Entrepreneurs start out with a nugget of an idea. A solution to a nagging problem. A service using their expertise. A hankering to turn a hobby into a career.
Your next steps could lead to success or failure.
“We have a lot of people with great ideas,” says Jack Dunigan, chairman of Southwest Florida SCORE, a chapter of the national nonprofit that mentors small businesses. “What seems to set them apart from those who are going to make it is a fire within them to see something really happen and a veracious desire to learn.”
Here is just one of the secrets to excelling as an entrepreneur: You must understand and build two separate skill sets, says Dunigan, who worked for 30 years as a trainer and consultant for businesses of all sizes and nonprofit agencies.
One is the creation of your product or service. The other is how to run the business including: obtaining startup capital, making a profit, knowing your margins, determining your production capacity, delivering your product and service on time, and managing cash flow.
You don’t have to do it alone, though. Southwest Florida has a growing number of resources, some free and some at a cost, for entrepreneurs to gain advice and guidance. Former executives and consultants who live here part or full time are willing to share their experience and brainpower. New incubators, business organizations, industry groups and co-work spaces also can help start-ups make connections and move forward.
Organizations like the Small Business Development Center and SCORE also are seeing more demand from folks who want to be their own boss. The Southwest Florida SCORE chapter experienced a 61-percent increase in clients in 2015, with 1,017 client cases.
“For a while, at the bottom of the recession, we were seeing a lot of people who had no money and they wanted to start lawn care businesses or painting companies— anything to make money. But that’s changed,” Dunigan says. “In the last year, that’s shifted around and we have more people with more ideas.”
If you’re prepared to learn, work the long hours, wear many hats at the beginning (and then learn to delegate) and form beneficial alliances with other entrepreneurs and business, you can benefit from the region’s fertile ground for entrepreneurs.
“We have a tremendous amount of resources that people have to call upon to get their business off the ground,” says Karl Gibbons of Third Eye Management & Associates and founder of the Entrepreneur Society of America, which has chapters in Naples and Fort Myers. “It’s absolutely here.”
Pros and award-winning business owners shared their insight for Gulfshore Business’ in-depth guide to entrepreneurship.