Business & Corporate
Most entrepreneurs are owners or founders of a company. They help to establish a business, usually a small one, and then work to expand the business in the hope of earning more profits. They will often risk their own capital in the business to make money.
Initially an entrepreneur may be responsible for all aspects of their business. This might include Research and Development, Management, Business Development, Marketing, Finance and Accounting, Human Resources, IT and Technical Operations, Customer Services and Administration. A major appeal of becoming an entrepreneur is the amount of freedom to come up with ideas and try them out.
Typical job responsibilities and activities include:
- Being responsible for turning your ideas into business opportunities
- Identifying market opportunities which you can exploit with new products and services
- Defining your business aims and objectives
- Writing a business plan which outlines how you will meet your business objectives
- Identifying potential sources of finance to provide initial funding for the business
- Taking risks and using initiative to begin a venture to take advantage of an opportunity
- Deciding what, how and how much of a product or service will be produced
- Supplying ‘risk capital' and monitoring and controlling business activities
- Protecting and maintain your brand
Launching your own business can be an exhilarating, rewarding and frustrating experience.
You rarely work a 9 to 5 day again and your typical workday may become 16 hours – all hours of the day and night, 7 days a week – particularly in the early stages of your business venture.
The first 3 years of a newly established business are often the most difficult and this period can be very stressful for the small business owner and entrepreneur. 40% of new businesses fail during this crucial period.
However, the longer your business survives and grows beyond this point the more likely it is to succeed. Many entrepreneurs start businesses which fail in the first few years but it is important that they learn from their mistakes and use the experience which they have gained to try again. Genuine entrepreneurs do not give up easily as they are always striving to turn the potential of their long term ideas into reality.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for entrepreneurs
- A single-mindedness and determination to succeed against all the odds
- Not afraid of taking risks – usually with your own money
- A good level of personal confidence and a resilience to overcome setbacks
- An open and enquiring mind and a desire for learning
- Able to deal with failure and to try again if your business does not at first succeed
- Passionate about your business ideas
- A flexible and adaptable approach to cope with unforeseen problems and setbacks
- A sound understanding of business finance and money management
- Excellent networking skills and ability to establish sound business relationships
- Knowing when and where to buy in the expertise which you don't have
- The ability to sell and promote your product or service through dynamic presentations
- Sound research and analytical skills
- Able to be work independently, especially whilst your business is in the early stages of development
- Good IT skills
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of entrepreneurs
By definition, entrepreneurs will set up and develop their own business and work in it until it is well established.
After a period of successful growth the business owner may decide to step back from the daily business of the enterprise as more staff appointments are made.
Qualifications and training required
There are no clearly defined education and training routes to becoming an entrepreneur. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs have little or no qualifications or formal training.
However, they all tend to have natural skills, talents and traits which they use to develop their ideas into successful businesses. Possessing most of the key skills listed in the section below is also essential.
Aspiring entrepreneurs who would like to take some formal training to help them to develop some essential business skills could consider taking a Degree, HND or Foundation Degree in Business Studies, Economics, Business Enterprise or Marketing.
Entry into a degree course requires a minimum of 5 GCSEs grades 9 – 4 (A*- C) and 2 A levels. For entry at HND level one A level is required. There are no formal entry requirements for a Foundation Degree but students will need to be able to show that they can cope with the academic content of the course.
A BTEC National Level 3 qualification in a relevant subject e.g. Business Studies would also be acceptable for entry to a Degree, HND or Foundation Degree.
Taking an apprenticeship to gain some essential business knowledge and skills would also be a useful first step towards setting up your own business sometime in the future.