Today, with the internet boom, entrepreneurs have become one of the most dynamic forces in the economy. Entrepreneurs are now driving the technology boom, which is itself driving much of the world’s economic growth. This makes entrepreneurs very important from a macro-economic perspective. They have become a broader economic phenomenon that has a major impact on the economy. As the globalism of business becomes even more widespread, this impact will be felt even more deeply. Entrepreneurs are already becoming a major force in developing nations and in the economy worldwide.
The scope of what entrepreneurship involves will continue to change and evolve as the world continues to change and evolve, and yet there are some common issues of how to start a business, how to finance the business, how to run the business that within this community we can share and learn from each other. While we still have many heroes and stories, entrepreneurism is an established field with a wide range of issues at all stages of the enterprise.
A common factor for all entrepreneurs is the challenge of starting a business, be it through inventing something, looking for a new idea within a business, finding the right opportunity to break into a business or buying into a franchise. And these entire take planning – organizing all the aspects so that the entrepreneur can reach his or her goals. All entrepreneurs are also faced with financing their entrepreneurial venture. Even entrepreneurs usually are faced with financial hurdles within corporate rules. So unless the venture comes from one’s own pocket getting money is a challenge that requires preparing funding proposals or applications to be written and/or presented for loans, venture capital, angel investors or even IPO’s. There is so much information written about these stages of an entrepreneurial venture that sorting the good from the bad is an overwhelming challenge in and of itself.
Once past those challenges, however, one would think there would be smooth sailing. Given the business has a good plan; everything should proceed with minor glitches. However, the implementation stage seems to be the real make-or-break point of an entrepreneurial venture. There are hypotheses that part of the problem is that idea people and implementation people are very different breeds of people, but there are enough exceptions to that rule that is a difficult position to defend. More realistic, perhaps, is that there are such a wide variety of skills needed at the implementation stage, that no one person can have the skills to manage all the functions well. The real talent is for entrepreneurs to recognize what they do well and then find employees or subcontractors who can fill the gaps.
One way to look at this implementation stage is to look at how many different skills are involved in operating a business. Operating a business involves employees, marketing, advertising, sales, communications, public relations, legal needs, government regulations, equipping the office, risk management, disaster planning, crisis management, insurance, technology, hardware, software, the internet, and the financial aspects of the company – bookkeeping, managing debt, taxes, and barter.
Without a strong technical basis, there is no business. Above and beyond this, however, is the conceptual aspect of management: ethics, leadership, growth philosophy, and even the exit strategy of the company. These are much less tangible, yet set the overall theme and direction that the business will take.
Critical Challenges Faced by Entrepreneurs
- Money: While there are some types of businesses that can be started on a small budget, one will need access to capital to fund the business, whether that money comes from another source of household income or from some type of loan, there is a need to be realistic about startup costs. New entrepreneurs often underestimate the length of time it takes for a business to become profitable and the amount of money they will need to invest in the business before it’s profitable. Developing a thorough and honest financial plan will help to avoid this mistake.
- Skill and Knowledge: Employee’s responsibilities are limited to a narrow job description. However, at the launch of a business, one become’s responsible for everything from research and development to product delivery to bookkeeping. That means there will definitely be some tasks that will be beyond the owner’s area of expertise. Depending upon the scope of the business, the owner may or may not have staff on board to handle different responsibilities. It is important to be honest about your own limitations and seek out expert advice and the support of good mentors when needed
- Feedback: Being an entrepreneur, particularly if it is a very small or home based business, it will likely feel at times that one is working in isolation and that can cause one to question decisions. Because it takes time for a new business to become profitable, it’s very helpful to find other sources of feedback beyond the latest sales figures to assess the growth of their business. Seeking out and meeting with other entrepreneurs can help give feedback needed to understand and assess the growth of their business.
- Time: When you are becoming an entrepreneur, you’ll work harder for yourself than you would ever work for any employer. While self employment can bring flexibility to your work schedule, building a successful business requires a large investment of your time. It will be important to schedule specific work hours, and arrange childcare if necessary. Setting goals can also help you to stay on track.
To overcome these problems, a new company must develop a unique selling point and find a way to inform consumers about that advantage. Everything from the brand name to the logo to company advertisement must capture the interest and attention of the consumer. It is important to remember that customers are interested in benefits as opposed to product or service features, or as one writer put it, – what is in it for me? – The new company must be able to clearly answer this question in order to survive and grow.