Startup Businesses - January 14, 2012
Blogs and websites can go on and on about the various traits that make up the ultimate entrepreneur, including self-sufficiency, determination and problem-solving skills. As the lists get more specific, some characteristics come to light that do not necessarily fit the traits of many of the most successful business builders worldwide. Yes, some behaviors are important to demonstrate when starting a new business, but others carry less weight. If you feel as if you do not fill the specific mold for a stereotypical entrepreneur but have a business idea you want to pursue, don't let a few lists deter you. Research the concept, secure adequate funding and get started on a new company that plays off your strengths and determined spirit.
There is no time like the present to start a new business, with New Year's resolutions in mind and everyone seeking a fresh start. The recent economic downturn may have forced some potential entrepreneurs to put an inspired idea on the back burner until conditions became more favorable. Many markets dropped in value, consumer spending declined and lending nearly froze as a result of the financial crisis. Now that lending has started to gain momentum and consumers are spending a bit more, many entrepreneurs are rekindling their business ventures and putting plans into motion. Make it a goal to pursue any new ideas or concepts that have been stewing over the past few years to take advantage of the recovering market before other entrepreneurs start to come out of the woodwork.
Grabbing a hold of an untapped market early is key to securing market share and growing a strong reputation with consumers and peers. If the idea that is being pursued aims to fill a void in an industry or meet the demands of a new generation of consumers, it is best not to hold off too long before conceptualizing a business model. While the new business venture may seem like a unique idea that no one else has thought of at first, many young business builders may be right on the heels of a breakthrough idea, getting ready to launch their own version in a heartbeat. Don't let small distractions or uncertainties derail entrepreneurial aspirations. Rather, prepare what is needed to move forward with a strong strategy and ample resources for success.
One factor that might hold some ground-breaking thinkers back from pursuing a new business idea is the fear of failure. Because many entrepreneurs will use a 401(k) or seek venture capitalist backing to fund a project, it may seem as if not turning a profit could have long-term financial effects. But many entrepreneurial ventures that do not result in the launch of a multi-billion dollar corporation end up being valuable learning experiences that help guide and support highly lucrative decisions and efforts in the future. Not all successful entrepreneurs turned their first idea into a profitable business. In fact, most probably failed a few times, learned important lessons and identified best practices along the way. In trying new things and experimenting, entrepreneurs can learn how to take an inspired concept and introduce it to the right people with the appropriate tools to give it a fighting chance in the marketplace. Fearing the first business venture will not succeed should not be a deterrent for launching a new idea.
Another fear for many potential entrepreneurs is not knowing what to do with the company once it has launched. Some entrepreneurs are creative minds that enjoy breaking down markets and needs to find solutions. These thinkers may not have the natural skill set to understand that once an idea becomes a business, it must be nurtured and supported for continued growth. With limited or no business experience, many entrepreneurs have been able to learn on the job how best to launch, sustain and grow a business from the ground up. Understanding what a company needs to meet demands and thrive requires market research into the resources and tools that will aid with expansion. Partner with business mentors or financially savvy professionals to gain insight into economic stability, ensuring both left and right brain specialties are present.
Entrepreneurs are often known to be extroverts who have confidence about public speaking skills and a strong talent for networking. Many have the innate ability to walk into a room full of business leaders and investors to deliver a business pitch without getting nervous or intimidated. The confidence they have in their business idea and their determination to make the venture succeed gives them strength and drive to engage a boardroom and persuade nonbelievers.
But not all successful entrepreneurs house these traits. In fact, some very well-known entrepreneurs have a quieter demeanor that does not lend itself to being comfortable delivering large presentations or asking strangers for funding. Introverts need not fear they will be unable to run a business. Shy or timid entrepreneurs can still learn how to communicate the value of the business concept to the right audience, even if their personalities are less than boisterous.
First, the entrepreneurs must channel their passion for the idea into determination to step outside their comfort zone. Introverts can practice confronting public speaking or other challenges by trying something new and slightly scary each day to get used to being uneasy. The more fears introverts overcome, the more confident they will feel in pursuing a business venture they truly believe in. From there, shy business builders can start to take steps to build the company by gauging consumer interest. Cold calling and networking with industry peers are good exercises to get introverts more comfortable with rejection, speaking to strangers and communicating a business idea to the public. After a few efforts, introverts may start to understand what communication styles work with different audiences and become more comfortable discussing the business concept, which will help when approaching partners and investors. Don't take shyness or timidity as a sign that you are not fit to be an entrepreneur. Rather, consider being an introvert as just another challenge to overcome when building a business foundation and breaking out into a new market.