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How to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Written by: Wilson College   •  Jun 6, 2023

An Entrepreneur Prepares Boxes for Shipping.

How to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is on the rise as more individuals seek autonomy and the opportunity to create a legacy. In 2017, entrepreneurs filed nearly 3.2 million applications for new businesses, according to the U.S. Census Bureau; in 2022, the number of new business applications totaled almost 5.1 million.

Whether you’re interested in starting a side business or launching a global empire, becoming familiar with how to be a successful entrepreneur can establish a solid foundation for your endeavors. Anyone who is considering a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship can benefit from learning about becoming an entrepreneur and what it takes to start a thriving business.

What Is an Entrepreneur?

Definitions of the term vary, but most agree that an entrepreneur is someone who initiates, develops, launches, and operates a new business.

Being an entrepreneur generally means:

  • Being fueled by passion for an idea
  • Identifying an unfilled need and developing a solution to address that need
  • Assuming the risks and reaping the rewards of a new venture
  • Having the chance to promote greater prosperity, both for yourself and across society

Steps to Become an Entrepreneur

Becoming a successful entrepreneur involves completing certain steps outlined below.

Step 1: Pursue Useful Education

Acquiring basic business expertise is key. A degree in a field such as business or entrepreneurship offers valuable knowledge in areas such as:

  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Business planning
  • Goal setting

Pursuing education also enables students to learn about examples of business success and failure that can inform their efforts to launch a business.

Step 2: Gain Experience and Network

Acquiring experience through jobs or apprenticeships offers insight into real-world business operations. Building a network of business contacts can also lead to helpful business advice and tips on potential business opportunities. Good contacts can also lead entrepreneurs to investors or opportunities to apply for business grants or loans.

While gaining experience and networking, individuals can also enhance their skills in areas that are vital to entrepreneurship, such as:

  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Strategic thinking
  • Communication

Step 3: Develop Your Business Idea

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) suggests that aspiring entrepreneurs consider the following when developing a new business idea:

  • Demand for and customer interest in the proposed product or service
  • Incomes and employment rates of potential customers
  • Where customers for the product or service are located, and how far the enterprise could reach
  • Existing products or services that are similar to your idea, and the prices consumers pay for those products or services

Step 4: Create a Business Plan

Creating an effective business plan is critical to achieving success in entrepreneurship. According to the SBA, business plans should include:

  • An overall description of the business
  • A thorough marketing analysis for the product or service the business will offer
  • A description of the business structure and how the business will be managed
  • A detailed description of the product or service the business will offer
  • An explanation of how the business will attract customers and retain them
  • Financial projections

Step 5: Seek Funding and Establish the Business

Entrepreneurs can choose from a variety of funding options to launch their enterprises. For example, they can pursue business loans or grants, bring in investors, or use their own capital. Establishing a relationship with a bank is also crucial in setting up financial accounts and obtaining credit. Selecting a business structure (for example, sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, or corporation) is also important. The choice of structure will significantly influence the degree of personal liability an entrepreneur will bear; it also has important implications for taxation. Obtaining any necessary business licenses and registering your company with the appropriate agencies will also be necessary.

Step 6: Set Up Operations and Open for Business

Establishing business operations involves hiring the necessary employees and setting up important functions such as accounting, marketing, and sales. But remember that this process also involves creating the culture and working environment that reflects the business’s values.

Before opening their doors, entrepreneurs sometimes start with a test run to gauge consumers’ reactions to products or services. After applying lessons learned, entrepreneurs then begin marketing their offerings on a wider scale.

6 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

Learning the traits that lead to success in entrepreneurship helps individuals identify the characteristics they should cultivate. Successful entrepreneur traits include the following:

1. Creativity

The ability to imagine new concepts and develop a vision for a new product or service is vital to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

2. Flexibility

Being able to pivot, consider other points of view, and collaborate can help entrepreneurs to refine and improve their goals for a business.

3. Passion

Dedication to an enterprise can sustain entrepreneurs in pursuing their goals over the long term. Passion also helps entrepreneurs successfully pitch their ideas to investors and sell their products and services to customers.

4. Persuasiveness

Being able to convince others of the strength of a business idea is critical in funding and growing a business; it also helps in marketing a product or service.

5. Self-Motivation

Entrepreneurs need to have the desire to keep working and develop a business without prompting from others.

6. Tenacity

Consistently overcoming challenges, working through obstacles, and keeping goals in sight helps entrepreneurs achieve success.

4 Tips for Future Entrepreneurs

The world is full of tips for entrepreneurs, but advice from a proven success is always valuable. Berkshire Hathaway chairman and chief executive officer Warren Buffet offered these tips to The Ascent:

1. Avoid Shortcuts

Shortcuts can be tempting, but they can rapidly destroy a business’s reputation. Avoiding shortcuts can help businesses maintain strong relationships with all stakeholders.

2. Carve Out Time for Thought and Reflection

Regularly taking the time to think and reflect can help entrepreneurs avoid making unwise, impulsive decisions. Reading about and reflecting on topics related to an enterprise is also important.

3. Have Confidence in Yourself

Believing in oneself is critical. Self-confidence and a strong belief in a vision for an enterprise encourages others to act in a similar fashion.

4. Hire Trustworthy and Talented People

Look for employees who have the integrity, energy, and intelligence to do the right thing. These attributes are also crucial in building a team of high performers.

Embarking on an Entrepreneurial Path

Achieving success as an entrepreneur requires hard work, determination, and the right education. If you’re interested in launching businesses and steering your own path, consider Wilson College Online’s Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurship degree program to help you reach your professional ambitions. Our program offers students expertise in areas such as business planning, finance, and goal-setting, laying the groundwork for a rewarding career. Start on the path to entrepreneurship today.


The Ascent, “How to Become an Entrepreneur: Steps, Tips, and Where to Start”

The Ascent, “Warren Buffett’s 4 Best Tips for Running a Business”

Business News Daily, “Entrepreneurship Defined: What It Means to Be an Entrepreneur”

Business News Daily, “How to Start a Business: A Step-by-Step Guide”

Corporate Finance Institute, Entrepreneur

Forbes, “Pandemic Fuels Global Growth of Entrepreneurship and Startup Frenzy”

Frontiers in Psychology, “Entrepreneurial Passion and Entrepreneurial Success—The Role of Psychological Capital and Entrepreneurial Policy Support”

Indeed, “A Guide to Entrepreneurial Skills: Definition and Examples”

Indeed, “How to Become an Entrepreneur in 7 Steps (With FAQ)”

U.S. Census Bureau, Business and Industry

U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Entrepreneurs Reveal the 6 Personality Traits That Make Them Successful”

U.S. Small Business Administration, Market Research and Competitive Analysis

U.S. Small Business Administration, Write Your Business Plan

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