A Beginner’s Guide to Engaging in Entrepreneurship
By: Ali Arnold Date: 10/02/2023
Written by Monica Garza
“Passion, creativity, and resilience are the most crucial skills in business. If you’ve got those, you’re ready to embark on the journey,”
— Jo Malone, Founder of Jo Malone
The thought of developing a new business completely from scratch may pose many thoughts of disinclination and uncertainty, especially when solely focusing on the potential obstacles and failures. Conversely, concentrating on the possible outcomes of social impact and groundbreaking innovation through entrepreneurship undeniably transforms the way we approach startup development. This reframing can ignite you with encouragement, optimism, and dedication.
Although not commonly perceived as such, entrepreneurship can certainly be pursued by anyone. Entrepreneurship as an industry holds 5.2 million POC identifying small business owners and 6.3 million American small business owners born outside the U.S., according to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy. Additionally, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, there are approximately 274 million female identifying entrepreneurs as of 2020.
While some founders entered the industry deliberately, there are many others who began their entrepreneurship journeys unintentionally. Many of these ‘accidental entrepreneurs’ began by pursuing another career path or simply following their passions before stumbling across a problem they became committed to solving, creating an aftereffect of increased representation across founders and industries.
Entrepreneurship has also proven to be a highly fulfilling and favorable path as a whopping 92% of entrepreneurs don’t regret launching their businesses, according to Fundera.
Are you sold on being an innovator yet? The best way to break into entrepreneurship is by simply starting! Outlined ahead, you’ll find our recommended first steps to launching head-first into your entrepreneurship journey:
1- Identify a need/challenge.
All businesses were initially created to meet the needs and wants of society. Products and services of value serve as enrichment to people’s lives or as solutions to their challenges. As such, you must first identify a need or challenge in society when ideating business opportunities.
When approaching a social challenge, it is important to note that they are partly objective and subjective. By taking both lenses into consideration, you can identify which aspects of the social challenge are factual and verified, and which have the flexibility for your own personal evaluation to shape the social challenge.
By assessing your own experiences, feelings, beliefs, and opinions on the identified pain point, your evaluation can uniquely guide your approach to developing a solution. Additionally, you certainly don’t need to have experienced the issue to be able to develop an excellent business-based solution to it. But by being intentional in understanding the challenge, innovation can come to fruition.
2- Understand the need/challenge.
Before you jump into developing a business plan, you first must ensure that you have a solid understanding of the need you’ve identified. By establishing this foundation, you will be led to create your own innovative and distinct product or service.
Simply researching the challenge you are looking to solve can transform the way you approach the issue. Mediums such as articles, textbooks, and reports can be excellent ways to dive deeper into your topic. Primary research can also be conducted by interviewing stakeholders or speaking to educators and professionals with expertise in your topic.
Accessing your competitive landscape is also vital in ensuring that your idea is distinct and offers a unique value to potential customers. A comprehensive understanding of your competition and their approaches in solving the same or similar objective will lead you to identifying unaddressed gaps in the market where you can establish your niche.
3- Ideate your solution.
Now that you have identified a need and have a deeper, nuanced understanding of it, the process of ideating a business plan will effectively flow.
An ideal business concept is strategic, distinct, and innovative. It provides a unique value to the target market, as well as a product or service that they would intentionally seek out and benefit from. An effective business plan is also intentional about establishing the overall objective, measurable goals that will help you reach it, and the tangible steps that you will need to take to reach each one.
After ideating, a business concept certainly continues to evolve as you move it forward. Throughout the refinement process, you should continue to receive feedback from stakeholders and beneficiaries. Networking to seek mentors, potential business partners, and establish connections, overall, is an excellent way to invest in your business’s future trajectory.
The startup ecosystem at UT Austin offers a plethora of entrepreneurship resources that can support you in every step of your journey, whether you own a high-revenue corporation or are still identifying a social need. Even better, finding the right resource for you is made easy by The Guide to UT Austin’s Startup Ecosystem and The Navigator.
Released every fall by the Herb Kelleher Entrepreneurship Center, The Guide offers a comprehensive broad overview of the 50+ entrepreneurship resource offices across the Forty Acres. The Navigator, created by Discovery to Impact, is an online hub for all things entrepreneurship at UT. With interactive features to help connect you with resources targeted at your specific needs, The Navigator makes engaging with entrepreneurship at UT easier than ever.
Without innovative problem-solving through entrepreneurship, the wheels of progress would still. Passionate individuals pursuing the entrepreneurship journey yield the expansion of fulfilled societal needs and addressed global challenges. Forging the path to lasting impact simply begins with the first step. Are you ready to take it?
The Herb Kelleher Entrepreneurship Center offers a variety of dynamic resources, including competitive funding opportunities, networking events, informative article series, mentorship and more.