Entrepreneurship is the ability to bring innovative ideas to the market as a product or service. In today’s world, particularly in the global post-Covid scenario, entrepreneurs have become synonyms to a country’s strength as they contribute to economic growth, leverage job opportunities, and introduce new and unique products and services to the public.
Some say that entrepreneurs have certain characteristics and personality traits to succeed or the ones who may be having an “entrepreneur gene” to make a mark in entrepreneurship. In other words, some people are just born entrepreneurs while the rest follow them to carve their niche and destiny. However, there are misconceptions about being an entrepreneur; most people believe that you need to be a school or college dropout, leave your current job, and hide in the mountains for you to have a ground-breaking idea.
None of that is true.
Entrepreneurship — a creative idea
As a way of life, entrepreneurship is undoubtedly a creative idea, but it can also be taught and learned because it comes from an untiring discipline along with a few skills to be mastered in the course of time. Traits like communication, good leadership, risk-taking, and confidence are necessary to be a successful entrepreneur. Nevertheless, all the above-mentioned skills can be acquired and mastered through a pool of resources.
From generating an idea to managing everything from finances to hiring and management to making it a well-established business, entrepreneurship is a bumpy ride. So, picking up some skills in high education is worth it. When one has learned the core skills of being an entrepreneur, the other elements fall into place.
Dubai is an incubator of start-ups and has become a global leader in supporting entrepreneurs to live their business dreams by providing incentives and assistance to open avenues for more like-minded individuals to invest in the country.
As of 2022, there are 582 million entrepreneurs in the world with varying education, opportunities, or experiences. However, they have been able to start a new business and do it well.
A report from Ernst and Young states that 33 per cent of entrepreneurs picked up their skills from working as an employee. In comparison, 30 per cent acquired the knowledge and expertise from higher education – not a vast difference.
Entrepreneurship — a team effort
Entrepreneurship is a team effort, not a solitary pursuit, and it can only be mastered via practical experience. Beyond the business skills that are simple to teach in a classroom such as finance, accounting, and economics, an entrepreneur needs human skills such as leadership and management which are best acquired through experience.
Examples of entrepreneurs are everywhere. McDonald’s was founded by an entrepreneur. Facebook was built by an entrepreneur. Coca-Cola was launched by an entrepreneur. Name a famous company, and there would be an entrepreneur behind it.
With genuine passion, challenging work, great ideas, and a knack for learning, anyone can build a business and become a success.
Four types of entrepreneurs
There are four types of entrepreneurs based on various business models being pursued:
Large company entrepreneurs are the ones who launch businesses within an already established business by acquiring or creating a new internal division. Examples include Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and Google’s launching of Google Maps.
Small business entrepreneurs are the ones who open businesses with no plans for wide-scale expansion. Mostly, they open a single location and take on their own financial needs rather than reaching out to investors and expanding it for more revenues. Examples include local restaurants, gift shops, and independently owned retail shops.
Social entrepreneurs are the ones who vouch for societal change through their products and or services with the goal of creating a sustainable business aimed at solving a civic problem or addressing a social issue.
Scalable start-up entrepreneurs are the ones who start businesses with the clear intention of widespread, long-term growth. They are innovators who may often have a novel idea that shakes up a new market or launches it altogether. Examples include companies like Meta and Uber.
Traits of an entrepreneur
A true entrepreneur must possess the following traits to carve their destiny.
Leadership: As the company’s founder, you will lead the team from the front and make vital decisions not only to build and manage a team but to run the business in the long term also.
Adaptability: As the leader, you need to move swiftly if an idea is not working and find apt solutions to address the issue.
Fundraising: As a successful entrepreneur, you must have the resources or be able to generate funds to start your new business venture. You are expected to spend a fair amount of time and energy selling and seeking investment into your idea.
Collaboration & Networking: An entrepreneur must have valuable networking skills, besides time and effort, as it is among the prime requirements for setting up and growing a successful business. Network creation of like-minded individuals can go a long way in marketing your new business and staying motivated to cope with any challenges in the process. Collaboration and networking can also create opportunities to gain experience from other entrepreneurs.
Key to becoming an entrepreneur
There are many different paths you can take to become an entrepreneur. However, a good entrepreneur needs to focus on learning and growing; both from personal and professional standpoints while actively and purposefully working towards improvement. In general, these are the steps to be taken to become an entrepreneur.
Industry knowledge or niche: One of the most important steps for an entrepreneur is to find your specific niche or profitable skill. This is a fact that most people want to join the bandwagon of entrepreneurship, but they have little or no knowledge of the industry to get involved with. Most of the time your niche will be something you have worked in for years. Your current experience is a suitable place to start looking for you are calling as it will be helpful if you love your niche.
Market research: Available market research is another parameter that entrepreneurs need to focus on for analysing the area for having a thorough understanding of demand and needs. For example, if you want to open a food truck business in your hometown. You need to have a look at other successful food trucks ventures in your area. What are the choices and preferences of locals for a more-moderate place to eat or are they prefer a high-end restaurant? Finding the answers to questions like these, and more will be essential to your long-term success before venturing into the food truck business.
Education: There is a common myth in popular culture that successful, self-made entrepreneurs never graduate from college. The numbers, however, do not back this up. According to a team of researchers from Duke, Akron, and Southern California, over 95 per cent of entrepreneurs in high-growth industries have at least a bachelor’s degree. So, sector knowledge coupled with the acquiring of education is recommended.
Networking: When you have planned to execute the idea and convert it into a successful business, you must focus on networking with individuals who support your idea. Attend events and meet people who help you connect with prospective and willing investors. Seek guidance and advice from a mentor as you work out the details of your business’s operations.
Funding: Be clear about if you are accessing a loan and how to make ensure the payments cycle. Make sure you relate to the right people and businesses for accessing the loan and funds. Keep your business plan ready for prospective investors. Be prepared to address all the queries of investors regarding financial plans and benefits for you and the investors.
Build and test: You can get your idea validated if you build and roll out your minimum viable product and get an endorsement from your first potential customers. This will help you to understand what works and what does not as this trial is essential to the long-term success of your business. Use the feedback to help you make decisions about your company’s progression. Collect the data about the test run and implement changes for a polished product and business plan for targeted and intended consumers.
Scale your business: Take the money you have raised and allow what is needed to build and scale your business. As a tip, many successful business owners suggest starting with the end in mind to properly align your goals as you scale your business. Manage your cash flow accordingly, and you may see the growth that matches your initial dreams for the company or beyond.
Hatem El Safty is the chief executive officer of Business Link. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper’s policy.