How to Become an Entrepreneur: 6 Steps

If you want to start your own business, there are certain milestones you should aim for to become a successful entrepreneur. In this blog, I’m breaking down what I think are six of the most vital steps if you want to open a new business and become your own boss.

From Employee to Employer: How to Become an Entrepreneur in 6 Steps

While your business plan might look completely different than that of the business owner next to you, there are certain steps that more successful entrepreneurs should follow.

1. Define the Specific Problem Your Business Idea is Going to Solve

Right off the bat, this is where many entrepreneurs go wrong.

While many new business ideas start with a passion or hobby, this isn’t necessarily enough to guarantee a company’s success. Yes, I hate to say it, but it’s true: Being passionate isn’t enough. You have to be solving a problem. This is one thing all profitable startup ideas have in common.

Furthermore, it needs to be a specific problem. Otherwise, you’ll end up in a red ocean, which we’ll talk about next.

Let’s go over an example of the difference between passions and problem-solving.

You might be really passionate about fitness and working out, so you decide to open an online business and become a coach. However, “I love fitness” isn’t enough to bring you new customers — because your passion has nothing to do with them.

However, if you learned a ton about, say, post-partum fitness after having a baby, and you realized that exercising after birth is very unique, you are now solving a problem. You can help moms who just had a baby develop a unique fitness plan that makes sense and is effective for them.

Woman holding a yoga mat

That’s how you’re going to reach and retain satisfied customers.

2. Use Market Research to Find a Blue Ocean

Now, let’s talk about a red ocean versus a blue ocean.

A red ocean is highly competitive, and you’re up against a lot of other big, scary sharks. It’s hard to stand out, and you’re going to have a heck of a time getting your business idea to blossom.

In a blue ocean, the waters are clear and fresh. There aren’t that many sharks, so you have more opportunities to connect with people who will be interested in your business. More competitive offerings equal more revenue.

Let’s go back to our previous example of the online fitness coach. To become a successful entrepreneur, it’s not enough to be an online coach who offers everything and works with everyone. This is too broad and is going to land you in a red ocean.

I know a lot of small business owners would (understandably) think that this will bring them more opportunities, but it’s the exact opposite. When you try to target everyone, you end up reaching no one.

On the other hand, the post-partum fitness trainer is in a blue ocean. They’re targeting a very specific group of people, so they’re going to have less competition.

Don’t be afraid to narrow down who you’re targeting and find underserved demand. In fact, you can and should get specific. This is something successful entrepreneurs are really good at.

3. Learn Everything About Your Target Market

Part of your entrepreneurial journey is getting in the minds of the people you plan to sell to. Buyer persona research means finding the exact market interested in your brand and learning everything you possibly can about them.

What do they care about? What are their priorities? What do they do for a living? What are their hobbies? Do they have kids? Do they travel?

These are just examples, and the questions you ask yourself should be unique to your own company. But to sell to your audience, you have to understand them, think like them, and put yourselves in their shoes.

You have to be able to relate to them.

4. Have a Solid Marketing Strategy

A strong marketing strategy is crucial to successful businesses. Now that you know your ideal customers, you can better understand where you’ll find them and how to communicate with them. This is one part of a solid business plan, but it’s a step that many aspiring entrepreneurs wait too long to take.

Are these people on social media? If so, which platforms do they frequent? What type of content do they like to consume?

Social media icons on a smartphone

Are you going to invest money in PPC ads as one of your marketing strategies? How much? For what audiences using which search terms?

Once you’ve got people’s attention, how do you plan to keep them coming back for more? What do they care about — free samples, discounts, flash sales?

These are just a few questions to consider, but my point is this: If you want to find entrepreneurial success, then while you’re crafting your business plan, get the creative juices flowing and determine exactly how you’re going to connect with the people most likely to spend money on your brand.

While you’re at it, start thinking about a customer journey map. This will come in handy.

5. Grow Your Network

Want to know how to become an entrepreneur? Go out and meet people. Have conversations. Form new relationships. Yes, this is your own business, but no profitable company operates on an island.

If you want to become an entrepreneur, you better get social. Is there a local startup community you can become a part of? What about local entrepreneurship events? Find other professionals who also care about business ownership, both early-stage companies and those who are more seasoned and established.

These relationships will pay off, whether you end up working together or they bring you new business via word of mouth (or something else entirely).

Small business owner, attend local entrepreneurship events

6. Secure Funding (Whatever That Might Look Like)

Business startup costs aren’t cheap. Even for online businesses, you need to plan ahead. Think of normal business expenses like:

  • Your business license.
  • Payroll.
  • Insurance.
  • Rent for an office space.
  • Office supplies.
  • Inventory.
  • Software.
  • Taxes.

Where is this money going to come from? Maybe you’re taking it from your savings, you want to work with angel investors, or you’re applying for a small business grant.

Forecasting your financials is a huge part of your business plan — don’t rush through this part of the process! If you want to become an entrepreneur, you have to get comfortable talking about, learning about, and managing money.

Wrapping Up

Many entrepreneurs are so excited just to become an entrepreneur that they skip some of the most important parts. But slowing down to take your business plan more seriously, build out your network, find a specific problem to solve, and devise a marketing strategy is going to pay off.

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Jonathan Baktari MD

Jonathan Baktari, MD brings over 20 years of clinical, administrative and entrepreneurial experience to lead the current e7 Health team. He has been a triple board-certified physician with specialties in internal medicine, pulmonary and critical care medicine. He has been the Medical Director of The Valley Health Systems, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Culinary Health Fund and currently is the CEO of two healthcare companies.
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