By: Lauren Perrodin

Owning and operating a business is a dream for many individuals. In 2021, there were 33.2 million small businesses in the U.S., making up 99% of all businesses across the nation, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Being your own boss sounds empowering and impressive, but it's not for everyone. Are you cut out for the role? Here’s what you need to know and how to get started.

What Ideas Do You Have That Will Contribute to Society?

Becoming an entrepreneur within a nation of small businesses (SMBs) can be daunting. You may be wondering how to get started, how to succeed and how to stand out from the crowd.

A lot of these questions boil down to the viability of your business plan. Consider how you will contribute to a saturated market and why people will benefit from your product or service.

As a fun exercise, put yourself in the shoes of Shark Tank contestants. Many of the ideas featured on that show make it into stores around the world. But, it’s important to analyze what made these products or services valuable to the investors, and how the entrepreneurs framed their concept so that it was worthy of an investment.

Developing a problem-solving strategy as you approach an investment-worthy business venture can help guide you through the process.

Are You Willing to Take a Risk for Your Idea?

Launching your own company is not for the faint of heart. Some businesses will find short-term success right away, but just a handful will last for the long term. The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted in 2022 that around 20% of new businesses closed within the first year of opening.

Starting a business is not like finding a new job — you are setting the grassroots for the company you want, and usually from scratch. As such, it takes a lot of time, effort and initial funding to get started.

However, that’s part of the excitement of pursuing entrepreneurship. If you expect and prepare for the peaks and valleys of opening your own business — and seeing the mile markers as they come — your journey toward success could be a lot more fun.

The key here is to develop your skill in pivoting quickly when needed. Some things crop up that you may not expect, such as a market crash or a new study against an aspect of your industry. Stay calm, and consider how you can pivot your strategy to meet these challenges.

Communicating Your Idea to Others

Unless you come from a wealthy family that can fund your business and the expenses that come with it, you’ll have to appeal to investors (Shark Tank isn’t too far off). They are a big part of starting a business and they’ll expect you to communicate your business plan in a clear, concise way.

This is where an elevator pitch comes in. If you haven’t heard, an elevator pitch is a short, typically 30-second-long speech meant to pique the interest and curiosity of the investor. It should cover what the business is about and create excitement to incentivize a more formal conversation.

Dig back into what ancient scholars did to convince their peers of a new observation or belief during debates. This practice was called rhetoric conversations, using emotional appeals supported by data and logic.

Rest Assured You Don’t Have to Go in Alone

We can help along the way with courses that will give you the tools you’ll need to succeed. Try our Professional Certificates in Entrepreneurship or Leadership and Organizational Excellence.