I am approached by numerous “wannabe” entrepreneurs. I am dismayed however that the vast majority will remain “wannabes” instead of making the leap to success. Why aren’t there more entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs must have a stomach, insight and passion. Starting a business is risky. You have to be willing to work long hours for low pay and take a risk to start your business. This unwillingness to struggle and risk disqualifies many hopefuls. A startup business person must have insight into a market or customers that is realistic. (Watch for my next article about marketing) . Find a niche market and become the king of that niche. Finally, the startup must have a take no prisoners attitude in its approach. No problem can get in the way.
In Dayton, Ohio we have great resources for business. We have The Entrepreneur’s Center. Small Business Development Centers (SBDC’s) in Dayton , Fairborn, Piqua and Springfield, SCORE®, Aileron, universities, access to financing and more. Yet, the population of startup companies is very small. I am baffled.
Funny thing, when I started my business, almost none of those support systems existed. I felt there were more entrepreneurs then vs. now.
I would not trade my journey for anything. The road during the first five years was hard, even brutal. In the end, I am living the American dream reaping the rewards of creating a business that increased jobs as well as security for my family for the rest of my life.
If you really want to start a business, I suggest that following:
- Ask yourself about risk and what you are willing to do. I find that the risk question is what holds most people back. They are unwilling to meet the dream because their fear holds them back. If you want the benefits without the risk, then you don’t have what it takes. Sorry!
- Examine your business skills. If they are weak, your chances of success just went down. Build your business skills. Attend classes, read and get a business mentor. Start a small micro business just to get the test market experience.
- Get customers. The philosophy of business is simple. Get customers who are willing to pay for your products and or services. Build it at a cost lower than your selling price. It starts with the customer. See my next article about marketing
- Be realistic about your competitive advantage. Guarantee that your offering is superior. If you fool yourself, the marketplace will punish you
- Be the King (or Queen) of a niche. Don’t try to take on the big boys. I have seen business plans that want to compete with Google. Unless you have a millions of dollars to start, the business will fail. Even the largest of businesses started with a niche. Walmart built store in rural market at first instead of going head to head with the established players such as Sears. Southwest flew out of an airport in Dallas that no one else wanted or could use. Your competition is smart. if you attack a large market, the will counter punch. They are more likely to leave you alone if the market is small and you have a special expertise.
- Solve the startup capital issue. Too many entrepreneurs spend all of their time raising money. Their customers become the venture capitalists or bankers instead of the true customers. I started my business with $500 and never received a penny of venture capital, yet turned the business into a multi million dollar business. I can’t tell you how many times I see entrepreneurs roll their eyes when I tell them not to use venture capital. I will write more about this in future articles.