A Crash Course to Entrepreneurship and Startups

The Oxford Dictionary defines entrepreneurship as the “activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit”. An entrepreneur attempts to bring a novel or improved (building onto something that already exists) idea to life to satisfy a market need or gap. To maximize their success rate, they define a business plan, hire adequate talents, manage their business and secure finances (loans or crowdfunding). Interestingly, every entrepreneur’s journey is different and often not applicable to anyone else as they are market and context dependent. 

However below are a few common traits that are shared:

  • A wide skill palette: the path to entrepreneurship is a tough one – high-risk, prone to failure, competitive, emotionally draining and time pressured but extremely rewarding. Having a diverse toolkit will enhance a firm’s success and important to point out that a degree in entrepreneurship is not necessary to start your own business. Paradoxically, coming from a different field will mean that you have other skill sets which you can apply. Stay curious, take on different opportunities (internships, work shadows, placements), online courses, switch to different domains (ie if you work in Finance give Sales a go). 
  • Financial stability: If your idea is successfully implemented you can expect your investments to be returned to you as well as pay back your loans. However, this takes time and in the meantime you have to pay for everything – development, advertising (website and social media), manufacturing, salaries, business equipment (eg computers), rent. You may be taking on financial risks which may put you in personal jeopardy. Exceptions do exist of successful entrepreneurs who founded businesses with low cash flow but these are generally not the norm. So bear this in mind.

Featured Courses

The CPD accredited courses are carefully crafted to help you gain in-depth knowledge on a topic of your interest.

  • Identifying a problem:  Your idea (product or service) to be successful should respond to a clear market need/gap and be tailored to specific/general audiences. It needs to solve a problem that a consumer group or other business lacks. At this point, lots of market research, competitor analysis and network is needed.  
  • Bringing a unique solution: Your idea needs to solve the previously identified problem uniquely to make you stand out from any existing or prospective competitors – What will be your selling point or advantage that no one offers?

Startups specifically refers to a firm which is in the earliest stages of operations, needing high costs and generating limited revenue. As such they are high-risk and are initially financed by their founders and interested investors (loans, family and friends, crowdfunding). They are however extremely rewarding and there are many opportunities for students to get a taste of this by entering competitions.