Being an entrepreneur and running your own business requires a vast array of skills that not everyone may have. It is whilst running a business that people get an opportunity to learn new skills and hone those that they already have. A lot of these skills are business-related, but that doesn’t mean those skills can’t improve your daily life. Many of these skills aren’t necessarily learnt through teaching, but rather experience. So the best way to gain entrepreneurial skills is to commit and become an entrepreneur. Here are some of the life-changing skills that being an entrepreneur teaches you.
This one seems like an obvious one. In running a business, you could expect to learn how to manage; but manage what? Entrepreneurship demands that you juggle a couple of things all at once. In terms of running a small business, it is a game of trying to achieve the most that you can with your limited resources. Being able to manage these limited resources is an essential skill both in life and in business.
What are these limited resources? Time, money, and tools. For each of these, it’s important to be able to budget and allocate them as they are needed. Whether running a business or going about your daily life, tasks are in need of these resources. In essence, management becomes a game of allocating enough resources to get every task done in order of priority. Time management lets you set when tasks are done and how long you spend doing them. Financial management lets you set how much money is allocated to completing tasks. Tool management can be anything from the amount of material you have to the amount of workers you have. At the end of it all, good management leaves you time for family, hobbies and non-work-related activities.
Whether it’s studies, household chores, your daily schedule, or financial budgeting, it’s easy to see how running a business can teach you how to better juggle all these tasks.
The only other thing as important as knowing how to manage aspects of your life is knowing how to communicate effectively with others. In the kind of world we live in, having good communication skills is key. No matter who you are, it is very likely you’re going to have to encounter other people and speak with them. Even if you aren’t a “social butterfly”, speaking with others is inevitable in both business and your personal life.
Communication allows you to build a network. Networking is important for achieving your goals in life and running a business is a great excuse to extend those networks and maintain them. You’ll gain access to teachers, employers, mentors, specialists, and employees. These people can be called upon even after you stop running your business.
Entrepreneurship can teach you negotiation skills as well. After all, an important facet of business is negotiating with others – partners, customers, etc. Negotiating prices with customers is one such example. As such, negotiation skills are important to have in professional life. Stemming from negotiation skills are general people skills. In business, there are going to be happy customers and unhappy customers. It is essential to be able to handle unhappy customers. Sometimes they are unreasonable, sometimes they aren’t, but the bottom line is that running a business teaches you how to deal with such situations.
In order to manage people effectively, communication skills are needed. Achieving success in business is highly dependent not only upon yourself, but those around you as well. So communication skills are key. Life is no different. To achieve your personal non-work goals in life, effective communication is going to be necessary.
Critical thinking is the ability to analyse an issue and form a judgement about it. This judgement can then be used in problem-solving. Entrepreneurship is all about critical thinking. First, becoming an entrepreneur requires seeing an opportunity (typically where others do not) and then seizing that opportunity by finding a way to fix the related problem or satisfy the related need. There is a bit of creativity and innovation involved. When beginning a business, there are a great amount of hurdles to overcome. Besides becoming more resilient, you are forced to develop your critical thinking in order to solve these problems.
Critical thinking includes self-reflection as well. Knowing what you can do well, what you cannot do well, your biases and your blind spots is essential in understanding how you can solve problems. It enables you to solve problems using logic rather than your emotions. It enables you to know when to draw on the assistance of others rather than trying to do it yourself.
Critical thinking can be used to more efficiently organise and manage. Additionally, it can be used to identify key areas of self-improvement as well as understand your own relationships much better. Combining it with the other skills listed here allows you to be more productive and see better results.
Probably the most important life skill to have, running a business teaches you to continually improve yourself and learn. An entrepreneur understands that one cannot learn everything. No matter how old or young you are, there is always room to improve. In order to learn as an entrepreneur, you need to be willing to seek out knowledge yourself instead of having it served to you. What entrepreneurship teaches you about learning is how to learn and where to look.
Each person is different in how they learn effectively. Knowing what works for you is not as easy as just looking at a guide. You need to be able to understand yourself and how you learn better. Constantly being in an environment where you are forced to learn new things helps to hone this skill. This is why it is suggested that children should at least try their hand in entrepreneurship. The earlier these skills are learned, the earlier they can start benefiting someone’s life.
In life, there are going to be skills that you need to learn yourself without any prompts from others. In adult life, unlike school, knowledge and skills aren’t handed to you when you most need it. It is up to you to search for the right knowledge and to improve yourself. And once you learn a skill for a specific situation, there are probably going to be many other situations where you can apply those skills.