Entrepreneurship is a life choice. There are different types of entrepreneurs and many different reasons for becoming an entrepreneur. The most important thing is to know why you want to start your own business and what is involved.
Why become an entrepreneur?
Here are some of the reasons why people become entrepreneurs and some questions you should ask yourself before getting started.
Passion as a trigger
💡 Becoming an entrepreneur for a passion: I want to make something a reality. I want to make my passion part of my daily life.
👉 The good life! Passion is a powerful driver of creativity. It feeds a thirst for knowledge and will push you to bring all of your skills to bear and to find solutions. It also enables you to overcome hard times. Passion is what makes it possible to sustain a business.
However, passion alone isn’t always enough. It has to be combined with other things including expertise, mental flexibility, agility and the ability to change directions when required. Even more important than targeted passion, is a passion for entrepreneurship. A passion for starting with nothing, a passion for realising an idea, and a passion for upsetting the established order. You’ll also need the fire to ensure that your company is sustainable over time.
A need for autonomy and FREEDOM
💡 Becoming an entrepreneur to be free: I don’t want to be an employee any more. I want to be my own boss. I want to decide when and where I work, the work I do and the people I work with.
👉 That’s part of it ! But, you have to be aware that you probably won’t work less than you did as an employee, at least not in the beginning. Between managing your time, coordinating your activities, searching for partners and managing your accounting and taxes, you won’t have much free time left. And you’ll likely often have to take care of certain things that you don't enjoy at all...
The need to feel PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT
💡 Entrepreneurship to be in line with your values and needs: I no longer feel at ease with the values of the company I work for or with everyday company life. I want to create a company that reflects my values and meets my needs so that I can work at peace with myself and realise myself fully.
👉 The concept of achievement is relative, personal and subjective. It requires excellent self-knowledge and an understanding of your limitations, needs, talents and convictions to successfully implement your business project, according to your own definition of success.
Don't forget that you’ll probably have to make some compromises and that there will be less agreeable tasks involved. You’ll have to think about how to maintain a satisfactory balance between what you will and what you won’t accept.
💡 Becoming an entrepreneur to become rich: I’ve got a great idea that will make me rich quickly.
👉 If this is your primary motivation, be aware that this idea can be easily assessed by studying your competitors’ profits and by preparing a business plan. Companies are generally not very profitable in the beginning. You’ll have to wait several months, or even several years before you can make enough money to cover a salary. Are you prepared to wait as long as necessary and experience financial insecurity?
Remember that the entrepreneurs who get rich quickly are usually the ones that take big risks in the beginning. Ask yourself if you’re a risk taker.
DUTY TO SOCIETY
💡 Becoming an entrepreneur out of conviction: things have to change and I know how to change them. I have a duty to act to help society. I want to be useful.
👉 It usually takes time to change ideas and habits. You’ll have to be persuasive to convince as many people as possible (partners, investors, etc.) that what you are proposing has added value for them and society. Be patient!
Conviction shouldn’t be confused with obstinacy. Having conviction means that you have a specific goal and that you’ll do everything to achieve it. On the other hand, being obstinate means repeating the same mistakes hoping that your company will be successful despite negative signals from the markets.
CREATING YOUR OWN JOB
💡 Becoming an entrepreneur to take control of your life: I can't find work, so I’m going to create my own job out of necessity.
👉 Great idea! However, don't jump in immediately, regardless of your material worries, no matter how legitimate. Creating a company doesn't mean that your project is ready. There are organisations that can help you test your idea without losing your benefits. Remember that a job seeker has to find an employer, but the head of a company has to find customers! Depending on the type of business you start, profits will take more or less time to arrive. Make sure you have some money set aside to meet your needs while waiting for your profits to grow to the point where you can pay yourself a salary.
💡 Entrepreneurship to innovate: I have a novel idea that will revolutionise the world.
👉 That's great! A word of warning: don't rush into anything! An idea in itself is worthless. What is important is putting the idea into action, all the work that turns it into an opportunity. Study the market well before starting out to make sure that your idea doesn’t already exist elsewhere and find out if it has been developed or not. Does it meet a need? Can it be implemented? Am I really the first genius to have the idea? If that’s the case, go for it!
PERPETUATING A FAMILY TRADITION
💡 I want to become an entrepreneur to continue what my family started.
👉 Ask yourself if you’re doing it because you really want to, because you’re proud of your family business, because you believe in it and it gets you pumped up or because it’s an obligation or because you have no other options. Also ask yourself if you're ready to be bound to your family in business and what type of relationship you want to create.
There are many reasons and this list isn't complete.
It usually isn't a single factor, but rather a combination of several factors that results in the decision to create a company.
Sustainable entrepreneurship: a host of opportunities!
Doing business means giving yourself the opportunity to make a difference, in particular by seeking out local suppliers, favouring short circuits and eco-designed products, optimising energy consumption and limiting CO2 emissions. Would you like support in setting up a sustainable business? Discover eco-management and the circular economy? Please refer to this page in order to identify organizations that can provide assistance in Brussels.
The qualities of entrepreneurs
All entrepreneurs share certain characteristics to a greater or lesser extent, which we call entrepreneurial skills or qualities.
You will have to:
- Be able to set goals and take decisions: nothing else will work without these skills. Always keep the future in mind and be able to set clear and specific long-term objectives and quantifiable short-term objectives.
- Be curious: it’s essential that you always keep abreast of what’s happening in your field and with you customers and suppliers. Consulting experts will help you avoid uncertainties and assumptions.
- Be patient: success won't come immediately.
- Not be afraid of failure: the end of a company isn’t necessarily a failure. It’s acquired learning, experience and meetings with new people, the start of a new life, of new projects, of new encounters and of new possibilities.
- Talk about your idea: you’ll have to challenge yourself and allow the world to challenge your idea. This will give you insight into the opinions of your future customers.
- Tell the story of your project: entrepreneurship means having a story: the story of a new life, of a new project. Your story will have to convince others.
- Get out of your comfort zone: you’ll sometimes have to do things you aren’t used to doing to get your company known.
- Take your customers’ opinions into account, even when they are negative. Even if they are hard to accept, you’ll have to take their opinions into account and adjust your service or product without changing the essence of your company. This will mean setting aside your ego and being objective about your company.
- Delegate certain tasks: be willing to work with others who complement your skills.
- Look for opportunities: look for opportunities in every problem and take action to expand the company's business.
- Take risks: you have to embrace challenges and be able to handle some stress. You’ll have to take calculated risks to bring your idea to fruition.
- Be resilient: being an entrepreneur means being very adaptable. Being able to change directions when an unexpected event occurs is an essential quality.
- Persevere: don't give up the first time you encounter a difficulty, take responsibility to achieve the results needed to meet your goals and objectives.
Assess your entrepreneurial profile
Every project leader can benefit from assessing their potential as an entrepreneur.
There are many tests available on the Internet to assess your motivation and skills.
- The French chambers of commerce provide several free tests. The French chambers of commerce provide several free tests. They draw a picture, in just a few minutes, of your profile and of your “Pluses” and “Minuses”, the areas in which you have “Skills” and those you will have to work on or for which you’ll need to hire competent employees.
- The Nouvelleviepro.fr website also provides a test that will tell you if your strong points are in line with your professional choices. Note that you will have to provide your contact information to get the results.
- The Canadian bank BDC provides an Entrepreneurial potential self-assessment test.
- The Hunchup simulation website measures your skills via practical exercises on three essential roles in the entrepreneurial process.
- Lastly, the https://psychotechnique.be/ website provides a complete guide to the different types of tests including personality tests and can provide direction about the skills required.