Can a first-time entrepreneur do it alone?

Going it alone can be done, but at the risk of leading to burn out and poor business performance. Learn more about how to avoid this through networking and relationship building.

As Michigan transitions from an economy that has relied heavily on wages earned in manufacturing to a more diverse economy, some individuals are exploring the possibility of business ownership. This is particularly true in Michigan’s food processing industry which has seen a steady stream of entrepreneurs who are bootstrapping their way into business.

How many people does it take to start a business?
Each and every business has to manage three important functions in order to become sustainable. First, a business has to produce a product or perform a service. The business also has to market and sell their products and services. Additionally, each company must perform administrative functions, such as finance. Ideally, each company would have three key people to start a business.

For the entrepreneur with the idea, the first step in forming a business is to decide which of these three functions they enjoy doing and focus their efforts on doing that function. Successful entrepreneurs build teams of people who are passionate about what they do. When building a business the entrepreneur should consider finding people who have passion for other aspects of the business.

What happens when the entrepreneur truly does go it alone?
Two possible outcomes for going it alone are the sense of being overwhelmed, as well as poor performance. For example, if you have no passion for book keeping finance, what is the likelihood that the books will be done accurately and on time?

Finding a good team starts with social networks. Many communities have active entrepreneurial communities that host mixers so that people can get together. If the entrepreneur can overcome the idea of going alone, other entrepreneurs can help find team members and test the entrepreneur’s concept and ideas. Social networks can provide a shortcut to success because it facilitates learning from others who have been down the same path.

Other ways to find help may be to rely on a barter system, trading product and services for assistance with the start-up. Family can also be a good resource to find the help needed. Family members may have the talent you need and a strong interest in helping the entrepreneur achieve success.

For more information regarding business team building, speak with a Michigan State University (MSU) Product Center Food-Ag-Bio innovation counselor. The MSU Product Center Food-Ag-Bio provides food safety testing and assistance to help Michigan entrepreneurs develop and commercialize high-value, consumer-responsive products and businesses in the value-added agriculture, food and natural resources sectors.

For more information about the MSU Product Center, visit its website or call 517-432-8750.

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