Starting a business can be one of the most difficult and daunting experiences you can have in your life. The sheer amount of planning and willpower to design and execute your business to success is challenging let alone the financial barriers and hurdles you need to vault in order to turn a profit.
Many Brits might currently be sat at their current job, day dreaming of their perfect business idea, wishing they could becoming their own boss and get funding to change their future and put their product on the market. Many never get to this stage though as they either lack motivation, willpower, funds or skills to make the business happen.
Budding entrepreneurs can find it difficult to get going, but what skills do you need to become a successful entrepreneur?
HEC Paris has combined the considerable expertise of its faculty and executive stakeholders to produce a White Paper, advising would-be entrepreneurs on how to successfully design, launch and grow a business.
‘Learning from the Experts: How to Start your own Business‘ has been compiled from the research and experiences of HEC Paris’ Executive Education faculty, specialising in business strategy, entrepreneurship, innovation, and business policy, with insights from other industry leaders.
The Paper has been spurred by a growing trend of managers undertaking executive education programmes with the aim of launching their own ventures. According to a survey of HEC Paris’ Executive Education alumni network, 44 per cent of students aim to start a business within three years of completing their studies.
Etienne Krieger, scientific director of HEC’s Entrepreneurship Centre, and a contributor to the paper says, “According to our experience of entrepreneurial teaching, the average age for founding an innovative company is 38. At this age, and after spending near-on fifteen years carving out one career path, individuals often crave change and undertake new initiatives, particularly if their life does not match their aspirations, or if they feel they are yet to make their mark on the world.
“However, middle-aged professionals have more elements to take into account before deciding to launch their own ventures at this later stage. There is often a home to run, a family to support and a reputation to maintain.”
The White Paper states that managers need to fully assess whether they have the personal qualities to succeed as an entrepreneur and to make the right decisions in the crucial early stages of planning and building a business.
It addresses four core topics to help managers decide whether they are ready for the challenge of becoming start-up founders;
Opportunity and Risk
Skills: Have you got what it takes?
Building your business
Getting the support you need
Peter Todd, Dean of HEC Paris Business School says, “The world of education must be aware of its responsibilities. Tomorrow’s economy and society rest largely on the new generations entering our schools, universities and business schools. It is important for institutions to invest in these entrepreneurs in the making, who are capable of conquering new spaces, re-galvanising economies and revamping business performance with a sharp eye on social responsibility.”
What are the top three skills entrepreneurs need?
Confidence in your product and your own ability to sell it are crucial. There is no point spending all that time and money developing and planning if you don’t believe you can make it successful. Find a business idea that you are truly passionate about and that you believe can find success.
The volume of planning needed to bring a business off the ground is immense and you will need to dedicate all your efforts into making sure you spend your time wisely. Customers will not want to buy from a disorganised and chaotic business. Time management and prioritisation are immensely important.
You need to understand that you are going to fail. A lot. That feeling of failure can sting and deter you from pursuing something great, so you need to quickly develop a thick skin to battle through those failures.