Tim Michaelis: 4 tips for aspiring entrepreneurs

Thinking of starting your own business? It’s certainly not easy becoming a successful entrepreneur, but there are perks, like being your own boss.

WalletHub recently asked Tim Michaelis, assistant professor of entrepreneurship in Northern Illinois University’s College of Business, to share important tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Why ask Michaelis? He conducts research around the topics of resourcefulness and the efficient or frugal use of resources in entrepreneurial ventures. Overall, his work aims to help increase the survival rates and performance of startups and corporate spinoffs.

Here’s a summary of what Michaelis had to say.

  • Hire a good accountant and lawyer Before launching your venture, especially if you are co-founding the venture with multiple stakeholders.
  • Focus on primary market researchwhere you (the entrepreneur) are the important one the initial interviews with customers – do not offload related to product and service.
  • Find multiple mentorseach with unique expertise, early on and maintain these relationships.
  • Take a long-term orientation. Most new businesses take a long time to be profitable, so prepare yourself mentally for thinking about your venture needing five to seven years to get established – do not become discouraged if things do not work out immediately.

Michaelis also identified what he feels are the biggest mistakes made by entrepreneurs. His answers might surprise you.

  • Not investing enough time and resources into testing their ideas. “Many entrepreneurs are moonlighting or known as ‘hybrid entrepreneurs’ who may be working full-time for another company while also dipping their toes in the waters of entrepreneurship,” Michaelis says. “There comes a point when you need to focus all your energy on a new business – it is very difficult to split one’s attention between two jobs (one’s venture and employment role).”
  • Not charging enough for their time (for services) or their products. “I have noticed many entrepreneurs will undervalue their solutions and try to reduce the price to compete with other similar ventures. However, it is difficult to raise prices after starting with them being low – this can have disastrous effects for the long term.”

To learn more about what Michaelis had to say about entrepreneurship—on topics ranging from sectors ripe for disruption to funding sources for new companies—visit WalletHub.

Media Contact: Tom Parisi

About NIU

Northern Illinois University is a student-centered, nationally recognized public research university, with expertise that benefits its region and spans the globe in a wide variety of fields, including the sciences, humanities, arts, business, engineering, education, health and law. Through its main campus in DeKalb, Illinois, and education centers for students and working professionals in Chicago, Naperville, Oregon and Rockford, NIU offers more than 100 areas of study while serving a diverse and international student body.

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