| By Matthew Miskelly |
Webster’s Dictionary defines entrepreneurship as…
(Nah, that’s no good.)
Starting a business is a lot like…
(Nope, don’t like that, either.)
I’ve kept a journal since 1990, roughly five thousand entries. You’d think I wouldn’t find it so difficult starting a blog. But you write what you know, and the truth is I don’t know much about entrepreneurship. So, I cheated and got in touch with two of my friends who’ve actually started their own businesses.
Gordie Richard and his wife own Great Lakes Roller Hockey, which offers men’s, women’s, and youth leagues to players in the metro Detroit area. And in 2007, James Mathison started JPM Services Unlimited, which began as a lawn cutting service but has since expanded and now tackles major landscaping and home improvement projects.
I figured whatever they had to say would be more interesting than me googling “entrepreneurship” and just writing a mini term paper. The thing I was most curious about, both as a blogger and a buddy? If you could offer one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting their own business, what would it be?
“Make sure you have your business plan in place,” Richard said. “Don’t open up until you’ve done your homework. That includes researching your competition.”
Mathison echoed those sentiments. “You have to come to the table with a business plan. All these people who have successful businesses, they have a solid business plan. No matter what field you’re going into, someone else already has the jump on you, so you’d better put some thought into what you’re doing before you actually do it.”
I’ll be honest. As I began the conversation with Gordie and James I thought, “Okay, try to get one of them to say something about how entrepreneurs need to do their research.” But I didn’t have to. They were both adamant on that point. In fact, a few of their sentences were virtually identical.
Any of the fifty-three titles in Gale’s eBook collection on entrepreneurship would be a good place to start that research if you’re considering starting your own business. Many titles focus on entrepreneurship in a specific area, such as Entrepreneurship and Business Development in the Renewable Energy Sector and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Selling Your Crafts on Etsy. Other titles, like The SAGE Handbook of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, offer expertise on starting any type of business.
Mathison laughed when I mentioned the title Build Your Business in 90 Minutes a Day. “That one would be perfect for me,” he said. “Well, maybe not. I have three kids, and the oldest one is seven. Ninety free minutes? Those days are over for me.”