Quick consideration for aspirational entrepreneurs

You might not realize it, but if you are an aspirational entrepreneur, you probably started a business without knowing it.

Okay, so that business probably did not have its accounts checked and the other administrative tasks that come with raising a business baby, but if you are flirting – or going steady – with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur, that spirit has probably been with you since you were a kid.

Remember that bake sale you held at school?  Yep, entrepreneurial spirit, baby.

Things have obviously changed a lot since way back then – you know, like being a whole adult and getting through a global pandemic.

Entrepreneurs are curious creatures. Depending on where and when you grew up or who you think of when you hear the word, the imagined caricature of what an entrepreneur looks like will vary from person to person.

There is one thing that most entrepreneurs – imagined or real – have in common: taking risks, just not in an irresponsible way.

"Entrepreneurs are not risk-takers. They are calculated risk-takers," is something that Leonard C. Green, author of The Entrepreneur's Playbook and teacher at Babson College, tells his students.

So, if you’re reading this and you’ve crunched the numbers and you are ready to buy a ticket to the craziest but most rewarding ride of your life, there are a few questions you should be asking yourself.

Okay, you probably have already asked many of these questions over and over again, but if you are in the early stages of your love-in, it’s best to start with the basics.

What exactly is your plan?

Don’t snort if you think that sounds too obvious. It is astounding how many entrepreneurs do not have a plan. A number of articles like the Business Week story, “Real Entrepreneurs Don’t Write Business Plans” and this New York Times article all suggest it’s not needed. While there might be some scenarios where a business plan is obsolete, that’s not what we’re referring to here.

We’re talking your big, blue sky idea here. We’re talking the actual plan. The big picture of your business. The thing that is going to keep you on track and give you direction when it comes to sales and marketing, and supports your larger business goals.

If this startles you, chill.

The first step in building out your big plan is to look at where your business is currently at.

Assuming you already know what it is (if you don’t, that’s okay, too – keep reading), the plan is simply refining the what. The same goes for being in the early phases of the process. What are you actually going to do as a business?

Is your plan to launch a mobile app, or do you want to incorporate more products? Which product categories will you need the most if you are looking to expand on a current offering? Are you going to sell physical products or a service?

Business mentors are invaluable at this juncture. Entrepreneurs tend to be generous with their time. Reaching out to people you admire and current backers or advisors – heck, even a friend – is always a good idea for some extra (or just different) perspective.

You’re like a bird

But we don’t want you to fly away. We just want you to get a different eye view.

Part of your plan should be to analyze the market. What it will take for you to grow your business. Which areas are there? What's missing? What is a "stakeholder need" that can support your growth?

In your head, the idea of knitting mittens for hamsters might sound like a good idea, but is there really a market for that? The purpose of this isn’t to do your idea down. But the aim of every business is to be profitable, after all. Which brings us to the next part: money.

Questions and more questions

Get ready for an inquisition. These are the quickfire questions you should be able to answer easily.

What sort of business are you starting and how are you going to make money?

Is your main source of revenue a website or products sold online?  

What entity are you registering as?

Do you need a website?  

(Actually, we’ll answer that last one for you. Whether the core of your business is ecommerce or not, you need a website.)

Things to consider when starting your business website

If the core of your business is not ecommerce, there are many out-of-the-box website solutions that will suit your needs.

If you are taking on a DIY website job for your business, keep it simple. Find a template that matches the tone of your business and go from there. 

Never stop learning

Every day should be a school day when you are an entrepreneur. That doesn’t mean you have to read arduous textbooks, but if you are an entrepreneur in the digital age, the opportunities for learning are endless.

Keep reading and learn about Software As A Service (SaaS) and content marketing and how you can optimize your site for search.

You don’t have to learn so much that you do these things yourself (unless, erm, that is your business), but learn enough so you don’t get taken for a ride.

Learn so that you know which questions to ask when it comes to growing your business baby.

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