While it sounds like a great idea to venture out on your own and create your own business from the ground up, there are some things you need to do first before you become an entrepreneur. Or, you may already be a freelancer but are wondering if you have it in you to be an entrepreneur.
Consider this checklist of five key things that you need to complete first…
Look for a business opportunity presents a real need currently not being filled
When Debt.com and serial entrepreneur Howard Dvorkin first became an entrepreneur, he looked for a business opportunity where he could fill a need and one that would provide beneficial help to those impacted by it. As he noted in an interview with The Huffington Post, “When I left the corporate world to help Americans get out of debt, I saw both a business opportunity and a noble cause.”
“Back then, credit card debt was just being recognized as a serious problem. The experts and nonprofits who were supposed to help weren’t embracing the latest technology,” Dvorkin said. “Many credit counseling agencies I encountered had a three-month waiting list just to see a counselor. Expediency was a major reason why I invested in and embraced Internet outreach and education. People need help fast and the Internet allowed them to get on the right road quickly.”
Look for something similar where you can really make a difference and where other companies or entrepreneurs have not already made headway.
Start developing a personal brand before a business brand
By building your personal brand up first, including a clear picture of what you stand for the values you represent, you can get more people interested in the eventual business brand that you will develop, making it much easier to get traction for your startup. Your personal brand can create the foundation for credibility and respect that can then be parlayed into your business brand.
Since it can take time to establish a brand, it’s important to start working on your personal brand in advance through tactics like a website and blog as well as any other channel where you can start establishing yourself as an expert. You can still do this while working in a traditional job, building it up for when you are ready to make the transition.
Clear debt and create some savings
There’s no guarantee when your new business will be a success or if it will ever happen. That’s why you should put yourself in a healthy financial position prior to taking that leap. You will need to get your debt paid off, including credit cards and auto loans. Of course, you generally can’t pay off your house but make sure you can trim your monthly expenses down to a minimum and create a savings that you can live on for a while, if you need to, until your business is up and running. You won’t be able to be an entrepreneur, start a business, or get funding if your own financial house is not in order.
Increase your financial knowledge. If you have had to pay off debt or if you are just not familiar with company finances, this is the time to take classes and learn more about personal and business finance. It’s important to learn about cash flow, expenses and income, taxation and even employee payments. While you can take online classes and read a lot, you may also want to consider having a mentor who can help shorten the time of your learning curve and provide tips and tricks that short-track you to the best way to view finances, money, savings and spending, including being able to create a realistic budget and sticking to it.
Build your technical skills
Since so many businesses operate online or, at the very least, require a website and blog, it’s important that you learn some technical skills. You don’t have to be web developer or programmer to be an entrepreneur but it doesn’t hurt to learn some coding experience (or at least know what the technical words mean) and understand how to use various online tools and software.
This can help you work with those that are technically inclined so you can tell them what you need and also understand what they are telling you. Knowing what is available as a resource and how it works can also help you put together the best technology to build your company and make decisions about future technology. Learning this in advance can even help you by allowing you to get some of the work done yourself so you can stretch your budget that much further.
These are some of the most important things you should do before you become an entrepreneur because you are better prepared and informed to make the best possible business decisions. Doing these things ahead of making the jump to a life as an entrepreneur can also help you decide if it’s something you actually want to do with your career.