How to become an entrepreneur
If you are coming to the end of your university education, it is likely you have thought about what you want to do when you graduate. Some students have a clear career path in mind when they choose their degree, whereas others may discover their options after finding interest in certain modules during their studies. For many students, the prospects of entrepreneurship are very appealing. Though not always easy, becoming an entrepreneur can be a very rewarding experience, as you work towards building your own business that you are passionate about.
What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
Like any profession, being a good entrepreneur requires certain personal traits, as well as qualifications and the right mindset. Read our list of things that you will need to successfully run your own company.
Skills needed to be an entrepreneur
As in all jobs, you will need to be an organised individual with good time management skills to effectively run your own business. Whether you will be meeting new people or delivering work to strict deadlines, your new business will depend on efficiency.
It is clear that setting up a business is often hard work, and it will help you to be someone who is aspirational and doesn’t hold back from achieving their goals. Having strong self-belief and the ability to motivate yourself is key when becoming an entrepreneur.
Businesses in all industries need to be agile and reactive, and continual financial planning and forecasting is essential if you want to firmly establish your business. You will need to be capable of forming a robust business strategy to help sustain your company’s performance.
As previously mentioned, starting and sustaining a business can be difficult, especially through times of economic or industrial uncertainty. It is important that you are prepared for hard times, so your business is able to recover quickly from any losses.
Like time management skills, good communication skills are vital for any job, but even more so in entrepreneurship. Communicating your ideas effectively will allow you to work well with others and produce efficient results for whatever your business needs.
Being an adept networker is crucial when starting a business. As you initially shape your company’s reputation, you will need to be able to represent yourself professionally and build solid relationships with partners and clients to make a success of your business.
While practical thinking is critical for running a business, it is also worth using your creative mind too. Usually the most successful companies thrive because of their capacity to come up with new, creative ways in which to work, and don’t limit themselves to thinking inside the box.
The ability to persevere is an important skill to have when starting and maintaining a business. For every entrepreneur there will be times when things go wrong, but the best way to overcome this is often by pushing through and remaining optimistic.
What education is needed to become an entrepreneur?
Many people set up businesses with all kinds of varying educational backgrounds, but usually it is very beneficial to have knowledge of business and economics to support you. There are an increasing amount of courses and degrees in entrepreneurship that can help prepare you to set up and run your own business.
Many universities even specialise in teaching entrepreneurial studies and skills, like Kingston University London, which, for the eighth year running, has been ranked amongst the top two most successful UK higher education institutions for graduate start-up companies (Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey 2016/17). Offering a variety of degrees that incorporate business experience into their curriculum, Kingston is home to an Entrepreneurs Society that is designed to provide great networking opportunities and run insightful workshops. If you would like to gain valuable entrepreneurial knowledge by studying at this reputable British university, Kingston University International Study Centre offers pathway programmes that can help prepare you for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.
Gaining support in the early stages of business development is often extremely crucial. Help from friends and family can be very beneficial, especially if you know people with business experience who can advise on best practices or inspire you with new ideas. Alternatively, many experienced professionals deliver lectures or speeches on entrepreneurship and how to go about starting a successful business - you can often find these online.
From a financial perspective, there are a number of governmental and charity-based grants available to young people with new business ideas. Eligibility for these grants will often depend on what type of business you hope to start or your personal circumstances, but they are always worth researching.
How to become an entrepreneur after university?
If becoming an entrepreneur is something you are interested in, there are a few steps you will need to take in order to successfully start your business journey:
1. Come up with a good business idea
You can validate your idea by doing market research, to see whether there is a demand or gap in the market for what you want your business to offer.
2. Build a network of people who can support your business
Put yourself out there to meet like-minded people who believe in your idea, as well as prospective investors and clients.
3. Secure your business funding
As previously mentioned, you can research the support available from private or government investment schemes to help get your business started.
4. Begin selling your product or service
Remember to remain resilient through this stage, as the beginning of every entrepreneurial venture is going to have ups and downs.
How Kingston University London can help you to become an entrepreneur
Studying at Kingston University London is a broadening and exciting experience that will teach you a lot about how to utilise your own skills in the working world. Situated 25 minutes from central London, the campus is a great hub for students who want to get into business. With the International Study Centre’s guided introduction to studying in the UK, you can prepare for a degree that offers enterprising opportunities of work placements during your studies. Kingston is the ideal place to begin your journey to entrepreneurship.
With a practical, resourceful approach to teaching and invaluable links to the industry, Kingston University offers the best foundations for students to reach their full potential. Along with the Kingston Entrepreneur Society, the University also runs an annual Bright Ideas competition, which gives students the opportunity to have their entrepreneurial ideas evaluated and win a prize of up to £1,000. Events and organisations like these are designed to help students make the most of their time at university, preparing them to become successful entrepreneurs.
At the International Study Centre, we have many useful resources that can also aid your journey to starting your own business. We offer a CareerAhead scheme, dedicated to guiding you to your dream future with advice and helpful information, as well as giving you the opportunity to improve your language and study skills to prepare you for your chosen degree. Depending on what stage of your higher education you are in, you can choose from three different preparational programmes, which each offer multiple subject-specific pathways. By studying either the International Foundation Year, International Year One or Pre-Masters Programme, you can benefit from all Kingston has to offer and get one step closer to achieving your entrepreneurial goals.
Frequently asked questions
What does an entrepreneur do?
An entrepreneur is someone who starts a new business. These businesses can begin either as a personal hobby done in your spare time, but it can also be a full-time project. The best part about being an entrepreneur is that it is your business on your terms. Over time, your business will grow and become more profitable.
How can I become a successful entrepreneur?
First and foremost, you need an idea you are passionate about and are prepared to stick with for a long time. Businesses can take years to grow and earn a profit.
As well as this, the funding you need to launch your product, as well as an ever-growing network of people who are prepared to help you, are essential.
What degree do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Anyone with an idea can start a business. However, if you want to learn more about how entrepreneurship and businesses are run, degrees such as the Business Management BSc (hons) at Kingston University will equip you with the in-depth knowledge you need to truly excel.
For international students, we offer a one-year preparation course, the International Foundation Year in Business, which will prepare you for further UK degree study.
“After my A-levels I wanted to study in the UK, but for I fell short by a grade or two and I had to rethink my studies. When I arrived at the International Study Centre, my aim was just to pass, but in the centre people saw something in me. The whole transition was really smooth and not only did I pass, but I got a first class. It wasn’t bad for me – the choice was right.”
International Year One in Business and Management
Progressed to BSc (Hons) Business Management