Could I be an entrepreneur?

Myths about entrepreneurs abound, as well as resources for them!

The term “entrepreneur” has been getting a lot of “play”, especially in rural Michigan, as we work to grow our economy back from the great recession. If you believe that entrepreneurs only exist in tech start-ups, or that there’s no place to turn to for help launching your great idea, it’s time to think again. 

Entrepreneurs exist in every segment of our society, regardless of age group, income level, racial category or any other way you slice our great state. Entrepreneurship is a way of thinking, reasoning and acting that is “opportunity-obsessed.” Entrepreneurs are builders and creators, and see economic opportunity in their ideas. Not everyone has these qualities, but neither are they restricted to a certain group. 

A major myth circulating is that entrepreneurs are born, and not made. Rather, one can become an entrepreneur through experience, development of business skills, and cultivating positive relationships. Certain qualities are very useful, however, like passion, persistence, high energy, creativity, independence, self-reliance, self-confidence, and a willingness to work hard! Having a pot of start-up money is also necessary, with the amount dependent on the circumstances. 

Consider that there are three parts to running a successful business: development of a product or service, marketing that product or service, and finally, managing it (including finances). Not every entrepreneur has a strong capacity in each of these areas, or would have the time to do each one well, so hopefully they can take a step back and recognize the need to seek partners or hire in those areas. 

Governor Snyder declared “Entrepreneurship in Michigan” week in February of this year. Going to the State of Michigan’s website can get you information on registering, licensing, and raising capital for a new venture, among other things like forms that might be needed. 

There are lots of other free resources available to help an entrepreneur get started today. If you would like to start at the local level, here are the doors to knock on to help you get started: your Chamber of Commerce, your county or city Economic Development office, or even your library, community colleges and universities. There are also regional organizations that have local representatives to help, like the Small Business Development Center, SCORE, and the MSU Product Center, for a food, natural resource or value-added agriculture business. 

The MSU Product Center, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, provides business counseling for product development, packaging and marketing strategies that will help Michigan entrepreneurs commercialize high-value, consumer–responsive food, value-added agriculture, and natural resource products. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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