In previous articles, we’ve always stressed out how athletes have a unique career in the sense that it’s both short and rewarding, as opposed to an ordinary career path. As a result, as an athlete, once you retire, or even while you’re still a player, you have the time, money as well as the energy it takes to become an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur can mean several things but simply put, it means starting your own business and implementing your ideas. Becoming an entrepreneur might sound challenging, or even intimidating, so it’s important to structure things in a way that you have the fundamental knowledge of what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Truth is, not everyone is made to be an entrepreneur, so this is by no means the formula to becoming the next Shaquille O’Neal, one of the greatest athlete entrepreneurs. Our aim is to help you understand where to begin from and how to formulate your business plan.
The road to entrepreneurship: Where do you begin?
Initially and most importantly, you need to identify your passion or interests. One of the most important aspects of starting a business is to choose a field, industry, service or product about which you are passionate. Practically, it just doesn’t make sense to open a coffee shop when you don’t even drink coffee. After you’ve identified your passion, it’s vital to educate yourself and learn as much as you can about the topic or idea that you’ve chosen. Finally, after you’ve come up with the idea, it’s important that you solidify it through a business plan. Your business plan will act as your compass in your intended business endeavor.
Preparing a Business Plan
No self-respecting team runs onto the field without a game plan. When you have a business goal in mind, you need a solid plan. At the initial stage, the first draft need not be elaborate, don’t get bogged down in creating the “perfect” plan—there’s no such thing. Just getting some bullet point ideas down on paper will help. A business plan is a roadmap to creating the business you imagine and making it successful. The plan will change over time as your knowledge grows and new ideas come to mind.
The preparation of a business plan will force you to think strategically; strategic planning is the foundation of success for any start-up idea. Strategic planning encompasses the following business concepts and fundamentals:
- Describe your goals
Accurately describe your business goals and objectives. Here is an example of specific objectives:
“I will start an Internet marketing company. Ten thousand people will have visited my site by January, and I will have made income exceeding US$25,000 from online advertising.”
- Describe your product or service
What product or service will you offer? Describe your idea in as much detail as possible. Identify the strengths and weaknesses and set the price point (base price at which the product or service will be sold). Clarity of thinking at the outset will help develop all the details that must follow.
- Finding the need
Find out early whether the market has a need for your product/ service. You should offer a solution to a problem for which people are actively looking. There must be a demand for your product/service, and people must be willing to pay for your solution. Additionally, you should verify whether other products or services already exist that offer the same solution at a better price.
- Identify your competition
Thoroughly understanding your competition gives you an advantage when marketing your product or service. Learn what they offer, their pricing, and what makes them stand out. Learn the history of your competition and some of their top customers.
- List your skills
What experience do you have that puts you in a great position to start this business?
Understanding the skills you bring to the table gives you confidence to stand behind your product or service and gives your business a competitive advantage. A skill doesn’t have to necessarily revolve around education or qualifications, it can be the network that you’ve created throughout your career and the close connections that you’ve built.
- Identify risk and reward
As with all investments, managing risk is an important part of starting a business— especially your first business venture. The ability to accurately evaluate risk is a key attribute of a successful entrepreneur. A common misperception is that entrepreneurs are crazy risk-takers. Successful entrepreneurs don’t take wild risks— only calculated ones.
- Identify your target market and how to reach your customer
Who are your potential customers? Target market means those people who are most likely to purchase your product or service, and to whom your selling efforts will be directed. A true understanding of your target market is one of the most important pieces of your business plan. So identify the people to whom you’re trying to sell.
- Figure out the financing of your business venture
Who’s going to put the money for this business idea? It’s generally not recommended to just dive into your savings account and pour money straight into the business. You could consider partnering with individuals or companies who’re more familiar with the industry. Furthermore, you should reach out to financial institutions (Banks) and see if you could finance your idea through a Loan and under what terms.
- Project what the return on your investment
As challenging as it sounds, it’s not as hard to do, assuming you have a good understanding of the industry. Try to figure out what will be the future revenues and what are the current and future costs. If that intimidates you, there are always experts who specialize at valuing your investment and projecting the returns.
As you’ve realized, becoming an entrepreneur is not a task for the idle and the light-hearted. It takes a lot to be a successful entrepreneur, the least of which we’ve discussed in this article. You should remember that getting prepared for entrepreneurship will give you better chances of success in your entrepreneurial endeavors. For guidance in your future entrepreneurial ventures you may get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to be of assistance!