What is entrepreneurship, and why is it important?
Entrepreneurship, in its simplest form, is the act of taking on the responsibility and risk of starting a business venture. However, time has shown us that entrepreneurship is much more than this sterile definition. It is something that takes passion and bravery to accomplish, and only the best of the best can hack it.
When someone says they are an entrepreneur, people are likely to have two thoughts: “That’s awesome, good for you!” or “Are you absolutely insane?”
Being an entrepreneur is both a stellar badge of honor and a constant cloud of insecurity. Most people are risk aversive and choose to stick to the “safe” route of working a normal 9-5. So while owning your own company is quite the golden star, it is also the risky route to making money. Entrepreneurship is about taking on these risks and challenges in order to make your passion a reality.
Entrepreneurship isn’t just about you and your passion or drive though. It’s also about the benefit your business and spirit can bring to the community, workforce and economy. Entrepreneurship is so important to the surrounding community because it adds dollars, jobs and competition to the economy. As well, entrepreneurs are usually the dreamers who come up with the latest and greatest tech the world has ever seen – think Steve Jobs, Henry Ford or Walt Disney. Without entrepreneurial start-ups, we may have been stuck in the age of taxis instead of hailing a ride with an on-demand app. Likewise, we may only have a few corporate named restaurants to eat at for date-night without entrepreneurs. The fact of the matter is that small businesses — and the entrepreneurs who brought them to life — make our lives better in so many ways.
What are the pros and cons of entrepreneurship?
If entrepreneurship was always easy and profitable, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. It’s a daunting task to take on, and it will definitely come with a number of pros and cons.
- It’s your business, so you can maintain it however you like it.
- You can work on your own schedule, anywhere you wish and use just about any method you choose to get the work done.
- If your business takes off, you will be very rich.
- You are investing time and money into your passion rather than just doing what you’re asked.
- You are saddled with the brunt of the responsibility when things turn upside down.
- You are likely to have the majority workload — at least in the beginning.
- While you do get to work on your own time this can often bleed over into your weekends, holidays or family time.
- Your passions could become your worst enemy when you begin to work with them all day.
How do I know I’m cut out to be an entrepreneur?
While there are no hard and fast rules to determine if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur, there are certainly a few questions you can ask yourself to help you determine if it’s for you:
Are you a team player or a loner?
While entrepreneurship may seem like a one-man show, in the long run, you will need to network, market and delegate. That is not to say you can’t successfully run a business all on your own but being a team player definitely helps.
How well do you handle stress?
Even in the best of times, running your own business is extremely stressful. You have to constantly worry about finances, customers and growth, among other things. You have to be able to take on these stresses day after day and face them with coolness and clarity. If you buckle under even the slightest stress, you may want to choose a less burdening business.
Are you good at making tough decisions?
Whether you are considering firing an employee, opening an office location, or deciding to pursue new revenue sources, you have to be firm and confident in making tough decisions. These decisions can make or break your business, so you have to have the confidence to give the word and stick to your decision.
Are you ok working nights, weekends or holidays?
You do have the power, as a business owner, to work 15 hours a day or 2 hours a day. This option is amazing, but the fact of the matter is that these working hours may not always come when you want them to. You may have to work while on your long-awaited family vacation or during the big game over the weekend. Whenever duty calls, you are likely to jump because that is what it takes to keep a business running.
Can you be honest with yourself?
Your business is your baby, so it’s hard to admit at times that your baby isn’t doing the best it could. As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to be honest with yourself about where your business needs improvement. If you can’t admit these things to yourself, you are likely to have a failing business sooner rather than later.
Can you play the long game?
At times, people open a business to earn a quick buck. While there are exceptions to the rule, more often than not you will have to wait a long time to see the cash flow in. Many business owners don’t even pay themselves for the first five years. If you are looking to be an entrepreneur for the cash, you may want to rethink your strategy — entrepreneurship is a long game.
How do I become an entrepreneur?
You can’t go out and buy a certificate that immediately makes you an entrepreneur. This title definitely comes with lots of work and preparation. To open your own business and earn the title, you will first need to find the product or service you want to peddle. You want to pick something that you are not only knowledgeable but passionate about. It will be this combination of passion and knowledge that will help your business succeed. Next, you will need to find your target market and write up a business plan. This will ensure you know who best to sell to and the total picture of how the business is expected to be run. Once these preliminary items are out of the way, there are a few optional parts you can take on such as networking, marketing or capital funding. As well, you will likely need to apply for a business license or alter your tax filing so you can remain an entrepreneur legally. From here, you just run your business day-to-day with the zeal and passion.
What goods/services can I realistically offer as an entrepreneur?
The wonderful thing about entrepreneurship and the history of start-ups is that you can offer nearly any good or service. Some entrepreneurs were first inventors who finally brought their products to the masses. Others, including Mōmentum Capital Funding, found a market in need and rose to meet that need with their specialized services. Now, the obvious fact is that not every business will be a booming success. Many factors determine if a business hits it big. These factors include start-up and maintenance costs, market audience and even saturation of similar products.
Can I be an entrepreneur and work for a larger company?
More often than not, the answer to this question is yes. However, there are certain instances where you may have to pump the breaks on running your own business and holding a day job. The first (and possibly most problematic) reason you can’t hold both positions is because there is a conflict between the two. If you work for a weight loss clinic and sell weight loss supplements on the side, you are in competition with your employer. In this situation, it is probably better to choose one position or the other.
Another reason may simply be you can’t juggle both given the demands of each job. If you work a desk job that is 9-5, and your entrepreneur gig requires work during these time slots as well, then it is likely your day job won’t want to pay you for running your business on their time.
Another reason you may not be able to run a business and work for a larger company is that the company simply doesn’t allow it. This is a rare occasion but some businesses don’t want the possible headache that comes with employee-owned businesses. Even if your business wouldn’t bother your boss company’s day-to-day, they don’t want to risk your business being in competition with their competitors, corrupting others, creating unwanted associations, or simply acting against their company beliefs. It is more of an image preservation tactic than a slight against their employees’ entrepreneurship.
Outside of these examples, it is very likely you are allowed to do both as long as you, personally, can handle it. It is always best to check your employer’s bi-laws and speak with the company HR department just to be on the safe side.
What is an intrapreneur?
Intrapreneurs, while not a new phenomenon, are becoming a popular addition to any company in recent years. An intrapreneur is one with an entrepreneurial spirit whom a company has trusted to take on the development or implementation of a new product or service. Essentially, a company utilizes the skills and passion of an employee who has entrepreneurial tendencies in order to get a new product or service off the ground. They back the project and person with their large company checkbook but leave the heavy lifting to the employee. This opportunity is fantastic as you are able to flex your entrepreneurial muscles without any of the financial risks. Granted, the end result is all in favor of the company, but you are often held on high for making the project a success. Intrapreneurship isn’t likely a title you will find on your company job board though. You may have to go asking around or network to find out what projects have been on the backburner and just need the right person to get them started.
Can I go to college to be an entrepreneur?
There was a time when being an entrepreneur was a skill many said you could only be born with. While there are still some who believe in this school of thought, there are many educational institutions that beg to differ. Many colleges across the nation are now offering undergraduate and graduate-level degrees in entrepreneurial studies. These programs offer classes that help you gain knowledge of finances, business lingo and effective communication skills. These programs also help students understand the nuances of what made historic entrepreneurs great such as their revolutionary ideas, tenacity, perseverance, courage, confidence or crafty nature. These programs help students learn in four years what would take a naturally occurring entrepreneur to learn in decades. Of course, a degree cannot guarantee success as an entrepreneur. But, it can offer great knowledge and resources to succeed in other areas of business given the flexibility and fitting nature of the entrepreneurial spirit.