Outside the confines of school, you need street smarts to succeed as an entrepreneur—or at anything you want to be. The school of hard knocks is the biggest university where you can learn lessons you can apply in your business and career.
Entrepreneur.com says, “Leaders who have MBAs are no more effective and perform no better than those who don't. According to a Harvard Business Review study of the 100 best-performing CEOs in the world, only 24 percent had MBAs.”
We’ve gathered 5 practical, real-world skills that will help you succeed in your ventures and pursuits.
1. Learn from your failures.
An exceptional entrepreneur knows how to leverage their strengths to overcome their weaknesses. But you can only know how to do this once you have learned from your own experience. You need to experience failure so you can reflect on your mistakes, learn from them, and avoid repeating them in the future.
2. Know how to read people.
To launch a successful product or service, you need to think like a customer. Study their desires, understand their needs, anticipate their demands. By doing these, it will be easier for you to tell them why they need your product or service.
College classes don’t teach you how to read people, much less deal with different characters and personalities. When you understand how another person—for example, your customer—is thinking or feeling, you can finetune your product and adapt it to their context. You can also market your business better, ensuring that the customer receives it in the best way possible.
3. Catch the ebb and flow of right timing.
Timing is critical in setting up a business. Is the market ready for it? Are you ready to start it? Is the economy stable enough for it? If not, all your best-laid plans will be for nothing. While college professors may talk about timing in their classes, nothing compares to you being out there, feeling and testing the ebb and flow of the business for yourself. Real-life experiences are necessary to learn the unique timing of businesses to get it right.
4. Control perception and reality.
Learn to present yourself professionally. Leaving a strong first impression counts. A poor first impression can make you lose a potential sale. Make customers trust you when you present yourself as effective and mature. Confidence is essential because it builds trust in clients. Be yourself but also learn to craft a personable and positive persona. It isn’t something you’ll learn in college because it takes time to build rapport with clients and customers, and to develop a professional manner that is credible, trustworthy, warm, amusing, but not too casual either.
5. Following your passion.
Great entrepreneurs are committed to following their passion wherever it takes them. Entrepreneurship requires determination and conviction. Believe in what you love and everything else will follow. Once you realize what your passion is, pursue it and let it lead you to happiness and success. When you’re passionate about it, you also learn to cultivate a lifelong relationship with your customers and that requires persistent follow-through as well as compassion.
If you think you have these skills and the passion to become an entrepreneur, consider becoming an FWD Life Insurance financial advisor by clicking here. Advisors are some of the most professional entrepreneurs in the industry—and FWD equips you with the training and tools to do this. FWD is an organization that helps its employees achieve their own success as they help people achieve theirs. It is an inclusive and diverse workplace that encourages all to flourish, be more creative and break barriers.