Starting a business is not for the faint of heart. It can be a daunting endeavor, yet it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Contrary to what you’ve been led to believe, becoming an entrepreneur does not require a college degree, experience, nor vast sums of capital. What it does require is you educating yourself on the pros and cons, the ins and outs, even the risks and rewards of business ownership. It can mean knowing the difference between single and corporate ownership and what that can entail in terms of your private property and business assets.

When first starting a business as an entrepreneur, you only need two things: GRIT and a plan. 

What is GRIT? It is Guts, Research, Idea and Team. Let’s go over the first three for a bit before diving into the last two – a team and a plan.

Not many people have the guts and resolve to become an entrepreneur. Most people prefer the steadiness of a nine-to-five job and the reliability of a monthly income to the roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

Even when you’re starting out, you don’t need to quit your day job just yet. All you need is the guts to start and an idea that you can run with. Sometimes the latter doesn’t even come until much later. Once you entertain the thought of becoming an entrepreneur, you can look around and see what’s available in the market – how is the social and political landscape? Are there potential products that can fulfill a need, which wasn’t there before? 

An example of this is the recent global pandemic, which caused a proliferation of products and services, which were never popular or needed before. The threat of the coronavirus to everyone’s safety has called for anti-droplet masks, virtual services, online fitness classes, reliable video conferencing apps, more efficient delivery services, and more online shopping for a broader array of products (not just apparel, but groceries, ready-to-cook gourmet food, and even gym equipment!). For the past few months, more suppliers have entered into these categories than at any other point in the past decade. 

There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of the opportunities presented by a void in the market, whether it’s dictated by a global health crisis or by a niche group of people. Becoming an entrepreneur means reading the pulse of what’s necessary today. 

Once you have a burgeoning idea, you can talk to others about it – start with your inner circle. What do they think? Do they have comments or suggestions? Be open to criticism. From there, you can develop the idea further. If there are improvements or changes to be made, incorporate them. 

Next, research. Are there similar products or services in the market? Who are your competitors? Who is your target market? At this point, it’s imperative you create an initial SWOT analysis in order to assess your business. Determine how you will operate – purely online or do you need a physical store, for example. Determine your financials – how much do you need to get off the ground? How much do you stand to lose if the business folds? 

Form a team and make a plan

Some entrepreneurs want to save money and they choose to go it on their own for far longer than they need to. Most find they need the help, and that they would have been better off forming a team sooner rather than later. Needless to say, for certain businesses, finding a partner may be necessary. Not only will this person help keep you on track, share costs, and provide another pair of hands, most times, they can also connect you with the key players you’ll need in order to get your business off the ground.

But what if you don’t know anyone? 

Start from your personal network – let your family and friends know you’re looking for someone. Chances are high someone knows someone else who might be interested in joining you. 

Most times, ideas start from an informal discussion with friends over coffee or a night out. One of you mentions an idea and the other person runs with it. A partnership is formed. Because you are both passionate about the idea you’ve come up with, trust will be easier to come by. 

Determine your staffing needs. Most startups find they require an assistant, virtual or otherwise, to help them with administrative tasks that are necessary for operations yet don’t require personal attention. As startups go, your time is precious. You will need to concentrate on things only you can do, and delegate the others to someone else.

Even though the number of team members is largely determined by the complexity of your business, most startups require at least two or three to get off the ground… an accountant, an investor, a strategic planner…

Although the thought of hiring people can be challenging, given the need to find top level candidates on a startup budget, the process can be relatively painless if you know where to begin looking. It may be simplistic, but there are a lot of job sites you can browse for candidates, seminars where you can network for a similar-minded group of people, community events, and even internet sites and blogs you can follow on the business and market you’re targeting. Even social media sites nowadays are rife with candidates ripe for the picking – most of them tired of working for big corporations and ready for the next step to grow their careers.

A word of caution: Don’t rush into forming your team right away – take your time finding the right candidates. Work with the adage – hire slow, fire fast. Not having the right team for your startup is the third top reason why startups fail (no market need and running out of cash being reasons number one and two).

Starting a business can be a grueling task, but you need not be daunted by it. To become an entrepreneur, you need a plan and GRIT: The guts to contemplate the idea and leave a potentially more stable job to go off on your own, plus the resolve to surmount challenges you will face along the way; an incredible idea for what your business will be about; the time and effort to research its necessity and viability in the market; a long-term plan and vision on how to push forward not only in the early stages but also in the future, and, most importantly, a team to help your business succeed. 

As with any company – big or small, the people you hire can make or break you. The core team you form in the beginning will most likely determine whether your business will succeed or fail. The better the team you start with, the easier you will have it later on.