Entrepreneur’s Training Camp
By Brian Hazelgren
Carve Out a Niche and Start Your Business
Starting a business and being an entrepreneur. What an exciting time, and what a busy time! You have decided to take on what will probably be the most challenging thing you have ever done in your life. Yes, it can be very rewarding and fulfilling. Yet, make no mistake about it; it will demand every one of your resources and will stretch every bit of your skills and talents. An entrepreneur is defined as…one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.
In the entrepreneurship courses I teach at the University of Utah, I start off the semester with phrases like: “How many of you want to become an entre-manure? How much have you researched about entre-manureship? How many of you are already an entre-manure?”
This gets the students’ attention, and it is rather comical to watch the looks on their faces. Inevitably, several students will turn to their neighbors and whisper, “Is he saying that right? It sounds like he is saying ‘manure.’ Who is this bozo anyway?”
We all get a good laugh out of it when I confess that owning a business is often like running a manure factory; it’s usually piled high and deep, and you are wading in the middle of it most of the time.
I don’t want to scare you. I only want to set a basic foundation. My job is to teach you the good, the bad, and the ugly about entrepreneurship. From reading this guide, you will learn firsthand what it takes to succeed in business and how to stay away from the pitfalls. This doesn’t mean that you will not stumble along the way, but I can at least give you some of the background and the foundation to build on.
I want you to know that, aside from all the hype and excitement, owning your own business requires good planning, hard work, strategy, capital resources, sales, good people, sound management practices, good suppliers, a good product or service, technology, brand identity, enough insurance, contacts, and about a thousand other things I could list here…if you want to succeed.
I would love for all of us to learn:
- What it means to own your own business
- How to determine the right business for you, plus the pros and cons of buying a busines
- How to evaluate your chances for success
Plus, in this guide, you’ll be shown:
- What a business plan can do for you
- How to gather the information needed to formulate a business plan
- How to write, organize and present your plan, as well as what documents to include and why
With the information presented in Tactical Entrepreneur, you also will be able to conduct an analysis of your market to locate customers and understand their buying patterns. You will be albe to identify your Unique Selling Advantage (USA) and will have the direction you need to formulate a marketing strategy and a sales strategy. You also will have ideas for taking care of the customers you attract, to ensure that they will buy from you in the future.
Responsibilities of Ownership
It’s estimated that in the United States, only about 30 percent of all startups are still in business after five years. In some states, the number is only about 10 percent. These are startling numbers; and, yet, they are somewhat understandable. Most small business owners are too busy to plan for the future, or at least they think they are too busy. The fact is, the better you understand the challenges ahead of you and the better you prepare yourself for those challenges, the more likely it is that you’ll be one of the survivors.
Probably the two most common reasons that a business doesn’t succeed come down to (1) poor management because the owner lacks the necessary skills; or (2) money, either because the owner underestimates how much money it will take to start the business or they are undercapitalized. The following sections will address the first cause and will help you determine whether you have the necessary skills or, if not, how you may be able to acquire them.
Evaluating Your Chances for Success
Once you’ve decided that you have the right stuff to be an entrepreneur, you’re ready to determine whether your business idea has the right stuff. Before you pump your life savings into a small business, you want to know if it has a chance to succeed.
Here’s a look at the prime considerations for determining if your business idea has a chance to succeed:
- Market assessment— Is there a market for your product or service? If so, how much income can you expect to derive from it?
- Profitability assessment— How much will starting a new business cost you? Can you afford a lengthy “red ink” period following startup, as well as periodic lulls in cash flow? Can you afford to fail?
- Financing assessment— Will you be able to obtain the necessary financing for your business? If so, from where?
- Legal assessment— What potential legal liabilities are you exposing yourself to by starting a new business? Are the costs of protecting yourself worth the trouble?
- Researching your industry— How can you learn more about your chosen industry and about the resources that are available to help you?
Once you complete these assessments, you will be able to begin to understand the viability of the idea that you have.