Intuition and determination are two great qualities for any entrepreneur to have. Being successful in the long term, however, might require much more of you. Guts can only take you so far.
You can push through that list of to-dos and you can make the smart pick because that “something” told you it was the right one, but there isn’t a substitute for that beautiful wholeness that comes from having a complete set of entrepreneurial skills. It can make you formidable.
You want to win your own game at every stage. You want to keep it moving to the next level. Knowing that your real competition is yourself can serve you as the most powerful inside scoop you could ever take action on. Life is a continual process of getting better.
There are certain skills that every entrepreneur would do well to develop, such as communication skills and technical skills as well as business skills. In fact, real entrepreneurial success is in the synergy between soft skills and hard skills. It both rests on and fortifies the foundation of access to resources and opportunity.
Keep an Entrepreneurial Diary
As an entrepreneur, you rely on yourself for decision making. It’s up to you to keep track of your ideas and make progress at the same time. And when it comes to the development of ideas, you often have to know where you’ve been to see the path to where you’re going.
No secretary, coach, consultant, or even mentor can play your part for you. They can advise you and help you to get organized, but they cannot take the place of your own creativity, development, and mindset. These professionals may be very helpful, but the entrepreneur is the king or queen of his or her business. In the end, your own preferences and insights are what are supposed to guide the way.
Diaries help entrepreneurs keep track. When kept over time, your entrepreneurial diary can serve as a powerful data resource. It can help you find trends and patterns in your ups and downs, enabling you to create more ups and better manage the downs.
And diaries are private. You can keep a physical diary or virtual one. Both can be secured. This ensures that your great ideas stay hidden from prying eyes. It’s up to you to decide what you share with others.
Dive In for Experience’s Sake
Of course entrepreneurs want their every venture to be a mind-boggling success. So many will wait and wait before making a move because they want to mitigate most of the risk. Being an entrepreneur is all about taking risks, however. Some things can only be learned through experience.
Being afraid to make mistakes could undermine your desire for success. But you can take control by making mistakes on purpose and learning from the results. If you have a business idea you’re passionate about but want to develop yourself more before taking action, then create a comparable idea and use that to test the waters. Take a planned risk.
There’s a reason why so many consumers and business owners prefer an experienced professional. They want someone who has been through it all, learned the insights, made the mistakes, and honed in on what works. The result is higher quality and proven results.
If you want the very best for your business because you believe in it, then you can demand experience of yourself. It does not matter what level you’re on right now. How do scientists confirm their theories? How do students demonstrate comprehension? Through application and testing. How do marketers know what works? They experiment. They collect real-life data and perform analysis on it.
Children role play. Performers have rehearsals. If your great idea comes with much promise and much risk, then break down the various aspects of it, find a way to apply them in a real life situation, then work through the rounds of trial and error to mastery. Doing this can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as refine your strategy.
Become a Teacher
Teaching is one of the great ways to learn. Through teaching, the instructor gets to develop and refine their own skills. You author the curriculum lesson by lesson. It requires an even higher level of research and study than the students must embark upon. You lead the group through application of the principles. It gives you that hands-on experience needed to turn knowledge into skill.
Having certain credentials doesn’t have to be a requirement. Thanks to the internet, anyone can share a lesson with learners. You can create Youtube videos or start a website. To hold your classes you can host a webinar, teach through Skype, or start a forum. There are many methods. The required financial investment could be minimal or even none at all.
What matters is that you get to address those skills you want to develop in a head-on, hands-on way that cements the knowledge into your memory. And by successfully helping others learn those same skills that you desire, you can build a reputation for being great at that very thing you were once weak in.
Being a teacher can also be a great way to network. You may find and develop strong relationships with others who can help your business idea along. And, if your business is one that calls for employees, you might be able to find top talent from among your students. These employees will be people who you know are highly capable because you developed your skill along with them.
Continue Your Education
If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, consider earning one. If you have a bachelor’s degree, then consider going for your master’s. If you have a doctorate degree, then you may want to look into continuing education units or technical certificates that are for the skills you want to develop.
Higher education has never been a requirement for being an entrepreneur. In fact, many entrepreneurs became such because they did not want to play the game of credentialism. They did not want to be forced to meet certain educational and background requirements to do what they love. They did not want to deal with corporate politics.
The value of education isn’t in the piece of paper you receive upon graduating. The benefit is in the takeaways. Higher education helps a person develop both hard and soft skills. Many of those skills can prove useful for an entrepreneur to have.
When you look at taking a course not as a part of the long term goal of earning credentials but value it for its contents, that can make you a more passionate learner. It can free you from the pressure of a GPA or long term commitment. It may allow you to break away from having to follow a specific academic plan and choose each class based on what you truly want to learn.
Entrepreneurs can come from various educational backgrounds. Some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs are dropouts, not graduates. But there are many skills taught at universities that hold much value for entrepreneurs. The value may be more in the real life application than in the credits earned.
Get a Mentor
Experience can come with many important lessons that can’t be had any other way. By learning from someone who’s already mastered the skills you crave, you might avoid certain pitfalls that you otherwise wouldn’t even know to look for.
A great advantage of working with a mentor is that one-on-one environment where you have their full attention. This can concentrate the power of the lessons he or she shares. You may learn faster as a result.
And choosing a mentor who’s well-connected can give you a leading edge. Your mentor might be able to connect you to others who can help your big idea come to fruition. He or she may even choose to get involved. A great mentor champions your success.
The person you should learn from depends on the skill you want to work on. While there are many accomplished entrepreneurs who give back by coaching others, the skill you want to refine might be best taught to you by a different type of professional. It’s best to learn from a specialist. Who the right choice is depends on your strengths, weaknesses, position, and goals.
There is an unlimited number of skills you can learn from a mentor. And mentors can come from a variety of different backgrounds in business, education, and culture. You can have one who tutors you on hard skills such as matters of funding and finance, or you can have one who helps you with soft skills like time management and verbal communications.
Become a Mentor
Learning by teaching is a great way to learn. Teaching holds the teacher responsible for the material. That duty forces him or her into mastery. Not everyone, however, wants to teach an entire class. You can focus instead on helping just one person master the skill you seek to perfect.
There’s something in an entrepreneur that makes them destined for leadership. Entrepreneurs are creative, instinctively, and naturally curious – even if these qualities are buried deep inside. It makes them great thought leaders and that makes them great mentors.
Besides what you can learn, one advantage of being a mentor is that it’s a flexible role. Unlike a class where you have to commit to meeting at a certain time routinely for months, as a mentor, you can connect with the person you’re coaching when and where it’s convenient for you both.
Plus, you get to make the rules. If you’re being mentored, then you have to submit to the way your mentor wants to show you. If you’re the mentor, however, you’re free to use your creative mind to plot your route to skill mastery. The person you’re teaching and inspiring may benefit from your unique approach to learning.
Being a mentor can be especially great for entrepreneurs because it can serve as yet another way to build your reputation and make new connections. And mentoring can come with a number of side lessons in addition to those relevant to the skill you want to work on.
Test Your Strengths and Weaknesses
An entrepreneur must know himself or herself. Each one has a signature style. So much of what an entrepreneur does requires self-reliance. Being sure of your own signature style can help you stand out in your market.
Your strengths and weaknesses, however temporary they may be, are a key part of who you are. It’s because they can tend to shine through in much of what you do. That makes them a fundamental part of your signature. It is therefore very important that you identify and challenge these attributes.
If you’re a real ‘people person’ for example, you might need to know that. This attribute can be hidden behind a wall of lack of confidence. If you think you’re personable but really aren’t, isn’t that something you might want to know about? In this case, you may be wondering why you’re having such a hard time getting that deal sealed. Being real with yourself can help you to overcome some very big obstacles.
Any entrepreneur may benefit from creating a list of their strengths and weaknesses, even if it’s just concerning that particular skill desired. Creating the list may be an adventure and a learning experience in itself. It can make your skill acquisition efforts more focused by empowering you to know what needs to be worked on.
Plus, you want to be sure of your strengths. Being overconfident on a certain point without realizing your own shortcomings could lead to disaster. Lacking confidence because of a perceived weakness that doesn’t exist in reality might also hold you back.
Since feelings about what your strengths or weaknesses are can be misguided, test your abilities. Such a practice can prove especially important for entrepreneurs who face a lot of external competition.
Direct Your Media Consumption
Entrepreneurs are usually very busy people. You may feel that you don’t have time to work on building a new skill. Media technology can offer you a great solution.
Do you ever listen to the radio while driving? Have you ever had the television playing while you did other things? How many entrepreneurs are also consumers of media? A whole lot.
Developing a new skill may be as simple as making the right media choices throughout the day. There are numerous audio books, Youtube videos, and so forth that instruct on various entrepreneurial skills. Lean your media choices towards that which can make you smarter and more capable and you may be surprised at how much you learn.
But using media to learn isn’t just for when you’re too busy with other tasks, of course. By making a commitment to exchange at least part of your exposure to entertainment media for instructional media, you stand at a greater chance to increase your mental abilities overall. You can consume media on a variety of topics and grow in your understanding of the same.
One challenge is that you’ll have to hold yourself accountable. It’s a new habit that you want to develop and developing new habits isn’t always easy. Self-accountability, however, is one great attribute for an entrepreneur to have, isn’t it? Why not try your own 30-day entrepreneurial skills media challenge and see what type of results you get?
Change People’s Lives
Are you busy but want to grow? Then become a volunteer. Give something back. Show ahead of time that you’ve already succeeded. Not only is this a way of being one amazing person but it can help you to develop many valuable entrepreneurial skills.
Being a volunteer is a learning position. You could compare it with the job of an intern. You’re working in a position that’s not your career but that helps you put the finishing touches on those skills that you’ve worked so hard to refine.
Do you consider yourself a great salesperson? Then help a charity get donations. Are you a master when it comes to business planning? Join a neighborhood improvement program. Do it because it benefits you and do it because you care.
A great thing about many volunteer positions is that you don’t always need to have extensive credentials or experience to get the role. You can volunteer for a position that will be pure training for you. This can allow you to get better with the skills that you want to refine.
Entrepreneurs should be about changing other people’s lives for the better, shouldn’t it? That’s what marketing is really all about. That’s what product development usually focuses on. That next innovation is for taking mankind a step forward. The best entrepreneurs care in their own way.
Skills acquisition doesn’t have to happen in the traditional fashion. Attending a class or studying an instructional book isn’t the only way to learn. That applies to both hard and soft skills, but soft skills especially aren’t learned that way – at least not usually. Become an inspiration.
Do Case Studies
In a world of smartphones and smart homes, the thought that there’s nothing new under the sun might not seem to make sense. Your original idea could be cutting-edge and not found anywhere else, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some real life stories that exemplify the challenges you face and the rewards that may lie ahead.
Seeming to not have a comparable equal is a potential issue to all creatives. And entrepreneurs are creatives. There are benefits in finding similarities in stories. Every entrepreneur has a story.
Dig deep. Check out the numbers. It’s not enough to rub elbows with others in your industry and listen to the anecdotal gossip about how so-and-so succeeded or failed, even if they talk about the ‘why’. Some entrepreneurs are so busy planning their next step and trying to figure out how to jump the hurdles that they neglect taking their heads out of the sand.
They never consider that the solution might not be buried in the hole that they’re digging. And all the time the real answer was right there close by. It was in the experience being had at the oasis over the next dune. Maybe entrepreneurs could benefit from looking at more than just what their competitors are doing…
Business case studies on corporate success and corporate failure; there are lessons to be learned from the stories that happen everyday. Perhaps the case study you ought to do is on another business or entrepreneur in your industry or niche, but perhaps it’s about a seemingly completely irrelevant business or leader.
Honing Your Entrepreneurial Skills
To be an entrepreneur takes more than having an opportunity, idea, or capital to invest in an endeavor. It means more than having great business sense. It means more than these things combined. Like in gestalt theory, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. To be an entrepreneur means to be growing perpetually.
You grow through development. Development takes place through learning. The dedicated entrepreneur, therefore, is a dedicated learner. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at it for decades or have yet to start, building and refining your entrepreneurial skills fortifies the foundation of your success.
There are many different learning styles and entrepreneurs are notorious for being ever too busy. Skill development should, therefore, be embarked upon in the way that best suits you. The opportunities to learn are endless. For this, you always have time and sufficient resources.
Apply that same great creativity entrepreneurs are known for to your efforts at becoming more capable. You set the standard. You know what you want. You can draw it into your life by bit, through making small changes, or by a step, such as committing to a program or class. It can come to you in your new role as teacher or leader, a role you took to learn a skill, or it can come as you allow others to play that role in your life.