If you want to be successful in your entrepreneurship development, there is certainly a continuous “evolutionary” process that we must undertake. In other words, there are entrepreneurial skills that we must each practice, learn and re-learn. As our environment changes, we need to adapt skills to surroundings or be left behind.
Before I tell you about the entrepreneurial skills to develop, I’d like to tell you a story to set the stage, so to speak.
The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday morning. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise. Perhaps it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.
A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in hand. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those important life lessons. Let me tell you about it:
I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a great signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about “a thousand marbles.” I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.
“Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. It’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It’s a shame you missed your daughter’s dance recital,” he continued; “Let me tell you something that has helped me keep my priorities.” And that’s when he began to explain his theory of a “thousand marbles.”
“You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years.
Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52, and I came up with 3,900. That is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me, Tom, I’m getting to the important part.
It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail,” he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy.
So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack.
Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the paramount things in life.
There’s nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.
Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday, then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a bit more time.
That was fun to meet you, Tom. I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band. This is a 75-year-old man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!”
You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter.
Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.”
“What brought this on?” she asked with a smile.
“Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.”
Below are 11 essential entrepreneurial skills for today’s business men and women whether they ever become an independent entrepreneur or not:
Entrepreneurship development … have fun
You won’t find this skill on many lists because many people would not consider it a skill. We not only consider it a skill (fun doesn’t often happen without working at it!), but we believe it so fundamental to all the other skills on the list that it is our top priority. The corollary to this skill must be mastered as well … when you dislike something, stop doing it.
No one can deny that the ability to make decisions is a core skill that every business person must possess if he or she wants to be successful. Decisions on how to proceed with marketing, funding, product production (in some cases), vendor selection, and a host of other judgments need to be made. The key is to learn from mistakes.
Avoid Fear of Failure
Remove fear rather than fearing mistakes to the point that you avoid decisions. This is a skill that is tough for some people to master.
Be disruptive and change the playing field
Don’t settle for the ordinary or the mundane, even if it means a little controversy. Don’t be afraid of ticking someone off. Make those around you think.
Entrepreneurship development process … people skills
It’s often said that no matter what business you’re in, you’re in the people business. How true that is! Whether dealing with customers, vendors, investors, the press, or employees, well-developed people skills can mean the difference between success and failure.
Entrepreneurial skills … innovate and iterate
Car models change every year because customers want something different. This goes in all industries. Be sure to innovate on your thinking often … be creative and try new ideas.
Entrepreneurial skill characteristics … planning
Being able to project into the future and build a plan to accomplish your objectives is a skill that can take any entrepreneur far. Effective planning is what will guide your business and ultimately define what you’re all about. The experienced business planner knows that planning is only a practical skill when combined with action, so they don’t get bogged down in planning rather plan with flexibility in mind. Don’t exclude strong time planning and management here, as without it; little else can be designed well.
Entrepreneurship development book … Be Decisive and Just Do It!
The Nike slogan is not just for sportswear. Stop sitting around talking about your “great idea.” Get out there and pursue it. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
Don’t believe you know as much as you think
Find an experienced entrepreneur like a mentor to help and guide you and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Listen to feedback from your mentor and others. Sure, you’ll get some bad inputs, but learn to filter.
Successful business people … avoid the time killers
This includes constant email monitoring, meeting just to meet, having in-person chats when phone or Skype will work. Your time is treasured, make the most of it.
If ever the term “last but not least” was appropriate, this is it. The skill of communication (all forms) plays a role in the execution of all of the other skills above. If you don’t have this skill, none of the other skills will be fully developed, no matter how hard you try.
Of course, there are other essential entrepreneurial skills you will need, but these are the key ones in our opinion.
The bottom line
To be effective in this new era, we as entrepreneurs need to see our jobs differently. No more just focusing on metrics like clicks, video views or social media shares. We must successfully integrate our function with other business functions to create entire brand experiences that serve the customer all the way through their experiences throughout the business.
We can do better. Much better. But first, we need to stop seeing ourselves as crafters of clever brand messages and become creators of positive brand experiences.
There can never be enough focus on continuous improvement on entrepreneurship, independent of how well the business is doing. It seems we all are looking to take our success to a new level. This is an excellent time to make a statement with our business. Changing before you have to is always a good idea.
What would you add to the list? Please share one or two entrepreneurial stories with us.