There are different reasons why people decide to become entrepreneurs. For some of them it’s a natural step, something that they have been feeling for years until it’s time to make it happen. Some other times it’s an opportunity linked to other people’s needs that aspiring entrepreneurs want to satisfy. Regardless of the reasons that lead entrepreneurs to start their journey, being an entrepreneur means to be: motivated, proactive, resilient and determined.
If you are thinking of starting your own business, your path ahead will be full of both excitement and challenges.
You can use this article to reflect on five considerations before you start working on your project and to keep in mind throughout the journey to become an entrepreneur.
1. You need time
Building a business, even a small one, takes time. Too much haste could lead you to take unreasonable risks and make wrong choices.Before opening your business, take the time to work on your idea and ask yourself:
- Who would buy your product and/or service and why?
- Is there someone else already selling your product and/or service? Why should people choose you
- How much does it exactly cost you to produce and sell?
- What is the right price for your product/service? Is your customer willing to pay it?
- How do you let your customers know you exist?
To answer these questions, you will have to go through two phases:
- Study, assessment and planning: During this phase you will research and make hypotheses to answer your questions above.
- Testing: During this phase you will get in touch with people and test whether what you have planned can really work in reality and if not, change what does not work before starting your business.
Both of these phases take time and should not be underestimated, to avoid wasting even more time, money and resources later on.
2. Stay Motivated
Motivation is one of the strongest characteristics that entrepreneurs have, as long as combined with a positive attitude and a creative mind. These are not only personal features, but most of all, they are key resources.
Along the way, it can happen that your enthusiasm wanes because of the many difficulties you’re facing and sometimes you will feel like you’re stuck.
Try to meet and talk to as many people as possible, collect feedback, opinions and suggestions, and be prepared to receive criticism, they are what you need to improve your idea before implementing it.
Ask yourself and remember what motivates you to start your entrepreneurial project, the reasons you have are what will help you to restart in case of failure. Failure is an integral part of the entrepreneurial journey. Being an entrepreneur is all about understanding and being able to face your mistakes, learn from them and start over to succeed.
3. People are the most important source
Sharing your path with a team and building your network are two of the most successful actions that you can accomplish. Doing business alone means doing twice as much work for half the results, so remember:
- Comparison, criticism and opinions are exactly what you need to test, correct and go faster
- Your first customers will be your friends, acquaintances, people close to you and those who were at your side in the development of your business
- Initially, word of mouth will be one of your most successful means to publicize your business, the more people who get to know your activity, the faster word of mouth will spread
- You can’t know how to do everything. You need others to do for you what they do best: teamwork is the best way to do business.
4. To do business in Italy, you need to speak Italian
Although it depends on the type of customers and the geographical location of your business, Italian language is still fundamental if you want to work as an entrepreneur in Italy.
If your Italian is a little uncertain, attend courses to improve it. If possible try to find specific courses relating to your sector. There are many organizations and institutions (such as CPIA) that offer free Italian lessons - drop us a private message if you need help finding a course in your area!
In addition, team up with someone who understands and speaks better Italian than you do. This person can handle communication when requesting quotations, information, and liaising with external audiences.
E-mails written in incorrect Italian may suggest spam or attempted fraud and may therefore be disregarded. To ensure higher response rate, ask someone to read and revise your e-mails or communications before sending them out.
5. Don't underestimate bureaucracy!
The biggest barrier in doing business in Italy is bureaucracy. Each activity is regulated in a specific way and requires special licenses or permits.
To avoid costly mistakes, it is very important to know what permits you need to run your business, what you need to be registered for, what certifications you need to have and what safety courses you need to complete. Again, people are your main resource! Ask people who already work in the same sector and find out competent offices. For example you can consult the chamber of commerce, municipal offices, local health authority offices, or, in case they exist for your sector, trade associations.
In the bureaucratic sphere in particular, you will need an excellent knowledge of the Italian language. So, if possible, try not to be alone when you get the information from the offices, so that you can compare yourself and discuss with the person accompanying you. When planning your expenses, try to budget a cost for bureaucratic consultancy fees; asking professionals is the best way to fulfill bureaucratic and regulatory requirements in the most correct manner.
We hope that the information in this article will be useful to you on your journey. Good work and good luck with your business idea!