, Brenes highlights the importance of patience and “commitment to oneself” to achieve success.
When you decide to start, you don’t have to limit yourself. Reid Hoffman, an American investor, and co-founder of large companies such as PayPal and LinkedIn, agrees on the importance of investing in yourself as a generator of entrepreneurial success.
In this book, The start-up of you summarizes 10 essential tips to continue growing after launching into entrepreneurship:
- Be disruptive. Ask yourself: is my idea different? It has to be something that changes an industry.
- Think big. In the end, you will spend as much time on a small business as you will on a large one. Don’t be afraid to think big.
- Grow your network. It includes partners and investors, advisors, employees, and clients. With a vast network of networking, you can change the world.
- Plan for the best and the worst. Getting ahead is usually more complex than expected, so you have to go two steps further.
- Keep persistence flexible. The goal is to have a vision and be persistent. But at the same time, it is vital to have the flexibility and the ability to change based on what customers want.
- Get out there as soon as possible. Perfect is the enemy of the good, and you may be partially wrong about what you expected as the result of your product. Therefore, it is best to launch early and often. The client himself will tell you what is wrong to correct it.
- Find people who will tell you the truth. It is vital to have friends and close people willing to criticize your project. It is not about destroying your idea and aspirations but about taking advantage of the wise advice you receive.
- Be everywhere. It is crucial to have an excellent idea for a product, but having a wide distribution is vital.
- Team culture is critical. It would be best to surround yourself with a team of people capable of adapting and thriving amid change. It is imperative to get the team hiring right from the start. If someone doesn’t work out and doesn’t have that flexible mindset, it’s better to fire them.
- Break these rules. The rules of entrepreneurship are not laws of nature. They are to break them. It’s good to run over them from time to time.
More than the rules, the important thing is perseverance and the ability and desire to learn; continue acquiring the knowledge and tools necessary to continue growing personally and business.
“It is a process that never ends; it seems to me that something fundamental in that process is the capacity for ‘resilience,’ which can be developed, understanding this as the ability to adapt to adverse situations and circumstances, without giving up” warns Picado.