One of the most answered questions for people looking to start a business is ‘How do I know I’m an entrepreneur?’ However, the reality is that most people that decide to start a business don’t even think of asking whether they’re an entrepreneur. In fact, if you ask some successful entrepreneurs they’ll ask you why you’re wasting your time with questions that don’t help your business or make you money.
There is much wisdom in that reply. I’ve seen people struggle with whether they should start a business or not for years. Yet, business isn’t a question of ‘whether’ to start, but of ‘how’ to start. If you have a true, burning desire to start a business then you should start one and you’re focus should be on how to do it.
Before you start, make sure you’re clear on the difference between an entrepreneur, a business owner, and someone who makes a lot of money. An entrepreneur is someone who finds a new way to leverage existing resources, sometimes resources he/she may not own directly. An entrepreneur is opportunistic, a risk taker and is successful by working in undefined markets, opportunities or where there are little or no protocols. A business owner is someone who owns an organization which produces a product or service and which can operate (hopefully at a profit) even in their absence. Someone who makes a lot of money is an individual who knows how to negotiate, persuade, and by whatever means accumulate money. Which one do you want to be?
Now that you’re clear on that point, you can focus on getting down to business. Assuming you want to be a business owner (which is different from a self-employed individual, but for this purpose we’ll include it in our discussion), there are some specific questions that need to be answered and tasks that need to be done:
1. What is the model of your business? By answering this question one should be clear on what you’re selling to who, how you deliver the product/service and how you get paid.
2. Is there a market for this product/service and is there room for another business and in what form?
3. What resources, equipment, expertise and human capital do I need for the business?
4. What are my start-up and operating costs for the business (use 2 year projections)?
5. What is my marketing and sales plan to get my revenue to a level capable of justifying the business?
6. What government rules, regulations and paperwork do I need to get started and to operate the business?
7. How much money do I need to finance my business plan to the point where the business is generating enough cash flow to mete my needs?
8. Where and how will I get the capital and resources to succeed in the business?
If after answering these questions you still have the desire to start your business then I would say that is a very good indication of you being an entrepreneur. If you succeed at starting the business and getting it to profitability then I would say you’re a successful entrepreneur. However, remember that unless the business can run without you, that doesn’t necessarily make you a business owner.