What You Need To Think About Before Becoming An Entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship starts with an individual who remains responsible for its success or failure throughout the venture. Before considering any and all external dependencies, the most important factor for entrepreneurs is an honest and realistic self-assessment. (See Investopedia's fun piece, "Ridiculous Ideas That Made People Millions.")
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to establish a good foundation for any entrepreneurial venture:
- Do I have the personality, temperament and mindset of taking on the world on my own terms?
- Do I have the required ambience and res to devote all my time to my venture?
- Do I have an exit plan ready with a clearly defined timeline in case my venture does not work?
- Do I have a concrete plan for next ‘x' months or will I face challenges midway due to family, financial or other commitments? Do I have a mitigation plan for those challenges?
- Do I have the required network to seek help and advice as needed?
- Have I identified and built bridges with experienced mentors to learn from their expertise?
- Have I prepared the rough draft of a complete risk assessment, including dependencies on external factors?
- Have I realistically assessed the potential of my offering and how it will figure in the existing market?
- If my offering is going to replace an existing product in the market, do I know how my competitors will react?
- To keep my offering secure, will it make sense to get a patent? Do I have the capacity to wait that long?
- Have I identified my target customer base for the initial phase? Do I have scalability plans ready for larger markets?
- Have I identified sales and distribution channels?
Apart from the individual specific issues, a clear assessment is also advisable for all possible external factors before embarking on an entrepreneurial venture. Ask the follow questions:
- Does my entrepreneurial venture meet local regulations and laws (like those needed for introducing a pharmaceutical drug)? If not feasible locally, can I and should I relocate to another region?
- How long does it take to get the necessary license or permissions from concerned authorities? Can I survive that long?
- Do I have a plan about getting necessary res and skilled employees, and have I made cost considerations for the same?
- What are the tentative timelines for bringing the first prototype to market or for services to be operational?
- Who are my primary customers? What are the sales channels?
- Who are the funding s I may need to approach to make this big? Is my venture good enough to convince funding stakeholders?
- What technical infrastructure do I need for my entrepreneurial venture?
- Once the business is established, will I have sufficient funds to get res and take it to next level? Will other big firms copy my model and kill my venture?
The Bottom Line:
There is no single definition or standard case study to define an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial ventures come with a lot of variety depending upon personal characteristics, local and regional issues, and external factors. Embarking on the entrepreneurial career path to being your own boss is exciting – make sure to do your homework about yourself, your offering and any external factors.