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Spring semester credit classes begin on January 26th. For additional information on Garrett’s spring semester, click here.

Garrett College McHenry campus offices are open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Offices will be closed for service from 12- 1 p.m. for lunch.

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The most up-to-date information on Garrett College's response to COVID-19, can be found online at novel coronavirus/COVID-19 resource page.

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Ecosystem: Idea to Action

  1. Entrepreneurial mindsets
  2. Entrepreneur vs. Employee
  3. Ways to Launch
  4. Business Planning
  5. Your Team

Are you an Entrepreneur? Do you have an entrepreneurial mindset?

Anyone can be an entrepreneur, yes anyone. However, you need to possess or cultivate a number of important mindsets if you are planning on launching or sustaining a business. If you don’t have all of these, no worries. Part of being entrepreneurial is the ability to identify your skill gaps and fill them in with the strengths of others (more on this in the workforce section). The point is that without some entrepreneurial mindsets, obstacles are likely to take you down. By identifying if you have or are willing to cultivate these mindsets will tell you a lot about yourself and whether you want to be an entrepreneur or not.

Interestingly, these mindsets will also serve you very well in a traditional job and are prized by most employers

This is a short list. For more information about mindsets, contact Garrett College Entrepreneurship coach.

  • Unafraid of change – knowing that in order to navigate the stormy seas of a business, you will need to adapt on the fly.
  • Perseverance – You will face challenges in your business, both good and bad. You will need to stay focused on your goal and tackle these challenges. Author Angela Duckworth calls this "grit."
  • Conquer fears of failure – Know that in some way you will fail, something will not work out and you will have to adapt or reiterate in order to keep going. Remember, though, failure is how we learn. You have to be able to get up, dust yourself off and keep going.
  • Knowing your own strengths – and the strengths of those around you or on your team. You need to build a team with complementary strengths. Surround yourself with those who excel where you are weak and vice versa. Never be threatened by the strengths of others, use them to complement yours and grow your business.
  • Take Action – 90% or more to becoming an entrepreneur is just taking action. Even if you have not fully defined your vision, get going, it will follow. Action dictates behavior, not the other way around.
  • Have goals – entrepreneurship is partly a journey, but a journey with a vision. You need to set some goals for yourself so you can maintain momentum in the right direction. Sometimes these goals will change or shift, but they are necessary to get going.
  • Communication – you will need to be able to effectively communicate your vision to others both in person and across digital networks. This may be an area where you will need some assistance. Don’t be afraid to find others with these strengths.
  • Leadership – a strong company requires a strong leader who believes in his or her vision and can get others to help him/her realize that vision. However, great leaders take other voices into account and value the entrepreneurial spirit of those under them. Check out Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” for some great leadership and communication insights.
  • Discipline – you should expect people, even and especially those close to you, to have doubts about your business. They may want to you play it safe. You need to stay committed to your ideas – even if you are starting a business while still holding a traditional job.
  • Innovation – You don’t have to invent the next Uber or Facebook to be an innovator, you just have to work to improve your product or service to meet the needs of your customers or clients.
  • Creativity – most of us don’t identify as “creative.” However, we all have unique talents and skills that make us so. Find your unique spark and what “lights you up.” Give that thing to the world.
  • There are so many more mindsets that will serve you in your business. The key is that you understand that there will be both highs and lows. You need to be prepared to ride that wave.

Lifelong learning is fundamental to long term success. If you are not learning, you are regressing. While many hyper successful entrepreneurs (er, Zuckerberg) have no college degree, they are still focused on continued learning and growing. You have to stay on top of your field and apprised of new developments.

Ways to launch into Entrepreneurship

  1. All in

    If you have a business idea and the means (financial and personal) to work solely on that idea, then you are in an enviable position. Go for it. Figure out what your needs are and put your heart and soul into it. If you need assistance working through the process, Garrett College’s Entrepreneurship Course is a great place to start.

  2. Gigging it

    Many people do jobs or "gigs" on the side. Sometimes this is called a "side hustle." Many who do these gigs don’t even think of themselves as entrepreneurs. Many just do these things because they are passion projects that make a little extra money. If you side hustle has potential, why not grow it and see how far you can take it to become a real entrepreneurial endeavor?

  3. Leveraging current job

    Many, if not most, entrepreneurs launch their business leveraging their current skill sets and experience from their traditional job. Most entrepreneurs are in their 40s, which, makes sense, as they have had the life and work experience to launch on their own. If this is you, it is possible to find a niche in your field that your skills and experience fit well with, and grow this business while still working at your current traditional job.

Business plan and planning

  1. Purpose of having a business plan

    A business plan is a roadmap of sorts for your business. You need to have a plan to keep you on pace and to be able to effectively communicate your ideas to potential investors. No one will invest in your ideas without a strong plan. That being stated, plans are not always created equal. There are basic elements that need to be included in your business plan, but the format will change based on they type of business you are launching. Most business plans include the following sections:

    • Summary
    • Company Description
    • Products and/or services
    • Market Analysis
    • Strategy and Implementation
    • Company organization and/or management team
    • Financial plan/needs
  2. Different types or ways to communicate your business plan content

    1. Standard plan – you can develop a standard business plan to take to investors. Make it look amazing with a great cover and good information on your team. Investors invest in the ideas, but also in the people behind those ideas.
    2. Portfolio – A portfolio is great if you have artifacts to share with investors like websites you’ve created, artwork, videos, etc. Include your electronic or hard-copy portfolio with a standard business plan. If your work is entirely digital, you may want to make a business plan/portfolio website to share with potential investors.
    3. Press kit – A press kit is essential if you plan to shop for investors and also market your idea at the same time. Developing an App usually requires a press kit of sorts to be able to promote your upcoming App to other developers, beta testers and media outlets. The more buzz you can generate around your digital content, the more likely an investor is to look at your business favorably.
  3. For more information and to get help with your business plan and planning, contact the Garrett College Entrepreneurship Course

Your team

  1. Going it alone

    Sometimes, when just starting out, you may be a solo-preneur. This is okay, especially if you are starting your business on the side. Be aware that, at some point, you will need assistance. You may need to hire someone as a contractor to take care of tasks you are not able to do yourself like social media or your online presence. Be cognizant of your needs as your business grows so you can identify the right people to hire when the time comes.

  2. Leveraging collective strengths

  3. If you have a founding team for your business that is good news. You now need to make sure that your teams’ individual strengths build on each other and complement each other. You need to determine if there are any skill gaps that may need to be filled and consider bringing new people on that fill those gaps if necessary.

More resources

  1. Talk to a small business coach (link)
  2. Garrett College Entrepreneurship course with coach (link)