A business degree is not required to become an entrepreneur. In fact, many people have gone on to have successful businesses despite not being an expert in the industry. And they even did it without capital or financial backing.
KFC’s Colonel Sanders had no formal restaurant training and Virgin’s Richard Branson started his record business from a church where he also ran his first venture, a magazine called Student. Joyce Hall, the founder of Hallmark, was selling perfume to his neighbors before he became a clerk at his brother’s bookstore. Had a fire not destroyed their stock, he would not have been forced to create his own greeting cards. And well, you know the rest.
What’s the number one reason why startups don’t take off? It’s not because of the lack of experience. It’s failure to prepare and failure to fail!
Failure is key to experience. Without it, you won’t feel the sting of defeat that drives entrepreneurs to change their approach, improve their products and services, and refine their marketing. However, while industry experience is not required to start a business, passion and preparation are.
Here’s how to start a business despite having no experience but with a determination to use the skills you already possess and intent to gain knowledge and experience along the way:
While the extensive research you’ve done will give you confidence, it’s not wise to go big from the get-go based entirely on what you’ve read.
By starting on a smaller scale, you’ll be able to test the waters. These first steps will allow you to learn more about your target customers and enable you to gain insight on the market and the buying behavior of those within it. And while failure is necessary to gaining experience, starting small means defeat won’t be as devastating. You’ll be able to recover quicker, improve your products and services, and refine your sales pitch if that’s what the setback has taught you.
Work With What You Have
Before you decided to start a business, you probably looked for signs that you were ready. People go into business for different reasons but the one thing they have in common is that they can recognize themselves as leaders.
If you were once an employee, you may have found yourself identifying the gaps in the processes and seeing better ways the company could be run. This trait is essential to entrepreneurship and it often doesn’t come from having experience but by having the skill to detect successful opportunities.
By working with what you have, you’re taking the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired from life, school, your former job, or a hobby and using them to develop your business idea and bring it to fruition.
Ask for Help
You’re so caught up in developing your business plan and gaining industry knowledge to define your total offering to your target customers that you fail to recognize that starting a business involves much more. Starting a business also means preparing financial statements, business taxes, and completing registration requirements. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from an accountant or a lawyer who can help you deal with this aspect of starting a business that demands tax, law, and accounting knowledge.
Ultimately, starting a business without experience is challenging, but certainly achievable. It demands your commitment to prepare and seek knowledge. Use your strengths while also being smart enough to recognize your weaknesses, and ask for assistance when you need it.
Until the next time,