The Job and What's Involved

Entrepreneurs work for themselves in their own business. It is possible to start a business in almost any field, based on a good idea and the necessary skills and motivation. Individual articles on the Input Youth website contain information on whether self-employment is possible or usual in specific careers.

Daily tasks vary enormously according to the type and size of business. As well as providing the product or service at the core of their business, entrepreneurs are likely to:

  • Conduct market research and assess competitors.
  • Finance the business in the form of loans, grants or their own savings.
  • Find suppliers and negotiate prices.
  • Set prices for their own products or services.
  • Ensure that the product or service they supply meets a high standard.
  • Promote their business and find customers.
  • Deal with customer queries and complaints.
  • Collect payments for goods or services and pay bills.
  • Keep accurate financial and other records.
  • Use financial records to see how well the business is performing.
  • Understand and apply laws and regulations (such as health and safety, trading and employment law) relating to their business.
  • Keep up to date with new developments in their field.

Many entrepreneurs employ staff or use the services of professionals such as accountants and solicitors.

Some entrepreneurs with experience in running a business use their expertise to help existing companies which may be under performing or want to expand.

There are no set hours for entrepreneurs but long hours are common, especially when building a new business.

Someone starting a new business may earn less than £10,000 a year. An entrepreneur with an established small business may earn over £30,000 a year.

Earnings of £100,000 a year or more are possible for people with large, successful businesses.

Income from a new business may be low, so many people have another source of earnings, such as a full- or part-time job, to support them in the early stages. All businesses have expenses which must be taken into account before income is taken from the business.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

New businesses start up all the time but starting a business is a complicated and, in many cases, expensive procedure which needs careful planning. Organisations such as Business Link specialise in providing advice and support for new and small businesses.

Another way of starting a business is buying a franchise. Generally the entrepreneur agrees to sell the franchiser's product or service under the franchiser's name. They receive training and support, including advertising and marketing, in return for an initial fee and a percentage of their profits.

It is also possible to buy an existing business.

Education and Training

It is possible to become an entrepreneur without formal qualifications. However, a good standard of maths and English is important. Other relevant qualifications include:

  • GCSE (A*-C) or A level in business studies.
  • BTEC First and National Diplomas in business.
  • The Diploma in business, administration and finance.
  • Institute of Leadership and Management Level 2 Award and Certificate in Preparing for Business Enterprise, Level 2 Award in Exploring Business Enterprise and Level 3 Award and Certificate in Starting your Enterprise.
  • NVQ Level 3 in starting a new business enterprise.
  • A Higher National Diploma (HND), foundation degree or degree in business studies, entrepreneurship, management and entrepreneurship or business enterprise.

As a guide, minimum requirements for entry onto a foundation degree or Higher National Diploma course are normally one A level and four GCSE's (A*-C), or equivalent; for a degree course the minimum requirements are normally two A levels and five GCSE's (A*-C), usually to include English and maths, or equivalent qualifications.

Entry requirements to courses vary according to the qualification and candidates are advised to check with individual institutions.

For many entrepreneurs education or training relevant to their business is an important factor in their success. It is also important to remember that there may be a legal requirement for people providing certain services to follow a set training route and have specific qualifications.

Some people spend time working for an employer before setting up their own business. This experience can provide valuable training and contacts that will be helpful later on.

There are a number of organisations that run business skills programme's, including Business Link and Local enterprise agencies.

The National Federation of Enterprise Agencies (NFEA) has a directory of local enterprise organisations. Some organisations specialise in helping particular groups to set up businesses for example W:ISE (Women: Investing in Skills for Entrepreneurship).

There are several organisations which provide help for young entrepreneurs:

  • Young Enterprise runs a range of programme's in schools and colleges which give young people the chance to meet and learn from practicing entrepreneurs.
  • Prince's Trust supports young people aged 18-30 who have a business idea but need advice and help with funding.
  • Shell Livewire provides advice and practical support for 16- to 30-year-olds starting up their own business.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Anyone setting up their own business will benefit from some business skills training.

Business advisers, such as those from Business Link, can give practical advice on starting new businesses on subjects such as writing a business plan, finding premises, funding and employing staff.

Entrepreneurs must also keep up to date with new developments in their field and any continuing professional development (CPD) requirements in their sector. Joining a relevant trade or professional body is a good way of doing this.

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Roustabouts do basic tasks to help keep the rig and platform working efficiently and Roughnecks do practical tasks involved in the drilling operation, under the supervision of the driller.


Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

Entrepreneurs should:

  • Have a good business idea.
  • Be self-motivated, confident and enthusiastic.
  • Understand their customers' needs.
  • Have sales, marketing and customer service skills.
  • Be able to work alone or lead a team of staff.
  • Be able to manage a varying workload.
  • Be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • Have problem-solving skills.
  • Have creative ideas for improving their business.
  • Be risk takers.
  • Be able to take advice.

Your Long Term Prospects

Entrepreneurs progress by expanding their business. This could be by finding new customers or increasing the range of products and services they offer.

Networking with other entrepreneurs is vital, and organisations such as Business Link or local Chambers of Commerce run local training and networking events.

Get Further Information

British Chambers of Commerce, 4 Westwood House,
Westwood Business Park, Coventry CV4 8HS
Tel: 024 7669 4484
Website: www.britishchambers.org.uk

British Franchise Association,
A2 Danebrook Court, Oxford Office Village,
Langford Lane, Oxford OX5 1LQ
Tel: 01865 379892
Website: www.thebfa.org

Business Link
Tel: 0845 600 9006
Website: www.businesslink.gov.uk

Business Zone
Website: www.businesszone.co.uk

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Sir Frank Whittle Way,
Blackpool Business Park, Blackpool FY4 2FE
Tel: 01253 336000
Website: www.fsb.org.uk

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
Tel: 0845 915 4515
Website: www.hmrc.gov.uk

Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM),
Stowe House, Netherstowe, Lichfield,
Staffordshire WS13 6TJ
Tel: 01543 266867
Website: www.i-l-m.com

Make your Mark
Website: www.makeyourmark.org.uk

National Federation of Enterprise Agencies (NFEA),
12 Stephenson Court, Fraser Road,
Priory Business Park, Bedford MK44 3WJ
Tel: 01234 831623
Website: www.nfea.com

Prince's Trust,
18 Park Square East, London NW1 4LH
Tel: 0800 842 842
Website: www.princes-trust.org.uk

Scaling Partners - Helping Startups
Website: www.scaling.partners

Shell LiveWIRE UK, Design Works,
William Street, Felling, Gateshead NE10 0JP
Tel: 0845 757 3252
Website: www.shell-livewire.org

Website: www.startups.co.uk

Young Enterprise UK, Peterley House,
Peterley Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire OX4 2TX
Tel: 01865 776845
Website: www.young-enterprise.org.uk

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