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Applied Entrepreneurship 2: Acceleration Plan Development and Evaluation
What is Entrepreneurship?
The definition of entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business or creating new markets. An entrepreneur is someone who develops a business model, usually from scratch, but can also be someone who purchases a company to grow it. A serial entrepreneur is someone who develops multiple business strategies and becomes a key component in business management. According to the job-listing site, Monster, there are nine characteristics of entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial journey. They include motivation, creativity, hands-on, versatility, business skills, drive, vision, flexibility, and decisiveness.
Entrepreneurship development is the process of improving entrepreneurial skills. Through training programs, such as entrepreneurship courses and online classes, one can learn about various requirements to become successful as an entrepreneur including conducting opportunity analysis, developing a business plan, starting a small business, acquiring financing to start the company, and scaling the business. An entrepreneur should have a fundamental understanding of business skills such as accounting and finance, marketing, and strategy.
Many people wonder how to become an entrepreneur. Taking an online course in entrepreneurship can provide skills and inspiration to get you on your way. Generating an entrepreneurial mindset can improve how you think about business opportunities whether it’s for a small or large business, family-owned or venture-backed, or a social media entrepreneurship venture. Entrepreneurship training helps expose you to fundamental concepts and analytical tools such as the lean startup process to help improve your chance for success. Learn case studies from successful entrepreneurs who will inspire you and teach valuable lessons on how to grow a business from non-profits to large corporations.
Many of the world’s top business leaders were entrepreneurs who started their business and became their own boss. The list of famous male young entrepreneurs includes Steve Jobs (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Richard Branson (Virgin), Jack Ma (Alibaba), Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Sam Walton (Walmart), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Rupert Murdoch (News Corp), Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal (Snapdeal), and many more. The list of famous female entrepreneurs includes Anita Roddick (The Body Shop), Cher Wang (HTC), Folorunsho Alakija (Famfa Oil), Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Productions), Ruth Handler (Barbie), Estée Lauder (The Estée Lauder Company),Jean-Baptiste Say, Israel Kirzner, and Arianna Huffington (Huffington Post).
Lately, social entrepreneurs have become famous for their efforts to combine entrepreneurship with philanthropy. Examples of social entrepreneurs include Blake Mycoskie (Tom’s Shoes), Muhammad Yunus (Grameen Bank), Jeffrey Hollender (Seventh Generation), Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (Ben & Jerry’s), and Ibrahim Abouleish (SEKEM).
Become an Entrepreneur
Taking an entrepreneurship course on edX can sharpen your skills and determine if pursuing a masters in entrepreneurship is the right path to choose. EdX has many classes to help you better understand entrepreneurship. Some courses discuss how to come up with an idea, how to discover innovative products, understand economic development, learn about financial risk, and how to assess opportunities. Other courses will dive into how to do market research, how to choose your target audience, how to position your company, how to pitch and finance your company, and how to manage people as an entrepreneur. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur or would like to understand the American dream with the entrepreneurial mindset better, learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship by enrolling in a course today.
What are the Qualities, Characteristics, and Traits of an Entrepreneur?
Not everyone knows that they want to be an entrepreneur. Many business creations happen because someone is trying to solve a need and they fall into entrepreneurship. New ventures seem to occur for entrepreneurs because they are trying to solve problems that exist in the world today. Self-employment is a critical reason why people choose to pursue their business ideas too. Here are some common qualities that good entrepreneurs have below that become success stories at a later time.
Having a deep passion and or drive to complete something from start to finish is a common trait in many entrepreneurs. If you find yourself staying awake at night because you think you can fix something even better, or if you daydream on ways to improve something, you may be an entrepreneur without realizing it.
Risk-taking is not the same as being reckless when it comes to business owners. Entrepreneurs are known to take risks after performing some risk analysis assessment. Maybe you think you should quit your 9-5 job because you believe your attention needs to be on that new venture you work on during the weekends. You figure that you have a few months of savings to survive, so you give it that shot that it truly deserves.
Entrepreneurs are also not afraid of failing. Thinking you can make something work the next time is a trait that demonstrates dedication to a project. The expression “back to the drawing board” is a slogan entrepreneur have because they are so focused on improving on something they invest in.
Being a critical planner is a common trait with entrepreneurship. You don’t necessarily need to know every detail that you want to do with your business, but writing out your thoughts and goals is familiar with entrepreneurs. Making an official business plan is not necessary all the time, but having some idea with objectives and goals separates people who have a thought and people who want to make that into a business.
Having an exit plan is something that all entrepreneurs have in their back pocket just in case. Not all ideas work, but having an exit strategy in place just in case is always recommended. The failure rate for new businesses is very high, so having something else you can do is still crucial to entrepreneurship. The majority of famous entrepreneurs were not successful on their first go around, so that is something to remember.
How to Properly Start Your First Entrepreneurship Business?
Let's say you have a side gig on the weekends which consumes considerable time and focus from your other commitments. You decide after careful evaluations that now is the time to launch your idea as an official business. Your entrepreneurial mindset quickly races with the prospect of hiring, meeting with venture capitalists, making critical business decisions, and more. To get started, you should know the difference between a Sole Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, and an S Corporation for your new venture. Thriving entrepreneurs and successful businesses all need to choose the right structure for their company to flourish properly.
A Sole Proprietorship is when someone owns and runs the business as themselves. Anyone can be a sole proprietor if they sell goods or services to people directly. An example of a sole proprietor is someone who offers freelance graphic design to people without having an office, location, or any registered trademark. The one con of being a Sole Proprietor is that you as the owner have no protection if any legal issues arise from your business practice.
An LLC (Limited Liability Company) is a business structure that gives you financial protection from legal trouble that may arise from your services. There are many pros of being an LLC including flow-through income taxation, less paperwork compared to a corporation, and security with your assets. One difference between an LLC and a Sole Proprietorship is that there may be high membership fees and renewals depending on where you live.
An S Corporation is a business that is federally taxed and can give out stock to its employees. The owners of an S Corporation company are considered the shareholders and they have liability protection if something wrong happens. That essentially means that if the business goes under or gets sued, you as the shareholder won’t have your private bank account touched. This security is very similar to an LLC, but there are differences between the two. An S Corp protects your assets, allows easy to transfer ownership, and gives your business more credibility for angel investors to fund. Some of the disadvantages include formation, stock restrictions, and tax obligations that are more closely watched by the IRS. Being an S Corporation tends to be easier to secure venture capital from outside investors from places like Silicon Valley.
The Pitfalls of Entrepreneurship
According to Inc.com, we can expect that 96 percent of businesses fail within ten years. If you look at Forbes, they claim a similar percentage by saying that eight out of every ten business fail. Entreprenur.com also stresses that brands that don’t make their offerings personal see a downfall in today’s market. The excitement of self-employment and making money without adequately preparing for this adventure ultimately leads to a high failure rate.
There are many reasons why businesses fail, but there are a few common reasons that bring down most companies. Not understanding the marketing, business plan problems, little to no financing, inadequate resources, poor location, and expanding too quickly are all common reasons why something does not work out. Other reasons why a business may fail include competition, the economy, federal and or state rules, social change, and more.
Ways to Thrive as an Entrepreneur
Successful entrepreneurs need to have the skills and determination to see their dream work. Having the necessary resources at your disposal will keep your business venture alive as you go through the elements of a start-up business. Whether your business is in the startup phase, or maybe in the maturity years, you have to read the market regularly. Perhaps you should add new products if the market evolves outside your core offering, or maybe new ideas are needed to expand your services. Making money while growing and developing your services is key to staying in business. Even if your business is an e-commerce website, or a traditional brick and mortar store, you have to continue to evaluate the market for any external threat.
As an entrepreneur, you should tap into your network and reach out to other successful entrepreneurs to receive guidance. Mentorship is common in the United States where new business owners lean on seasoned business masters to receive advice on what to do next. There are many incredible books, meetup groups, courses on edX, and more that can help guide your business venture through the journey of self-employment and entrepreneurship to thrive.