If you have dreams of freedom, of meaning and money…
How to become an entrepreneur?
We don’t pretend to make you the next Elon Musk, but we can help you start a great project that matters to you.
Entrepreneurship is a vast subject.
If these lines are in front of your eyes today, it is surely that this notion does not leave you indifferent and that you wish to take part in the business world.
You are an entrepreneur yourself, you know one or you wish to become one. You may have just left your student life or your life as an employee and you wish, deep down, to be the next Xavier Niel, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates?
But Bill Gates didn’t create Microsoft in a snap of his fingers. Behind his failure at Harvard is hidden years of work to make his company grow.
So between you and your ambitions, dreams or vocations, there is a major difficulty: entrepreneurial awareness.
You certainly know it more than we do, but creating a company in France, in Europe or abroad, is anything but a long and quiet journey. The survival rate of companies after 5 years of existence is low, although aids greatly facilitate its increase nowadays.
Through this article, we would like to share with you the keys to your success in the business world, whether it is for the development of a product or a service.
Nevertheless, you must be wondering who we are to talk to you about this status today? Well, we are Vianeo, we allow every day a great number of companies to validate their project on the market and develop their activity. So we would like to share with you our feedback. Feel free to discover our blog and watch our articles to get your first tips.
In this article, we will share with you our greatest tips to succeed in creating your company or launching a business.
What kind of entrepreneur are you?
In 1996, Pierre André Julien and Michel Marchesnay proposed a study of entrepreneurs to define their characteristics. From this study, three major socio-economic aspirations emerged. Indeed, according to their research, the creator of a company seeks in his professional life :
- Sustainability, by ensuring that you don’t lose too much money
- Independence, by leaving the salaried world behind
- Growth, by manipulating the figures to guarantee the success of your company
From this observation, we can describe two activities and two types of entrepreneurs: the PIC profile and the CAP profile.
The PIC profile is a person who is looking for independence and who wishes to practice his profession in the best conditions. He is much more interested in the technical aspect of his work than in the financial aspect. This technician does not like taking risks and prefers to ensure the durability of his business.
For example, a carpenter, satisfied with his portfolio of local clients, who works alone is a PIC profile.
The CAP profile is quite different. He favors profits and is constantly looking for growth. He is ready to take more risks by investing his money, while controlling them. He delegates certain tasks in order to concentrate on managing his business. He does not hesitate to reinvest his profits to increase his profit the following year.
As an example of a PIC profile, we can cite the manager of a young start-up with the ambition to become the number 1 in the national market. He will not stay on the creation of a product but he will want to develop a whole range.
Beyond the existing entrepreneurial profiles, we can measure the level of business creation with another scale. Indeed, being a micro entrepreneur for UberEat or a carrier of a large international project, requires very different formalities for the same status.
Article to explore the topic
PIC or CAP entrepreneur? In order to better understand one’s ambitions and reactions, it is interesting to know the type of entrepreneur one is. Although it may seem insignificant, researching the entrepreneur’s profile is very important because it allows you to create benchmarks in certain work and creation mechanisms. But what are these profiles? And what influences an entrepreneur?
What are the steps to become an entrepreneur?
Once you have identified your profile, what can you do to become an entrepreneur? What are the steps to take to turn an idea that came to you in the shower into a successful project ?
Because of the many types of contractors, there are many different paths you can take. For example, the owner of a delivery company would not take exactly the same path as an interior designer. But when it comes to creating innovative projects, there are similar steps that everyone should take.
In general, these are the steps you’ll take to become an entrepreneur:
- Find your market niche or industry
- Validate your market
- Define your offer
- Build your business model
- Present your project
I find my market niche or industry
The most obvious first step is to find your specific niche. Many people want to be entrepreneurs with dreams of money and freedom, but they don’t know what industry to get into. They don’t have a “drive”, a desire to make an impact in a particular industry.
More likely, your market niche will be an area that you have worked in for years or that you are truly committed and passionate about.
If you’ve been a carpenter for a local construction company, home remodeling and restoration may be your area.
If you have worked in a restaurant for many years, you probably know how to run a restaurant business. Your current experience is a good place to start looking for your niche.
It will also help if you love your niche. To have years of success, you must love what you do. At the end of the day, money will not be enough of a motivating factor to keep you working sixty to seventy hours a week to keep the business going. To become a great entrepreneur, you will need more than money to stay motivated, you will need a purpose.
Note that building a business is a difficult, difficult task. So choose your niche carefully, for example impact projects generate much more commitment for a similar level of difficulty.
But how do you identify a good idea?
There are many ways to identify good ideas a priori. One of the best known is the strategy of the ocean blue (see picture below) but some have developed their own framework.
Source: diagram made on https://app.lancetonidee.com/fr/
In an online interview with The Family, Thai entrepreneur Chris gives us his personal recipe and filters for prioritizing his business ideas:
- Is it a big enough industry for my idea to be successful even if I’m 100th in my market?
- Can I not have to own the assets (Uber doesn’t own the cars, Airbnb doesn’t own the houses…)
- Is the user experience clear and explicit?
- Is it a time or money saver?
- Can I own the brand?
- Is it possible to sell everywhere without being held back by the culture of different countries?
- Can the distribution network be “easily” global?
- Is it a scalable idea? That is, whose growth is not limited by the laws of physics
- Is it something that does not exist?
According to him, if an idea doesn’t tick all the boxes, he discards it.
But this model is obviously not for everyone! This model is specific to him and corresponds to projects with a global scope. If you have followed the first part of this article correctly, a PIC profile will not be happy with such a decision model…
Article to dig into the subject
Before becoming an entrepreneur, going to the urssaf to register your articles of association or launching the production of your new product, you must have an idea! In this file summarizing 4 methods to find startup ideas, you will learn that the “revolutionary” idea is a kind of myth: what counts and what makes an idea successful is the way it is implemented, it is the execution.
I validate my market
You probably know the law of supply and demand, it’s a classic. Your idea, no matter how great it may seem, is not exempt from this law. Before investing time and money in a project that will make you a great entrepreneur, isn’t it worth making sure that your solution addresses an existing problem?
First and foremost, remember two things:
- Better to have a large percentage of a small market than a small percentage of a large market
- You are an entrepreneur – you are not a politician. You don’t have to please or try to get everyone together.
You don’t need a broad consensus. Remember the words of Peter Thiel, founder of Paypal :
The most successful companies advance at the core of their business, that is, they first dominate a specific niche and then expand into adjacent markets, which is part of their founding story.
You need to focus on making the right decision for a ridiculously small niche, i.e. selecting the solution that fits your target audience precisely. Your goal is to make the right decision, not to appeal to those who are not your personas.
Market validation consists of a series of interviews with people in your target market. These interviews are used to test a product concept against a potential target market.
Launch Your Idea provides you with the tools to conduct the interviews but more importantly to analyze them and draw informed conclusions !
A market validation should always be done before introducing a product. Yes, a better understanding of the target market will help to build a better and more targeted product, without getting lost in the development of countless features. A market validation will take a minimum of four weeks, more likely six to eight, depending on the number of interviews and the number of people conducting them.
Here is a brief overview of the process of validating your market with Ilaunchmyidea, along with your mentor.
I identify possible markets
I obtain a summary of the opportunities not to be missed in my market according to the information obtained and completed.
I identify potential targets
I identify and prioritize the most relevant potential users and their needs.
I analyze the economic environment
I get a complete vision of the ecosystem of my market with all its actors (public, competitors…)
I consolidate my exploratory market research
I have access to sample documents to help me prepare my study with the right information to collect.
At each step,
a progressive, simple and efficient path
I complete the workshops with my mentor
I obtain summary tables
I analyze these summaries and take action
I define my offer according to
the needs of the market
70% of start-ups fail and the two main reasons for failure are lack of market need (42%) and lack of cash (29%). The goal of your minimum viable product (MVP) should be to prove that your solution is suitable for the market while taking as little risk as possible.
Founders are often too enthusiastic about their ideas and eager to start building features without proper planning. They may hide the assumptions they are making, both about their product and about their customers.
Both the design process and the initial build of a product should focus on all three.
- Prove that the product is suitable for the market with a proof of use
- Validate the fundamental assumptions of your idea
- Get quick feedback from users
Once again, Ilaunchmyidea can help you become an entrepreneur by reducing the level of uncertainty in your project. Our tools and mentors allow you to:
- create your product roadmap,
- identify the key partners who will help you create it
- validate your production capacity
Article to dig in the subject
We will focus on this concept, which is essential to validate the value of your business idea/project. We will begin by defining what an MVP is and the challenges it addresses. We will then look at the different types of MVP, the creation tools to optimize your time and resources, and finally the possibility of outsourcing it.
I define my MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
From the strongest needs, I design my MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
I identify the partners
I identify the partners that will help me develop each functionality of my product.
I validate my capacity of production.
I assign deadlines for the implementation of each feature according to my available resources and my partners.
I define my business model
The most valuable asset of any organization is its business model. Indeed, it is the way all the moving parts of the organization come together to create a value chain.
A value chain? What is a value chain?
A value chain is a sequence of activities that each add value to a product or service. The objective of the value chain is the creation of value for several players in that industry, market, etc.
The best known representation is Porter’s value chain. Other examples of the application of this value chain are available on this website.
Also note that the business model is not static, it changes and evolves with the scale of the organization. The type of business model you have designed for your company will not work if your company scales. You will need to rethink and redefine it.
So, Ilaunchmyidea and its mentors will help you define it to ensure your profitability.
I prioritize the customer target
I define the clients on which I should focus in priority.
I define my product / market fit
I create my product files for each target and I add to it the functionality adapted.
I choose my income model
I complete the revenue model for each of my product / customer records.
I prepare my pitch
to present my project
and apply to incubators
It is essential to know how to pitch your start-up project to convince potential investors and partners.
It doesn’t matter how innovative, well thought-out or potentially profitable your product idea is: if you fail to attract investors to your start-up, your company will have serious difficulties in growing and achieving large-scale success.
Of course, raising capital presents challenges that many start-ups face. Few projects have investors scrambling to put their money into them.
Your potential investors won’t just take your word for it that your company will thrive; you need to show them that investing in your startup is likely to provide a good return on their investment.
Plus, you need to show them that you’re the best person to make it happen!
A word of advice: you are a GREAT pitcher! You need to convince yourself of that. Otherwise, you’ll be pitching… boring at best 😌 And no one wants to sit and listen to a pitch you only half believe in. Including your potential partner…
Second, remember that you are not opposing your interviewer. A pitch is not a confrontation, you simply and quickly present your ability to do the project properly.
As for all the crucial steps to become an entrepreneur, Ilaunchmyidea supports you!
I redact my pitch
I write a complete pitch of my project based on the information gathered throughout the course.
I design my pitch Deck
I design my pitch deck using a PDF framework and all the feedback I get from my activities.
I describe my Business Model
I complete my Business Model Canvas based on the information obtained along the way.
I define my strategic and operation action plan after 6 months.
I complete my action plan after 6 months.
Becoming an entrepreneur is not an easy thing to do and the administrative side does not make the adventure any easier. As a factor of success, support not only helps you to develop yourself as an entrepreneur, but also allows you to train and to progress on the globality of your project. Discover the tricks of the trade for entrepreneurs and startups !
The skills required to become an entrepreneur
Becoming an entrepreneur is not something you learn in school, neither in a math or French book. You will agree that entrepreneurial skills are acquired by confronting reality. It cannot be repeated often enough, but the success of an entrepreneurial adventure lies in the ability of the project owner to quickly test his or her idea and then iterate on it.
Nowadays, many institutions offer entrepreneurial training. So what role do the many Masters, Mooc and other courses that are currently abounding on the subject in our universities and other business and engineering schools play? Let’s bet that they teach above all a know-how to prepare the future entrepreneur to make the most of the reality for his project.
For our part, at Vianeo, we have developed the profile of the entrepreneur’s know-how, it is based on 6 fundamental pillars:
- 4 concerning the state of mind
- 1 is related to the posture
- 1 is related to the operating mode
The mindset of an entrepreneur :
Entrepreneurship is a Darwinian process “only those who adapt will survive”. To succeed in this field, you have to follow the news and be constantly aware of the market.
- Uncertainty is great news. It is a source of unsuspected opportunities. Entrepreneurs don’t have exceptional skills, they are not experts in forecasting. They are just able to seize opportunities and know quickly if they work. To illustrate this, let’s take the example of Starbucks coffee. They invested early on in a market that was considered to be in decline. They started with a simple store opening to test their idea. A few years later, they became the reference in the coffee industry. Why? Because they knew how to adapt.
Reality is the only certainty. Any professional action has to be anchored in “real life”. It doesn’t take a great idea to get started.
- The greatest entrepreneurial activities rarely start with a revolutionary idea. It is necessary to quickly get in touch with your market and to include failures in order to make the project live. This allows the vision to emerge gradually.
- The human being with his 3 brains is at the heart of the project. It is through the complementarity between these 3 brains that the project draws its coherence (the brain), its reason for being (the heart) and its energy (the guts).
The entrepreneurial posture
- To follow the work of Saras Sarasvathy, cognitive scientist and teacher of entrepreneurship, we can say that the entrepreneur’s posture must be above all “effectual”. That is, without the ability to predict what may happen, and without a rearview mirror, the surest way to move forward is to use one’s own means to produce effects. These, in turn, will give new means. The life of an entrepreneur is therefore made of means that he puts at the service of his business.
The entrepreneurial way of operating
- Like a detective, the entrepreneur must solve a dilemma: what to sell and to whom. The only way to solve this enigma and to find his customers is to identify clues by asking the right questions, to link the answers together to reach a coherent and actionable conviction. An entrepreneur must be able to argue the choices he makes for his business.
The Vianeo method of Business Design is part of these fundamental “know-how”. As a user recently told us, it is “an approach that gives innovation and entrepreneurship both power and common sense”. Another way of expressing life skills, if ever there was one. Thus, with this foundation, the entrepreneur can move forward with conviction and serenity despite the context, which is by definition: complex and uncertain. As you will have understood, no classroom course will be able to reduce or eliminate it !
Experts, mentors, guides or coaches, they have many names and many people confuse them. In reality, if their mission remains the same, to help and boost entrepreneurs, their methods differ. What are the tricks of the trade of startup coaches, what do they really bring to the table or what income can they expect from this original profession ?
When you read the skills required to become an entrepreneur or you are recognized and you have decided to launch yourself… Great news! But developing your idea can quickly turn into an obstacle course for aspiring entrepreneurs. We detail in this file the steps to take to create a startup and penetrate your market in the rules of art.
Is becoming an entrepreneur free? Salaries, premises, administrative costs, market research, production costs, support & consulting… In this article, we will look at the costs of creating a business, the nature of the expense items, their respective budgets and potential sources of income. But most importantly, it is essential to understand the entrepreneur’s state of mind regarding money when he launches a project…
Incubator, BPI… What kind of help do I need to become an entrepreneur?
As you will have understood, many aids and services are available in France to facilitate the creation of a company.
First of all, at the administrative level, the business formalities center (CFE), will allow you to make your declarations in a single place, once and with a single document.
On the human and advisory level, you can turn to incubators that will know how to make the most of your skills to reach success. For example, at Vianeo, we offer support programs with trainings, certifications and workshops to propel your project to the top.
Then, you will find many financial aids and services. For example, you can turn to BPI France, obtain subsidies from your region or your country. In some cases, the fund raisings can help your business grow quickly. The money you make will allow you to access new markets.
As far as the protection of your ideas is concerned, patents are issued quite easily to avoid big disappointments. Don’t hesitate to contact the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) to find out how to register your idea.
In general, France is quite generous with the assistance available. Take care to discover them all and find those that will be beneficial to you.
The creation and development of a company requires the activation of multiple resources; energy, time, money, network… and one of the reliable ways to avoid exhaustion is to use an incubator. In this article, discover for whom startup incubators are intended, how to integrate an incubator and how to answer a call for applications / call for projects.
France has one of the densest incubator offerings in the world to support project leaders. But to choose the incubator or accelerators that will help you reach the stars, you need to identify the advantages and disadvantages of private and public incubators.
Incubators, acceleratos, or even business incubators, these structures have many names but all have the same objective: Lend a hand to entrepreneurs in a country where the entrepreneurial culture is at best in its infancy. The mission is commendable but it comes at a cost… So how are startup accelerators financed ? How much do incubators cost entrepreneurs ?
Bonus: becoming a micro-entrepreneur, a good starting point
France offers a particularly interesting regime for those who want to start their own business without too much risk, no matter how ambitious the project. The micro-entrepreneur status can be obtained in a few hours on the urssaf website and gives you the possibility to invoice your first services or products.
Become a micro entrepreneur for the development of a large project:
If you’ve made the choice to leave your permanent job to develop the Google of tomorrow, you probably don’t want anything to disrupt your plans. For this reason, the auto entrepreneur regime was created to facilitate the launch of new ideas on the market. The tax system of the micro enterprise is highly advantageous to limit the costs of launching your business.
Thus, the project owner is able to test his activity with this legal status before going to the Chamber of Commerce and becoming a company. As a microentrepreneur, VAT is not applicable up to relatively high thresholds (€85,800 for commercial activities of purchase and sale of goods, €34,400 for services and €42,900 for the regulated activities of lawyers or copyright), and there is no obligation to make a turnover.
To become a micro entrepreneur, you only need a few days and the administrative formalities are reduced.
Nevertheless, as we mentioned above, becoming a microentrepreneur for UberEat or for developing a large project does not involve the same amount of stress and involvement. When it comes to your Start Up, you may have to write a business plan and this requires some additional skills.
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What have we learned ?
There are different entrepreneur profiles: the PIC profile and the CAP profile. One is looking for sustainability, the other for growth. They generally carry out very different activities.
Entrepreneurship is accessible to all, but requires a certain state of mind. This can be summarized in six points. A person can have great ideas but prefer to remain employed. You don’t need a degree to become an entrepreneur.
In France, many aids are available to allow entrepreneurs to develop their activities without taking too much risk. Be careful to be aware of them before you start.
Incubators allow entrepreneurs to make the right choices and increase their chances of success. There are some for all sectors of activity.