Work has become increasingly meaningful to younger generations. Entrepreneurship attracts young talent in search of a purpose and fulfillment aside from a big exit at the end of the road. Young leaders want to become independent, but they also want to make a positive contribution to society. Creating a business isn’t a walk in the park, even when they have a vision of innovation and change. There is a lot of preparation involved. Before starting your own business, take a moment to answer these 10 questions:
- Why do you want to start your own business?
On social media, entrepreneurship is over-glorified and misrepresented. As a matter of fact, building a business that solves a consumer problem is what it’s all about. Posting nice pictures on social media or driving nice cars isn’t what it’s about. The reality of entrepreneurship is quite different from what we see on social media.
What makes an entrepreneur successful? Is it luck, genetics, or the environment around him? Yes — somewhat, for sure. But also, anyone can solve problems anywhere in the world. The same is true for both small and large problems. The choice comes in the decision to find people who have needs, wants and issues that you can offer a solution for.
It also depends on how obsessed we are willing to become with the solution and how far we are willing to go to serve our customers well.
- What is the problem that particularly affects you?
If you want to have a viable business, it is important to have a clear mission. Given the purpose of your project, you will have to learn about the real needs of your territory. Start by doing market research to understand what people face daily and expect as solutions.
Beyond the business solution also comes the personal and emotional responsibility — shaping and growing ourselves to be able to handle and maneuver through constant stress and difficulties. That means developing personal awareness to see our shortcomings and making up for those with intelligent business decisions, and it means balancing planning and strategizing with actual, excellent execution.
- What do you want to achieve?
Describe your ideal project. Imagine your project in the way that it could fully blossom, ignoring the current constraints. Through this exercise, project yourself one year from now and then two to three years from now. Identify as precisely as possible what you would like to achieve through the realization of this project. Even in the early stages of creation, it is very important to reflect on your vision, mission and goals.
- Do you have the skills to implement your project?
Let’s face it, you can’t make an impact on the world with beautiful values alone. Daring to go through this path means changing your way of life, sometimes in a radical way. It is essential to identify your strengths and talents, and these are the skills you have at your disposal.
On one side of a list, keep these skills you already have. On the other side, go through the overall skills needed to complete the project. From that point, you will be able to know if you need specific certifications, the ways you can gain those skills or even how you will train.
Determining the proper skills also includes deciding on the skills you will capitalize on and those you will look for externally (e.g., find a partner, consider partnerships with other professionals).
- What are your needs?
The launch of your business depends on several things, such as feeling supported, having a professional network, and most importantly, having the money to launch it. Once you have listed your needs, take stock of what you currently have.
After having a clear idea of the needs you have to fill, it’s time to take action or look for external help. Sometimes, you cannot fill them alone, so you have to turn to people around you who can bring a solution.
- Who can help you?
Once you have defined your needs and have a clearer idea of them, it’s time to take stock of your networks (personal and professional). You surely have people around who can help you in one way or another, and don’t delay it — contact them.
Ask them to join you for a meeting or by phone where you will be able to exchange with them and get their feedback on your project. The success of an entrepreneurial project depends largely on the quality of your professional network. That being said, don’t forget the support of your private circle (family and friends).
You can also find support in your city or region by browsing aids, training, and support programs for entrepreneurs. These programs can even be found online. You could also expand your professional network by attending a coworking space. A part of your time will be spent networking and attending events when you start your entrepreneurial journey.A part of your time will be spent networking and attending events when you start your entrepreneurial journey.
- Is your project viable in the long term?
The best part of starting a business is being able to make a living from it! The viability of your project must be questioned. A test is the only way to determine if you will be able to make a living from it and if it will work. A lack of demand in the market is the most common reason for business failure, so it is important to analyze your market and test your idea as soon as possible.
- What is the state of your market?
Conducting a market study will allow you to verify if there is a market and a real need for your product or service. The term “market research” is often frightening, but rest assured, it is far from being insurmountable, thanks to the tools offered by digital technology.
Competition is the most important question in a market study. Try to see it as an opportunity and not as an external threat to your project. Instead of reinventing the wheel, take inspiration from what is already being done in the market, and think about what you could do differently (e.g., adopt a different approach or method, highlight your talents and experience, or find a unique communication style).
- Who are your customers?
It is impossible to sell to everyone when you try to sell to everyone! Prior to marketing, you must identify the typical profile of your customers – in other words, segment them. Once the theoretical analysis of your target is done, you will have to verify the theory on the ground through interviews.
- How will you test your idea/activity?
Many entrepreneurs wait until they have the perfect offer before launching their business. If nobody wants your product or service, there’s no point in launching it. Instead of waiting for everything to be perfect, think about how you can test your idea as soon as possible (for example, gather a community around you, create your own content, create a landing page, etc.). It will help you determine whether the project is worth your time, money and energy.
Incubators are also very interesting devices that provide a secure way of testing your business. You can find organizations in your city or region that can assist you in fixing the missing points in your project and helping you grow quickly.
Entrepreneurship is surely a complex path when you don’t fully prepare yourself. By using digital preparation, networking, and good planning, you can evaluate your business idea, create a business model, and validate it.