What’s your dream job? Is it being a Chief Executive Officer of a big corporation? Or is it to run your own business? Entrepreneurs are a rare type of person that are willing to push themselves to create and run a business full time. After talking to Ann Swanson, the director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the Idaho State University College of Business, there are many challenges with becoming an entrepreneur, but also great rewards.
When deciding if you want to be an entrepreneur, consider your opportunity cost. What will you be losing, what other things could you be doing with this money? These are important questions to ask, really think about why you want to own your own business and if that is really what you want to do with your money. Once you have established your reasoning and goals behind the business, you can begin the process.
Entrepreneurs have to be go getters and willing to go the extra mile and do their research. Take action on their ideas and know the competitors and who is around them. Take the time and see what has worked for people in the past and what hasn’t, and do your best to overcome it. They have to have self-discipline, know the best route and ask for help. There are going to be things along the way that aren’t fully understood, or that aren’t in your strong areas and it’s okay to ask for help. That is how you succeed.
Swanson believes the most important thing about running a business is financial literacy. She says, no one can get away with not looking at your books. Entrepreneurs have to be patient. Not everything happens as quickly as one would like. So take the time and learn the financial side, even if you don’t like it, take the time to understand the meanings and processes. One easy way to do this is through the SBDC. They offer financial classes such as bookkeeping, loan preparation, cash flow and much more.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but the benefits are well worth it. Being a successful business owner is deeply rewarding. After months and months of starting the business and being successful proves that your hard work has paid off and is well worth it. Also, it’s very exciting, and not always in a good way. Things are always changing and adapting, so that can be challenging, but if you like a good challenge then you will like the excitement. Then there’s being your own boss. People always dream about the idea of being their own boss. Although it has its perks, keep in mind it is harder because you are the one everyone comes to for problems. Plus, you have to have the self-control and willpower to manage yourself, your time and your to do list without someone reminding you of your goals.
For both the successes and the struggles visit the SBDC. They provide classes in all areas of business, it’s not only for entrepreneurs it can be for long-time business owners looking to expand. They have no-cost consulting and affordable training in the areas of growth strategies, funding, technology and innovation, business planning, website and social media, cash flow, exit planning, marketing, profitability and much more. In Idaho there is an SBDC in Post Falls, Lewiston, Boise, Twin Falls, Pocatello and Idaho Falls.
Swanson said some of her best tips are to remember it’s always going to take more time, and cost more money than expected, so be patient and give yourself plenty of time. She says to allow some wiggle room in your plans, you have to be able to adapt and change based on the research. Make it a priority to learn all aspects of your business from finance to marketing dip your hands in a little bit of everything, and know what’s going on. Lastly, continually test and do research on not only the business, but also the products and/or services you offer. Continually make things better and grow into the best business it can be.
If you’re interested in getting your idea out there but aren’t quite ready for the SBDC, you might want to consider signing up for the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge (IEC) in September. This can be the first stepping stone for new entrepreneurs and you don’t even need to be a business major to be part of this competition. As part of the IEC, students are guided by the director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED), Jeff Street to develop a business plan and elevator pitch for their product or service idea. Students then compete in the U.S. Bank Pitch-Off for a chance to win $2,000 in December. And, if chosen, students could be selected to compete in the IEC in Boise for a chance to win a portion of the $100,000 in prizes. If you are interested in participating in the IEC, make sure to sign up before the end of September. Email Jeff Street to get started: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want more information about the SBDC, you can go to their website at idahosbdc.org/southeast or call at 208-282-4402. They meet with clients by appointment during their regular business hours. Good Luck to all the entrepreneurs out there!