If you have an idea and enough determination to see it through, you can be an entrepreneur.
Each November, Global Entrepreneurship Week (#GEW2019) celebrates the creative and innovative people doing business in a new way around the world.
Professor Shane Snipes, coordinator of BMCC’s Small Business/Entrepreneurship major, discusses what it means to be an entrepreneur and how to get started:
What is entrepreneurship?
At its core, entrepreneurship is the process of turning any idea into reality. Do you want to start your own business? Find your dream job? Begin a new hobby? Found a non-profit? Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle and mindset that gives you the freedom to network with new people and access new ideas to make that idea happen.
Entrepreneurship is a workflow: discover, act, and reflect. Being an entrepreneur means you are always in scanning mode looking for opportunities that apply to you. It can help you face changes in life ─ problems, career changes, evolving interests and passions ─ and make them into a chance to take action.
Be your own boss
As an entrepreneur, you’re in charge. You call the shots, but you also do all the hard work to build something from scratch.
But, the rewards are worth it. For me, the best part of being an entrepreneur is building something that runs on its own. After months or years of work, you get to a point where you stop being the engine and let the idea run itself. Just steer it as it runs. It’s a hugely fulfilling moment.
Business + Emotions = Purpose
Entrepreneurs embrace their own values, feelings, and interests to create companies. I call it purpose: what do you want to accomplish here?
Young companies are embedding emotion and mission into their business culture, and it makes them great places to work for and buy from. You may know a company called Tom’s Shoes. They had a social mission from the beginning: donate a pair of shoes for every one they sold. They weren’t a shoe company first and then decided to give shoes away after they made a ton of money. They wove those goals together into one purpose, which made them a success.
What do you care deeply about? What need in society can you fill?
Who makes a good entrepreneur?
Anyone can be an entrepreneur. It doesn’t mean everyone will have their own successful company (that’s not everyone’s goal), but anyone can think entrepreneurially. There are two qualities I think great entrepreneurs all have in common: persistence and curiosity.
People who have had to overcome some big challenges in life are often the most successful entrepreneurs. They’ve learned to be persistent, to keep trying even when it is a struggle. Those who know when to keep pushing when they get a ‘no’ and when to adjust and take another route when they reach a ‘no’ are in good shape. I teach that skill in my classes.
The best entrepreneurs also tend to be the people who are naturally curious. If you are always curious about stuff, you will uncover new ideas ─ and if you’ve taken an entrepreneur class you may feel empowered to do something with that new discovery.
Entrepreneurship at BMCC
Spending two years in the Small Business/ Entrepreneurship (SBE) program at BMCC really sets you up with the foundation you need to start thinking and acting like an entrepreneur.
One of the unique things about our program is that every student takes a capstone course (SBE 400) where they spend a semester developing their own idea for an organization or business. We spend a whole semester making a plan to perfect a product or service, find customers, and market your business. Students walk out of class the last day, and they are already effectively CEOs of brand new small companies.
BMCC students also qualify for startup funding and support from CUNY. The CUNY Startup Accelerator program grants students up to $5,000 and specialized training to refine their plan and get their idea ready to launch.
Now that you’re feeling super inspired, here’s what to do next.
1) Want more sights on becoming an entrepreneur? Watch our #AskTheEntrepreneur series! Throughout the year, I sit down with successful self-starters to ask them how they got their start and get their advice for others wanting to found organizations and businesses. Find a video on our YouTube channel.
2) Follow us on social media. BMCC’s Small Business/Entrepreneurship program is posting regularly on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
3) Visit our webpage! Get more info about the program — like what classes you could take as an Entrepreneurship major.
The content of this post was dictated by Shane Snipes and written and edited for clarity and brevity by Olivia Harris.
Photo by Samson Creative.
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