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7 steps to becoming a successful entrepreneur

A recent study revealed that around one billion people intend to start a business in the next three years. The burning question is: How?

Entrepreneurship is having a ‘sexy’ moment. Buoyed by the success of college dropouts and tinkering teenagers, encouraged by the wealth of support available to startups, an increasing number of people want to take the leap into entrepreneurship, head first. In fact, the lifestyle change of ‘being your own boss’ is so enticing, that an OECD 2015 survey found that 69 percent of men and 58 percent of women in the US would ‘rather take a risk and build my own business than work for someone else’.

So, what are the steps you need to take to get your startup, well, started up? Here’s how you can give it a red-hot go:

1. Is there actually a demand for your idea?

Working somewhere you’re not super-passionate about can be drudgery. But, leaping into entrepreneurship without first checking if the grass can be greener on the other side for you can be worse - not to mention costly.

What’s the market like for your business - both now and into the future? What are the growth opportunities? Who are your customers? What will all of this cost?

2. Can you make money?

Our 20-year study found that successful entrepreneurs are 43 percent more interested in money than the working population. Not just enchanted by the prospect of receiving a return for great ideas, but also taking the time to reflect on margins and ROI.

Do your research on the opportunity for growth, create sales forecasts and if you’re less interested in the commercial side, team up with a co-founder whose mother-tongue is financials.

3. How much do you like what you’re planning to do?

Mick Liubinskas, a San Francisco-based technology entrepreneur defines the ‘p’ word you need to have as an aspiring entrepreneur as ‘patient passion’. “It’s hard. It really is. That’s why I need to see passion. Patient passion. Long term passion. Meaningful passion. The kind that will walk through walls, walk for miles and walk the talk,” he says.

Answer this: Is your determination to become an entrepreneur greater than your determination to ‘just get out of there’? Put another way, wanting to be an entrepreneur is simply not enough. Our founder and CEO Michelle Duval says, “You have to have an idea that you really care about - so much that you can stay with it over time and through all the challenges.”

4. PAYG - Plan as you go.

Successful entrepreneurs have little time for structure, have a flexible business plan (if they have one at all) and don’t tend to get too bogged down in detail. If this sounds like your idea of torture, you might not be suited to the entrepreneurial life. Take heart though - our research shows that these are critical strengths that can be developed, with a little help.

5. Stop waiting. Start doing.

In the entrepreneurial world, there’s no script or rehearsals and a multi-hat wearing director will call the shots. In case the reference is unclear: successful entrepreneurs don’t wait for the right time to start, they just start. In the words of everyone’s favourite mega-brand: Just do it.

6. Think beyond your idea - think BIG!

Virgin founder Richard Branson says, “When we began Virgin, I didn’t see it as an end in itself, a noun; I saw it as the beginning of a whole range of services, an adjective. Successful entrepreneurs take an idea and let it fly.” The takeout? Think big.

7. Be your own cheerleader and keep pushing.

That includes yourself. How much can you push yourself to improve, learn and stick it out? What support structures - both in your startup team and at home will you have in place to rally behind you?

An entrepreneurial lifestyle is hard work. Tools like the F4S platform can help you recognise your strengths and uncover blind spots that could see you come unstuck.

Uncover your entrepreneurial strengths and weaknesses before you take the first plunge into the world of startup. Learn more here.

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