Do you have to acquire a list of credentials as long as your arm in order to start your own profitable business? Of course not. But exactly which credentials, degrees, licenses or professional accreditations you’ll need does depend on what type of business you wish to start. Some absolutely need accreditation while some don’t.
You can become an entrepreneur with as little “accreditation” as being two or three steps ahead of your market… or you can choose a business that absolutely requires membership in specific professional organizations, as well as being in possession of university degrees. The fact is, the requirements for each type of business vary and you need to make sure you find out what you need. The one absolute requirement, however, is that you need to have more experience in whatever service you’re offering than your clients who look to you for answers. Experience is your biggest asset. Or, if you sell a product, you need to have a better, more cost effective product than your competitors.
Everything after that either simply fulfills legal requirements or adds more delectable secret ingredients to your sauce. Here are some tips for learning exactly the training, experience and credentials you’ll need.
Ask practicing entrepreneurs (who do exactly what you want to do). The answers you’ll receive (and even whether or not you’ll get an answer) depends on several factors:
- How well you know the entrepreneur you are asking; and what sort of rapport the two of you enjoy. You don’t need to know an entrepreneur to ask – but it can affect the quality and depth of the answer you receive.
- How you ask.
- How “together”, busy or accessible that particular entrepreneur happens to be.
- Whether or not you are asking the entrepreneur to reveal trade secrets.
- When you ask – don’t do it if you know the business person in question is about to host a webinar in half an hour: And don’t demand instant answers!
When asking, be brief and get straight to the point. Remember, the simpler you keep your question, the more chance you’ll get a helpful answer. (Leave it up to the coach you’ve asked to decide whether or not they want to provide more detail.) Make it easy for them to answer!
Get a coach or consultant to discuss your goals. Investing in your own personal coach, consultant or mentor is one of the wisest moves you can make – and this person doesn’t have to be the exact type of entrepreneur you want to be. There are certain commonalities to all types of business endeavors, and an entrepreneur who is already making good money and walking the walk can help you determine what you need and when you’re ready to take this step.
Check out professional organizations. This varies from business to business, but a great place to start is with a generic business association, where you will receive resources, training, tips and more. Look for associations like these – both for general business and specific organizations in your field.
You can also look at business people who are already doing what you’d like to do. You can do this with a Google search or by browsing the membership listings of business support forums. Go to their website and look for the following:
- What credentials they have.
- Which professional organizations they belong to.
- If you find that ninety per cent of them all share a specific credential or belong to a particular organization, that’s a big clue!
Joining the ranks of the self-employed entrepreneurs can be exciting and even a little scary. If you take your time and have a strategic plan, you will avoid many of the bumps in the road to success.