In 2006, American traveller Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. His solution to the problem was simple, yet revolutionary, to create a for-profit business that was sustainable and not reliant on donations. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS customers. Today, it has turned into a global movement. TOMS has given over two million pairs of new shoes to children in need since the company begun. Recently, Blake (CEO and Founder) has expanded his unique business model to include TOMS Eyewear, helping to save and restore sight for those in need.
Entrepreneurship is a state of mind. Guided by research and original thinking, it is a mentality that craves to step out of an everyday office routine and begin a journey to developing something new and fresh. Having the inventiveness and passion to start a business is a dream held by many, yet acted on by few.
At the European School of Economics, ESE graduates are among the most competitive business professionals on the market, prepared for leadership roles in international marketing, finance, communication and management. Within each student there is a compelling vision waiting to be discovered. ESE works to identify this passion and articulate it to maximise their abilities.
In today’s globalized economy being the boss and launching a start-up is more feasible than ever and no matter what the motivation is, if you have a product to sell, a target market and a way to collect money there is tremendous opportunity for success.
10 USEFUL TIPS ON STARTING A BUSINESS AND BEING THE BOSS
- Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Training
You might be skilled in a particular field but that doesn’t necessarily give you the overall tools to successfully run your own company in the sector. Consider going back to school or earning an MBA to help you learn about good business practices and the basics of entrepreneurship.
- Set Short Term/Long Term Goals
When you are employed for someone else you are usually given tasks to complete and goals to meet. When you become your own boss you need to be sure to do the same thing. Make a list of goals to accomplish each day and once you get in the habit of meeting each goal you will find ways to introduce new targets and possible accomplishments. Additionally, compile long-term goals, not only for your business but for your own career.
- Sell By Creating Value
People purchase products and services every day, the more people you serve, the more revenue your business will generate. When considering your customers or clients ask yourself fundamental questions such as: What can I give them? How will my product or service make them successful in their own pursuits? This thoughtful approach can help lead to new marketing strategies to hone your product or service delivering more value, which your customers will appreciate
- Build a Support Network
You are the boss and made the internal commitment to your business however strength comes in numbers. Cultivate a network of supporters, advisors, partners, allies and vendors. Attend networking events, join your local chamber of commerce and listen to others who have successfully launched their own businesses and emulate their work ethic
- Identify Your Personal Finances
As an entrepreneur, your personal life and business life are interconnected. You are likely to be your first–and possibly only—investor, therefore, having a clear understanding of your personal finances, and the ability to track them, is an essential first step before seeking outside funding for your business. Consider what type of business you’re building: a lifestyle business (smaller amount of start-up funds), a franchise (moderate investment depending on the franchise), or a high-tech business (will require significant capital investment). Depending on where you fall on the continuum, different amounts of money are needed to launch and grow your business.
- Evaluate Your Progress
The benefit of having a boss is having someone to evaluate your progress as an employee on an annual basis. When you are your own boss, you have to practice the art of self-evaluation to make sure you are meeting all your targets. Critically analysing the elements, which are working as well as the areas that need improvement will have a significant impact on your business. Brainstorm a few tangible ideas for how you can improve upon your faults and better work towards your goals.
- Understand Your Target Audience
Before you create your financial plan, find out if there is sufficient interest in your products or services. Analysing your market may be the most important thing you do. Who exactly will buy your products or services? What is the size of your target market? Who are your customers? Is your product or service relevant to their everyday life? Why do they need it? Besides conducting industry research, it’s important to get this information by asking your target market/customers directly.
- Reward Yourself
A good boss knows when to show employees a token of appreciation, so when you accomplish big goals or do a particularly great job, reward yourself. Whether it’s treating yourself to a nice lunch or just buying a little something to liven up your workspace, associating positive reinforcement with goal completion is a good way to progress.
- Identify the Right Business for You
Give yourself time to explore and learn about other businesses that interest you. Reflect on different facets of yourself like your personality, social style and age and learn to listen to your intuition. Ask yourself “What am I passionate about?” Package your skills from projects or past employment and embed these ideals within your own business.
- Take Responsibility and Make a Change
If you are dissatisfied with your current circumstances, admit that no one can fix them except for you. Blaming the economy, your boss, your family will not do you any good. Take responsibility and know that change can only occur when you make a conscious decision to make it happen. Being your own boss takes motivation, focus and hard work, but the important thing to remember is that you get back what you put in when you work for yourself. The greater your commitment, the higher your chances for success and financial gain will be.
Today’s business leaders are required to possess a diverse set of key skills and core competences that are essential to successfully plan, execute and evaluate a wide range of business activities. At the European School of Economics we have Masters and Specialised Programmes in Management introducing entrepreneurs to the fundamentals of successful business practice and giving you sound business advice.