September 1, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
What does it mean to be an entrepreneur? Being in charge of a company that seeks to promote entrepreneurship, it is a question that I constantly ask myself. Today, I would say that being an entrepreneur is taking a risky path that begins with seeing an opportunity where others see a problem.
Like this question, during my career as a startup advisor and investor, I have been asked many others and that is why today I want to share some of the most frequent, which can help you if you are thinking that it is time to have your own business.
1. What is the most important thing before starting?
Identify an opportunity and turn it into a business idea. When I started with Clickonero, my first venture, I realized that the business model of offering discounts online did not exist in Mexico. In this way, we launched the platform. After two months this business idea took off and became very competitive. It is not enough to have a good idea, but you have to develop a good business model that attacks an opportunity.
Plan a solid strategy. Planning is essential, part of this is studying the current market, knowing in depth who the other players are, what they do and what your prospective clients like, reviewing and developing an operation process plan, as well as creating a budget and cost projection.
2. How do I know if my product is good?
To develop a good product you have to be creative, especially when you don’t have a big budget. The secret to stand out in the market is innovation, that is, positively transforming the way people access products or services.
If you still doubt whether your product is good or bad, put it to the test with the Minimum Viable Product model. What is it? It is a strategy that tests a prototype of your product, qualitatively and quantitatively before your target audience in order to collect data, which helps to know the interest or approval of it.
3. If I don’t have a lot of capital, at the beginning is it better for me to do everything myself?
At the beginning, it is normal for entrepreneurs to start doing most of the activities themselves: marketing, customer service, product development, finance, etc. But as the saying goes “Shoemaker to your shoes”, it is best to start delegating activities as soon as possible. Remember, you cannot do everything well at the same time, you must focus on what you do best and build a great team in order to grow your business.
4. Am I starting a physical or digital business?
This depends on your business model. If you want to provide hairdressing and barber services, the most logical thing is to have a physical business, however, if the business model is to provide these services at home, you will probably need to have a good digital strategy.
If you have a product, you can create a digital business strategy and sell on an ecommerce platform. The key to achieve this is in training, knowing the tools of electronic sales and payments. There are many courses, and sometimes the same companies offer free workshops for entrepreneurs.
Online you can find many sales tools that will help you efficiently manage your e-commerce. For example, there are some to better manage your inventory, there are also other advertising to advertise and maintain good communication with your customers.
If you have a product, you can create a digital business strategy and sell on an ecommerce platform / Image: Depositphotos.com
5. What are the main challenges an entrepreneur faces when entering e-commerce?
A few years ago, the situation was more complicated since the necessary infrastructure and providers did not exist, it was necessary to build everything from scratch and a very strong investment to attract traffic, among other things. Thanks to current e-commerce platforms, your product can be seen by thousands of people, this is no longer a challenge. Today, the main challenge is to offer a differentiating product, that is, one that has a particular distinctive to stand out from the competition, it must also meet a market need and have added value.
6. What is the key moment in which an entrepreneur should focus on raising capital?
When your startup generates sales, but you need capital to continue with operations, it is time. Before looking for investors, define well what budget you need and what are the strategic priorities. In short, you must know your numbers well and remember that investors choose companies with unique products that are not easily replicated and are scalable.
7. What should any entrepreneur consider when joining?
It is a decision that you have to think about seriously, your best friend is not always a good option. To choose your future partner, you must take into account their skills and area of expertise; It is favorable that these are complementary to yours and, above all, that they add value to the business.
Also, it is important that you have liquidity and financial stability. Before starting, they must clearly divide responsibilities, the percentage of expenses and the division of capital.