How to succeed as an entrepreneur, tips from a Charleston expert

  • Monday, February 11, 2013


Entrepreneurship – could you handle it? Setting your own hours, being your own boss and controlling your new business' every move sounds glamorous, but it's not that simple.

John Osborne founded FundingCharleston.com with a mission of linking Charleston companies with necessary capital. Osborne worked as a commercial banker for 10 years and learned firsthand the difficulties of starting and growing a successful company.

FundingCharleston.com works as a crowdfunding website for business owners to create a project in need of funding. An owner sets a fundraising goal and seeks out help to meet it. Visit the website for more information.

Osborne participated in a Q&A with the Moultrie News about topics like the benefits and disadvantages of being an entrepreneur, the hidden tasks, the best time to launch something new and the industries that are economy-proof.

Moultrie News: What are the benefits of being an entrepreneur?

John Osborne: In a phrase, the ability to create. To create your product, create your business partnerships, create your schedule and create your income is a whole lot of work but a whole lot of fun. Each day brings the opportunity to make progress in each of these areas which is exciting.

MN: Conversely, what are the disadvantages?

JO: Sticking with the creating theme, it's on you to create it. There is no established enterprise there to provide you the schedule, tool box and paycheck. Progress can feel slow when you're always building.

MN: What are some personality traits that successful entrepreneurs share?

JO: Success is relative to each entrepreneur, which is another fantastic attribute of being one. Some want to take their company to global domination while to others, success means doing something they're passionate about which brings in enough to keep the lights on. This being said, all share passion and perseverance. One of the major reasons entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs and not employees somewhere is they just keep going. You'll rarely find one who didn't consider throwing in the towel and going to get a job at some point, but in that moment, they choose to keep pursuing their vision.

MN: What is something that a lot of potential entrepreneurs don't realize before launching his/her own business?

JO: It's hard to make a generalization with this one as each brings their own unique attributes and skill sets to the table. Probably the most common realization they eventually come to is the actual implementation of their concept takes a lot more work than they initially envisioned. They have the end vision of what the company will do in mind, but when they begin the journey to execute that vision, it takes more time, energy and money than they initially thought. This is one of the great bi-products of fundingcharleston.com; it can accelerate this process by both forcing the entrepreneur to zero in on the mission of their project in order to make a compelling case while raising additional capital to implement.

MN: With the economy in the shape it is now, is this a reasonable time to start a new business? Is there truly such a thing as a “good time” to launch a business?

JO: It's always a reasonable time to start a new business. Throughout our history and in every economic environment, individuals have had great ideas and taken the steps to make those ideas a reality. There are opportunities everywhere, and it's really more about the entrepreneur's personal decision to take the leap and begin their journey. The economy, legal environment, political climate, weather patterns and tide charts are going to be what they are. To the entrepreneur, they are simply factors in business operating decisions they are going to have to make daily when figuring out how to build their business.

MN: What are some industries with the least amount of risk? Is there such thing as having an economy-proof company?

JO: There are some industries that are consistent no matter what the economy, toilet paper manufacturing comes to mind as an example. Most likely when you're out, you'll go get more no matter how the stock market is doing. Some ride the economic waves and others actually do better in economic downturns. Think of new car manufacturers who do well when the economy is good versus auto repair shops who often fair a bit better when the economy is down and people are fixing their cars rather than buying new ones. If you're considering starting a business though, it's more about executing your vision with unwavering passion than what the economy is doing. Where many miss opportunities is when they fail to pivot and explore additional related revenue sources which compliment existing ones. Developing an additional source of revenue that does well when your existing source isn't performing a is one way to hedge against economic factors.

MN: Care to add anything else?

JO: This last comment is geared more towards the consumers; entrepreneurs need your help and support. It's not quite enough to think their idea is cool and like their company. They really need you to make a purchase or use their services. So, if you do see some project, company or idea you like on fundingcharleston.com and want to see it become a reality, please give them your support. Even if it's just $5 or $10, your contribution might just be the one that puts the wind back in their sails to keep going.

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