The Entrepreneurial Journey
My name is Patricia Quintero and today I launch the 2019 Entrepreneurship in Residence Program at the Toronto Reference Library. The past few weeks filled me with excitement as I planned and prepared this new program. This enthusiasm inspired me to reflect on my first venture. I remember how daunting it felt when I started my first business. For the planning phase of my programs, I have interviewed other entrepreneurs and they will be my guest speakers for the upcoming panel discussion on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at North York Central Library. I discovered that we all experienced the same fears and emotional phases.
So, here are the three categories my guest panelists and I share when we launched our new business ventures:
As entrepreneurs, we need to be committed to the path we are taking. We need a strong conviction of the solutions we are bringing to life with our new business and we need to stand by it. This new business is part of who we are. This is our brand and what we believe in.
We need to inspire ourselves on our business ideas and develop our knowledge on our ventures. We might not know everything, but we need to learn more and connect with like-minded people. Entrepreneurship can feel lonely at the beginning so we need to be able to tap into the resources available from our community. We have to find others, connect with them, share ideas, and always be willing to learn something new.
We also need to learn to execute our idea. Having a business idea seems easy, as a one of my professors once said in class, “Ideas are cheap, the power is in being able to deliver,” and this signifies where our commitment to our project will head. There will be many challenges and hurdles along the way, but the true test lies in overcoming them and turning that business idea into a tangible reality. Commitment to an idea is key to success.
As entrepreneurs, we need to be honest with ourselves. Be aware of what we stand for, what our stakeholders need, and what our “gut feelings” say. This awareness is very important when deciding on changing direction in our business plan towards success.
We start our venture with an idea and learn to measure our ability to match that idea to the needs of our customers. Be aware of what the customer wants, and be flexible enough to allow that idea to grow. Our idea may not seem as great as we initially felt, but if we connect our honesty to our customers’ needs, we should be able to turn that idea around to help benefit our customers and deliver better results.
We learn to observe and anticipate the risks involved in launching a new business. These risks include financial and reputational uncertainties, to name a few. Learn to consider and measure the impact. Sometimes the fear of failure can seem overwhelming because starting a new business is like delving through uncharted territory. However, learn to recognize this fear and work with it to learn to understand and mitigate the risks along the way.
Develop and nurture this new business as it develops through the years. Do not anticipate immediate results. This may feel like a lot of work but perseverance eventually pays off. Be aware that by starting a business this includes running that business. We have seen many brilliant individuals eventually forget that once they start a business they will need to spend the needed time to operate this business beyond the initial business idea to ensure that the business evolves and grows over time. Ensure that business skills (accounting, finance, operations, logistics) are up-to-date. Also, consider seeking a mentor to avoid costly mistakes down the road.
Entrepreneurs always face limited resources at the beginning. This limits many options. Time and money are common constraints and choosing how to allocate them is important.
Choose what customers to serve, what technology to use, what values to apply, what cultures to support, and learn what competitors inhabit the market. These choices and decisions need addressing. In the end, learn to determine our position by ourselves as new adventurers.
This new blank canvas that we call our business holds a new vision. Make sure to take the time to think things through regardless of how excited we feel. Do not rush the process. Do not procrastinate and ruminate on your idea for too long. Remember to experiment, learn, develop, and shape this venture every step in your business journey.
Join me on this journey.
Posted on behalf of Patricia Quintero, Entrepreneur in Residence for Fall 2019.