How many steps does it take to become an entrepreneur?

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One man dreamed to be an entrepreneur. He attended a college, studied electronics and telecommunications engineering. At the age of 21 he took his first entrepreneurial plunge.

He started developing a liquid level controller to automate water pumping motors for residential apartments. Despite “slogging for 18 hours a day” and an early encouraging performance, his first venture could not take off. Mistakes he made early on turned out to be very costly and the business had to close.

This entrepreneur reckons that lack of analysis resulted in flawed plans and no contingency plans. He also lacked experience in various activities such as design, manufacturing, sales, finance. Because of this the result was several wrong decisions and with very little capital, the mistakes were “irreparable”.

This entrepreneur then was forced to take a job with a PC card set manufacturer and eventually working in the IT industry he got back into entrepreneurship because “my heart still yearns for entrepreneurship”. Second time around, the entrepreneur was successful.

This is a typical story of the entrepreneurial journey. It’s not even necessary to fill in the names and places because this pathway happens to many would-be entrepreneurs. You become an entrepreneur the moment you start a business of your own but when do you become a successful entrepreneur? That’s a difficult question to answer because it depends on the measure of your own success and the performance perhaps of your small business.

Small business founders and owners try to accumulate as much experience and knowledge before they venture into an entrepreneurial business. But it’s hard to know everything. You’ve got to learn while you take each step forward dealing with issues such as finance and cash flow, marketing, countering competitive threats, handling and trustworthy staff, and the possible nightmare of red tape. Each step takes you further along the entrepreneurial path.

An idea that has become popular is that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything. Yes, there can be overnight successes but how many people do you know who are successful without gaining the necessary qualifications and experience? Unfortunately, shortcuts lead often to failure. Paying your dues seems old-fashioned and old school but those that do seem to be always more successful.

Lao Tzu said a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. Each day, each hour, each moment that you take towards becoming an entrepreneur and getting your venture started from idea to product development and implementation takes you closer to your destination.

To answer the question “How many steps does it take to become an entrepreneur?” is that it really depends on what you want to do, the business that you envision for yourself and the marketplace.

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