So you think you want to be an entrepreneur.
You probably have a lot questions: What do I need to get started? What does entrepreneurship look like in Kansas City? And what does it take to be an entrepreneur? Do I have what it takes?
What makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur?
At its core, a business is really just a repeatable process of solving problems for other people. The problem just has to be big enough that customers and clients will pay for your product or service. If you’re an entrepreneur, really all that means is that you’re a problem solver.
And it takes some drive and a whole lot of other qualities to push your business idea toward success. Did you know that about half of all small businesses fail in the first five years? Did you know that about 70 percent of those businesses fail because of cash problems?
So in addition to being a creative person who sees opportunities and has the drive to persevere and navigate those rough spots when things get tough, you have to keep the business side of things in mind, too. Keeping things like financials, cash flow, bookkeeping, etc., in focus, in addition to your business goals, is key for success.
Am I an entrepreneur?
Many entrepreneurs tend to have these eight qualities:
1. Initiative and Self-Reliance
Are you a self-starter who can push yourself to get things done?
2. Flexibility and Adaptation
Are you able and willing to change the course of your business when necessary?
3. Communication and Collaboration
Can you convey your ideas or pitches clearly and concisely to your target audience, investors, etc. and persuade them to work with you or support your product or service?
4. Creativity and Innovation
Can you use your creativity to formulate a creative business idea … and use that creativity to solve problems without a clear structure?
5. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
Can you examine a problem from multiple perspectives and devise a solution of your own for the best outcome?
6. Looking to the Future
Are you able to look to the future of your business with optimism and are willing to learn many things along the way to set your business up for success?
7. Recognizing Opportunity
Are you able to keep your eyes and ears open and spot new opportunities to move your business forward?
8. Comfortable with Risk
Are you comfortable with making a tough choice to move your business forward, even if there’s risk involved?
Do you think you have what it takes to be a small business owner? If so, you don’t have to do this alone, and Kansas City is a great place to test the waters.
What does entrepreneurship in Kansas City look like?
Although the news media tends to cover a slew of tech startups, in Kansas City, there are many other types of businesses who make up other pieces of the entrepreneurial pie and contribute to the more than 14,000 jobs that KC startups create every year:
- 74 percent are microentrepreneurs: Those are very small or online business that might only need one person to run and are often based at a home.
- 24 percent are “Main Street” brick-and-mortar businesses. These are mom and pop shops, restaurants, salons, breweries, stores, etc.
- 1 percent are innovation-led businesses that are categorized as tech or high-growth companies.
- 1 percent are second-stage business: These are established operations poised for growth.
Entrepreneurs in the Kansas City metro stretch across 18 counties in Missouri and Kansas and come from a variety of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
And entrepreneurs in KC aren’t just working in their businesses. They attend events throughout the metro that teach them about key business concepts and strategies and help connect them with other entrepreneurs, investors and over 240 nonprofit organizations in Kansas City that exist to help entrepreneurs on their journey.
How Do I Get an Entrepreneurial Mindset?
A mindset is really just the underlying beliefs and assumptions you make that influence how you act. The great thing is a mindset is malleable; you can shape and change the way your brain is programmed so you can think like an entrepreneur.
Hop the Resource Rail
Before you set out on your journey, have a map for the road ahead. We’ve mapped the more than 240 nonprofit Resource Partner organizations in Kansas City that can help start, grow and fund your business. To develop your entrepreneurial mindset, your first stop on the Resource Rail℠ should be “Feasibility.”
Not Sure Where to Start? Get Your (Free) Personal Action Plan
Call us at 816-235-6500 or tell us a bit about what you need, and we’ll craft your very own (totally doable) action plan that’ll show you exactly whom in Kansas City you can contact to move your business or nonprofit forward. All of our services are free.
Take a Class
Check out Kansas City’s most comprehensive calendar for small businesses. Peruse tons of events each month that can help your business and connect you with other like-minded entrepreneurs in KC. Take a class (many are free or at a reduced cost) to get the skills you need for success.
Learn from Those Who’ve Been There, Done That
And stay in the know with helpful advice from experts, read some inspirational stories about KC entrepreneurs’ journeys and get a curated list of key events in the metro that’ll help your business. It’s all here in our monthly newsletter.
An business coach from the Small Business Development Center at the University of Missouri - Kansas City and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship provided insight for this guide.