One of the most enticing qualities of entering the tech sector is the ability to make it what you will; you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of careers and opportunities. After all, as the tech sector expands rapidly, every single area is looking to hire more and more skilled tech professionals. But if the 9 to 5 lifestyle isn’t what you’re looking for and you’re full of innovative and creative ideas, considering the entrepreneurial lifestyle may be your best bet.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll have a unique ability: letting your ideas come to life and having full control over your career, work, and hours. But as with anything, it will come with some challenges and that’s why we’ve created this post, to help you discover exactly what being an entrepreneur entails and how to bring your ideas to life in a startup.
Ready? Let’s dive right in.
Entrepreneurship: What to Expect
Entrepreneurs make up an interesting part of the business world: they’ve identified a hole in the market where the world is missing a product or service. And instead of working with a major company to fill this need, they go off on their own, creating their own company and developing the product themselves.
While it seems quite simple, entrepreneurship can pose a challenge and is for a specific group of people that boast the following qualities:
Goal-driven: entrepreneurs need to have a clear goal in mind and be driven by this goal, allowing them to reach success and make decisions with the good of the business as a priority.
Determined and persevering: starting a company from zero is a serious undertaking and there will be struggles; entrepreneurs need to be prepared for tough days and not lose sight of their goal.
Decisive: entrepreneurs must take the first step and be ready to make tough decisions, leading both the company and its employees to success. Those who don’t work well under pressure may struggle as an entrepreneur.
Flexible and creative: things won’t go as planned as an entrepreneur–we can guarantee that! That’s why you’ll need to be ready to go with the flow, making adjustments as necessary and coming up with creative solutions for unforeseen problems.
Passionate: in those hard moments, your passion will need to be the reason you do what you do, encouraging you to keep moving forward and sticking to your goal.
Before we get into the different roles that entrepreneurs play in startups, let’s cover the main types of entrepreneurship from which you can choose.
Entrepreneurs who start a social entrepreneurship have a community-centered mission, looking to address social inequality, environmental concerns, or economic development. In this case, entrepreneurs are driven by their passion and truly seeing improvements around them, unlike other kinds of entrepreneurs that may be profit-driven.
Scalable startup entrepreneurship
If you dream big, this may be the right choice for you. These entrepreneurs are full of innovative, profit-making ideas that focus on filling the gap that currently exists in the market and grow from there, becoming a profitable and larger company in a short period of time. With these big goals on the table, startups are a favorite of venture capitalists because when properly developed, they can create large profits in a short period of time.
Small business entrepreneurship
Once again focusing more on the goal of the business instead of simply making large profits quickly, small business entrepreneurs exist to fill a need, such as your local dry cleaners or nail salon. These typically don’t aim to expand to new locations or are interested in franchisement; they are focused more on their goal.
Large company entrepreneurship
This is the opposite of small company entrepreneurship; large company entrepreneurs want to grow rapidly and expand their offering through new products, services, or locations. Instead of capitalizing on a hole in the market, large company entrepreneurship uses an existing business model to make money.
This is where the most traditional definition of entrepreneurship comes into play; innovative entrepreneurs have identified a market need and created their company with the goal of filling this hole. This type of entrepreneur tends to be incredibly creative and motivated, bringing their idea from zero to actually on the market.
Who can be an entrepreneur?
The easy answer is anyone. And while this probably doesn’t help actually answer your question, it is the truth. However, we can sort most entrepreneurs into five categories: the innovators, hustlers, imitators, researchers, and buyers.
The innovating entrepreneur: these are the entrepreneurs you see in the news; they’re the ones creating new products and services and filling market needs. They’re very passionate about their idea and benefit from leading their product’s development, making all the big decisions.
The hustling entrepreneur: as the name suggests, hustler entrepreneurs are ready to get to work and do what it takes to lift their business off the ground, even if it means long hours and days. They typically start small, and grow their business as they reach success.
The imitating entrepreneur: instead of creating their own business ideas, imitating entrepreneurs take an existing business model or idea and expand upon it, either improving it or moving in a completely different direction to fill a market need.
The researching entrepreneur: for the more cautious and slow-moving entrepreneur, researchers tend to spend lots of time preparing their business plan before getting started, preparing for any possible issue. This could mean that they miss out on business opportunities, especially if they’re trying to stand out from the competition or fill a current hole in the market.
The buying entrepreneur: with a healthy bank account behind them, buying entrepreneurs choose to invest in lucrative opportunities that are set to enter the market quickly and make fast profits.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the different kinds of entrepreneurial ventures and entrepreneurs, it’s time to dive into the good stuff: how to get your idea off the ground and become an entrepreneur yourself. No matter which you choose, carefully read through the process and make the right decision for yourself.
Concept to Startup
So you have your great idea: it’s either something that doesn't currently exist in the market or to provide an alternative to an existing product or service. Where do you go from here? How do you actually take that first step towards making your idea a reality? Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to success:
Dissect your idea
You have your idea, but are you totally sure that it will be viable? Is it different enough than what’s already offered so that you will attract an audience and make a profit? To find answers to these questions, try conducting market research and contacting your desired audience to see how it’s received through surveys, competitor analysis, and focus groups. And if you’re eager to get even more feedback, creating a minimum viable product to test with customers is a great way to gauge interest.
During this stage, it’s important to be open to change and negative feedback; it’s completely possible that things don’t work out as you’ve imagined. Instead of getting discouraged, be grateful for the opportunity to finetune things before you invest too much time and money into the product.
Work on your business plan
With your idea fully fleshed out, it’s time to get to work on the business plan. Within your business plan, make sure you include:
Risks and challenges
It might seem tedious, especially if you’re eager to get started, but ensuring your business plan is well written will save you time later on and provide a strong foundation for your company.
Build a MVP or prototype
You’re probably eager to release your product/service to the market and see how it does–and that’s totally fair. But before you spend lots of time and money on developing a product that may not be well-received in the market, creating a MVP or prototype is a good first step. This simplified version of what you plan to offer can help you gauge interest and collect helpful feedback for when you actually start releasing your full product.
Between loans, venture capital, grants, and investors, you have lots of ways to find funding for your idea. And with a solidly built business plan, it’ll be easier to prove the profitability of your company to potential sponsors, helping you reach the market fast. Take time to reach out to possible financing sources, allowing you to evaluate who aligns best with your brand and can provide you with the money you need to get off the ground.
Construct your company
With a business plan, MVP, and funding behind you, it’s time to start thinking about the help you’ll need. When building your team, evaluate different personalities and skills and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of hiring full-time employees, freelancers, or contractors. We can’t tell you which is right for you, but make sure you’re open and honest with potential candidates about the status of your company and offer them fair compensation for their work.
Create your brand
You know the importance of branding--potential customers that can identify your company are more likely to return and become loyal clients. And in order for you to gain more clients, you’ll need to get your company name out there through marketing, smart website design, and social media. Make sure your style and images are the same through all channels, creating a cohesive and trustworthy image of your brand.
Get your idea out there!
You’re ready to get going and release your product/service to the world. Creating a detailed and well-developed marketing strategy can make this step easier and smoother, allowing you to start making a name for yourself. And while you may be absolutely thrilled about launching your startup, make sure you take it slow and steady and keep realistic expectations. You’ll most likely need a bit of time to gain notoriety and turn profits; don’t become disappointed if things don’t work out perfectly immediately. Good things take time!
There’s a reason why the majority of startups that we hear about are tech-related: there are so many great ways technology can help us! So if you’re ready to take the first step towards bringing your tech idea off the ground, expanding the market as we know it, you’re in the right place. At Ironhack, we’re dedicated to creating the next generation of business-minded techies who are full of creativity and passion.
If you’re interested in seeing where a tech career in web development, data analytics, UX/UI design, or cybersecurity could take you, check out our bootcamps and choose the one that most interests you. From there, the sky's the limit.