Between the 15th and 17th centuries, overseas discovery became a priority in Europe, during what is known as the Age of Exploration. In the Information Age, our personal lives may seem light on new discoveries and ideas. Even as we enjoy the benefits of technology, a part of us sometimes yearns to explore new horizons on our own. For entrepreneurs, that exploration takes the form of a quest to achieve success and stability, realizing one’s ambitions and making a living in the process. In the simplest terms, an entrepreneur is someone who starts an enterprise to earn a profit or to make a difference in the community.
A wealth of possibilities arises from that simple definition. Just as a map cannot describe every detail of a landscape, so too the parameters of entrepreneurship cannot be set with ease. It is up to the explorer — the entrepreneur — to set a goal for themselves and see how they can create new definitions. First, you may need a few tips to help you chart your path.
So Many Types, So Little Time
There were many types of explorers during the Age of Exploration. For example, you had those who sank to the bottom of the ocean and those who did not. Entrepreneurs, however, are not merely defined by their success or failure.
There are many types of entrepreneurs. Some say there are 4 types. Others say there are 10, or 20. Perhaps there is even a type of entrepreneur whose enterprise involves cataloging all the other types.
A Simplified Outlook
Let’s pare things down a bit: on a basic level, the goal of a for-profit business is to make money. A non-profit organization, on the other hand, raises money or collects resources to assist individuals in need or to otherwise improve the community.
On an essential level then, entrepreneurs may be categorized as for-profit and not-for-profit. Within that spectrum, there is any number of potential avenues. One of the first things you will learn as an entrepreneur is that you are exploring new territory.
You may find that it’s easier to follow the path set by others, fulfilling the role of a student. Your aim may be to blaze new trails, as an innovator. The truth is that you can combine any number of approaches to define what type of entrepreneur you want to be. When continual adaptation keeps you afloat, you’re much less likely to sink.
Mistakes Entrepreneurs Often Make
There are many common mistakes that run entrepreneurial ventures aground, but the most common and the deadliest is a belief that you will never fulfill your goals. As an entrepreneur striking out on your own, you must have faith that the object you’re aiming for is worthy of attaining.
Another frequent mistake is choosing a venture partner who doesn’t fit. Think about roommates. When living with another person, personality quirks and habits are amplified notably. The same is true of an entrepreneurial partnership.
After you’ve set out, you may begin to notice the dirty dishes piling up in the sink, so to speak. By the time you’ve settled that dispute, you may have a clogged bathroom sink to contend with, or a washing machine full of mildewed clothes. Evaluating your partner carefully will help you avoid these issues.
Lastly, you want to avoid overplanning. If you find that you’re spending far more time plotting out a complex strategy than actually acting on it, you may have a problem. Consider the wise words Elvis sang in 1968: “A little less conversation, a little more action.”
Excelling in Business as an Entrepreneur
Once you’ve nailed down the more abstract goals of what you want your enterprise to look like, you need to get to work on the details. There are a few practical ways to ensure that you are on solid ground from a financial perspective when starting a new business.
First, make certain that your budget is realistic. Startup capital is not merely for getting the doors open. You must have a practical plan for your business in its first year and going forward. Eschewing a lavish launch party in favor of budgeting for the challenging months to come is one example of frugal planning.
Second, expect to devote many hours, early mornings, and late nights to your work. There are plenty of hard-working individuals seeking success in countless fields. One way to separate yourself from competitors who may have advantages over you is to outwork them. While adjusting to such an intense schedule seems difficult at first, you can acclimate eventually. In the meantime, consider brewing some coffee or a bit of strong tea.
Third, make sure your market is right. You might have a wonderful idea, but if you’re advertising it to people who aren’t interested, you’re in trouble from the start. Consider who you are pitching to, what you’re selling, and how you expect to sustain your sales over time. Don’t try selling combs to bald people.
Follow Your Own Map
Perhaps the most important thing to remember as an entrepreneur is that you must take the initiative yourself. There will be no one else to hoist the sails for you and no one to man the wheel. The great excitement of accomplishment and achievement is accompanied by great responsibility. The challenges will be yours, but the rewards will be yours as well.
As with any enterprise, a new entrepreneurial opportunity will give back to you what you put into it. Nothing short of maximum effort will help you achieve your goals. As long as you believe that what you’re after is worth it, the workload won’t feel crushing. After all, it’s much easier carrying groceries up a flight of stairs when you have a nice steak in the bag.
Whether you plan to explore business or non-profit opportunities, keep your destination in mind. When at last you come into view of that landmass of success, it will make the oceans of difficulty you crossed seem like a distant memory. New horizons of being entrepreneurs await. Stake your claim.