Starting a new business is exciting. Seeing your idea being brought to life is an amazing experience. But we know the journey to get there can be daunting at times.
You’ve probably already got some ideas of what it takes to become an entrepreneur. We’ve broken down some of the common misconceptions around launching a new venture.
You are born an entrepreneur
Some people say entrepreneurship can’t be taught and that people are simply born that way. It’s true that some founders have a natural flair for starting new businesses, but there’s definitely not a hard and fast rule. Most likely, you’ll be taught about certain subjects – either at school, college, university or in your working life – and you’ll see how things can be done differently. People can learn the traits of entrepreneurship, and the day-to-day skills that come with running a business.
You have to do it all yourself
Entrepreneurs wear many hats, especially in the early days – the manager, the accountant, the bid manager, the sales assistant, the marketer, and sometimes the cleaner. But don’t forget to be the recruiter. You’re the head of your business, and you’ve got access to thousands, if not millions, of people who could work alongside you; learn to accept and ask for help from others. And don’t forget the people who’ve already seen there, done it and got the t-shirt. Having a mentor can seriously improve your chances of making your business a success. They’re there to guide you through any tricky patches, share their experience of dealing with similar situations and suggest practical ways to help solve your problems.
You have to have loads of money behind you
It all depends on the size and scale of your business, and how fast you want it to grow. If you’re looking to a million in your first year by manufacturing a brand-spanking new product, then some investment is potentially needed. But if it’s just you beavering away in your study, then your overheads could be small, and you may only need to bring in enough money to cover the basics and to be able to pay yourself a snall wage. Most likely that you’ll find yourself somewhere in the middle, although 73% of the businesses we’ve funded so far work from home, at least in the first instance. Getting a ton of money up front may not be the solution you need but Start Up Loans and crowdfunding could be options for you. The average amount we have given to founders through our Start Up Loans is £8,000, but it could be as little as £500 to launch or grow your venture.
You have to have a brand-new idea
Facebook wasn’t the first social media site, Coca-Cola didn’t invent fizzy drinks and Google wasn’t the first search engine. What you will need is the ability to innovate and be flexible. Flexibility to take your products or services to the next level, where your customers want them to go, delivering a better – or different – service to those around you.
You have to be young to be an entrepreneur
As we’ve pointed out, you can learn a lot of the skills you need to become a founder, and often you gather these through life experience. Who knows when that lightbulb moment might flicker your imagination into the idea of a lifetime? Entrepreneurs who start their businesses later in life have the advantage of a well-thumbed contacts book (or LinkedIn profile these days) to call on experts to help them out. Our oldest recipient (so far) of a Start Up Loan is Dennis Booth, who was 73-year-old at the time when he launched his removals business. Age is no barrier to start-up success.
You have to give up your day job
It’s estimated around 40% of people in a full-time job have a ‘side hustle’ – and half of those are doing it because they’re following a passion or new business opportunity. Again it depends what your business looks like, but there’s a good chance you could set it in motion while still being in work.
Everything that ties all these things together is support. And that’s where Virgin StartUp can really help. Loans to get businesses off the ground, mentors to bounce ideas off, networking opportunities to help grow your venture and classes to help you develop as an entrepreneur. Find out more today.