If you’re considering trying to make a career for yourself as an entrepreneur, you’ve likely come across all kinds of finance and business-related advice. You’ll find debates concerning the merits of business school, discussions about how to pitch to investors, tips about how and when to reinvest in a budding business, and more. You may even wind up fielding advice from family members, friends, school classmates, or work colleagues. However, being a successful entrepreneur isn’t just about the specifics of business or educational practices. There are also a lot of personal and intangible factors to consider.
We’ve put together a few points below regarding some of the seemingly little things that you can address in order to prepare yourself for a successful career running a business. Taking any or all of these points to heart can make for surprisingly good preparation for the journey ahead.
1) Develop A Sense Of Humor
Humor is always valued in workplaces, even if it’s not the primary attribute people tend to look for when making hires or other personnel-related business decisions. Time Staffing included a sense of humor on a list of intangible traits that employers look for when making hiring decisions—but it’s also a trait that any good boss should have. Humor allows you to take a step back and calm down when things get difficult, and it also makes you a more appealing superior if and when you hire your own employees—so long as you keep it within reason.
You do still have to be the boss, and not the best friend. At any rate, one way to work on developing this trait is to find one bad thing every day to chuckle about or cast aside. A lot of times when little things go wrong, like a delayed shipment or an internet crash, it can be helpful to find a little bit of humor in it. This effectively conditions you to focus on the bigger things in life and lighten up about day-to-day activities, without sacrificing productivity.
2) Learn How To Deal With Failure
Dealing with failure is important in any walk of life, but the significance of this skill in business is difficult to overstate. The blog at Menlo Coaching aims to help MBA applicants better present themselves to admissions committees and focuses a great deal on how to write about failure while also offering some sage advice.
The key point they make is that when confronting failure you have to admit your mistakes and identify the ways in which they helped you grow, as opposed to glossing over shortcomings or choosing to focus only on positives. Every entrepreneur needs to recognize imperfections and think honestly about how they overcame them and how that led to a learning experience. This is an invaluable thought process for a potential business owner, and one that may even rub off on employees one day.
3) Study The Consumer Mindset
In outlining 25 common characteristics of successful people in this line of work, Entrepreneur made the point that in the end it’s all about the customer. It’s not about you, your products, your prices, your competition, or even your long-term goals—just about the customer. For this reason it can be a good idea to spend some time developing your own intuition as a consumer. Do some shopping in your own industry and find out what works for you and what doesn’t, not just from a product standpoint but in marketing and service as well. By building up your own mindset as a customer you can better understand what you need to deliver as a business owner.
4) Recognize The Harsh Truths
This isn’t the most appealing idea for most of us, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary. Just like a good entrepreneur has to learn how to recognize and cope with failure, it’s also important for anyone in this line of work to be aware and accepting of a few harsh truths. Inc. took the time to outline some of these realities, such as that the life of an entrepreneur can be lonely, or that not everyone (and in fact, very few) wind up making millions.
Particularly these days, the idea of setting off on your own to start a company you believe in is highly romanticized. We have images of self-made industry leaders conducting business from home laptops or renting out gorgeous office spaces to work with their closest friends. And rest assured, this life can be very rewarding in many different respects. But it’s also a long, difficult grind, and the sooner any aspiring entrepreneur realizes that, the better.
There’s plenty more that goes into being the right person to start and lead a small business, but these are a few of the more personal steps you can take to be better prepared for your career as an entrepreneur. Understanding some of the little things simply puts you in a better position to address the big ones as they come along.
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