Is there a business in your future?

Consider these traits for success, and whether you might build a team.

Have you ever thought you would like to “be your own boss” and start a business? It is an exciting idea that should be carefully considered before quitting your day job. Michigan State University’s Product Center's Innovation Counselors are accessible statewide, and can walk you through what’s involved when you have a business idea based in food, agriculture or natural resources .

The modern term assigned to those with a passion to bring an idea to market is entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is defined as a way of thinking, reasoning and acting that is opportunity obsessed. What does obsessed imply to you? Do you have that kind of determination?

Other characteristics of a successful entrepreneur include passion, high energy, creativity, independence, intuition, self-confidence and the willingness to work hard. This list should be analyzed as objectively as possible; perhaps by sitting down with a friend who will give you honest feedback on each of these traits as they relate to you.

It is often assumed that an entrepreneur goes it alone; that they can and should do it all. However, there are three key elements of a business: making it (production), marketing it (promotion) and managing it (finances and administration) which require different skill sets. You may be very good at replicating your great-aunt’s wonderful recipe for sauerkraut, and have even figured out how to produce it in larger quantities. You might also be good at creating cost-effective ways to tell your intended sauerkraut lovers about how good your product is, and don’t mind taking a sales pitch to potential buyers. Sitting down with the books and making sure you are considering all costs and can eventually make a profit is still another aspect you are capable of – but can you do all three?

Since very few people are strong in all three of these areas, nor have the time to do all three, it is often advantageous to build a team. When you bring in one or two others with strengths and time you don’t have, it allows you to focus on the area you do well in while motivating and providing direction for the other two areas.

Whether you are a budding entrepreneur or operate a well-established company, the Michigan State University Product Center can help you develop and launch a new product or service idea in the food, agriculture, or natural resource markets. Just sign up with the Product Center’s website, and an Innovation Counselor will be assigned to work with you once you complete a request for counseling. Innovation Counselors provide business counseling without charge, in a confidential and mutually agreed upon environment. Innovation Counselors from Michigan State University Extension are located in MSU Extension Offices around the state.

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