Becoming an Entrepreneur - Readers' Questions Answered

Lisa answers readers' questions about becoming an entrepreneur.

Becoming an Entrepreneur Rewards and Challenges
Phemelo Nkadile
Botswana

What are challenges and rewards for entrepreneurs?

Lisa's Response to Challenges and Rewards of Becoming an Entrepreneur



The specific challenges and rewards you'll encounter when becoming an entrepreneur will vary depending upon the nature of the business you intend to launch.

You'll need to take into account factors like:
  • The location, size and scope of your business
  • Whether you'll be a solo enterprise, work with a partner and/or hire staff
  • Any regulations that are relevant to the work your company does
  • How you will finance your business
  • How tasks that are beyond your skill and experience will be handled

As well as seeking out general information on becoming an entrepreneur, in order to get a good understanding of the the rewards and challenges that are specific to your industry, I'd suggest seeking out advice from someone who has expertise in that industry.

Keep in mind, challenges related to starting a new business do not need to be seen in a negative light.

These challenges are often called barriers to entry. Barriers to entry are the things that prevent others from starting a similar type of business. Examples of barriers to entry include:
  • Strict government regulations in an industry
  • Access to necessary business contacts
  • Costs involved in running the business
  • Skills, experience and qualifications required to do the work

If you find that your specific business idea carries with it some barriers to entry, that is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as you can find ways around those barriers for your own company, the same barriers may keep other potential competitors from launching the same type of business.

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Entrepreneur Question

by Carmen
(Danville IL)

What classes or programs do I need to take in high school if I want to open my own small club business as in dancing and drinking etc. and what college school will help make this come true?

Lisa's Answer to Entrepreneur Questions



Carmen, because available resources and career requirements vary so widely, (there are over 20,000 different types of jobs that exist), I can't tell you exactly which courses to take, but I can tell you exactly how to get the information you are looking for.

The best way to find out what local resources will help you to achieve your goals is to talk to people locally. Here's what I'd suggest:

1. Talk to your guidance counselor at school about the best courses to take to achieve your goals, and ask about college programs.

2. Beyond that, it would be really smart to do a few informational interviews with people who own the type of business that you'd like to own. An informational interview is simply a meeting where you talk with people who do the kind of work that you'd like to do and you ask them about that type of work.

People usually hesitate when I recommend setting up a few of these interviews, but they are very helpful and well worth the effort to put aside any shyness and set up these interviews.

I've done several myself in times of career transition, as have many of my friends and clients. People are much more willing to grant these types of interviews than you might think. A typical success rate is about 80%. That is, if you contacted 5 people and asked for an informational interview, typically 4 people would say yes to you.

Business owners may be a little less willing to talk (they might not want to give away secrets to potential competitors), but in your case, your age might really work in your favor. If they know you are a high school student, they are going to assume you won't be opening up a new club next week, so they won't see you as an immediate threat and may be much more open to talking with you. You could also try talking with business owners in other cities if you come up against that issue.

Be sure to be smart about when you call. Don't call a business at their busiest time; chose a time that tends to be a bit quieter for them so they will have time to talk with you.

For more information on setting up information interviews, see the article Informational Interview Guide and for ideas about questions to ask during an informational interview, see the article Informational Interview Questions.

3. When you want to start you own business, it can be very helpful to get some work experience in your chosen industry first. Right now, age will likely be an issue for finding a job in a club. You could consider related businesses like restaurants or maybe a party planning company and pursue a summer or part time job at this type of business. Once you're there, make the most of this type of job by finding ways to learn as much about managing the business as possible.

4. For detailed information on starting a business in the U.S. you can also contact the Small Business Administration. They have a very good website, and offices throughout the U.S. You'll find their website here and a map linking to their local offices here.

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