When you study entrepreneurship in college, most university courses available are based on theory rather than application. But outside the confines of school, you also need street smarts to succeed as an entrepreneur, or at anything you want to be, to be honest. Here are five practical, real-world skills they don’t teach you in college that will help you succeed in whatever venture you wish to pursue.
1. Learning 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 experiences and the experiences of others. You need to experience failure first, so you can reflect on your mistakes, learn from them, and avoid repeating them in the future.
2. Knowing how to read people
To launch a successful product or service, you need to think like a customer first. Conjure up their desires, understand their needs, envisage their demands. By doing these, it will be easier for you to tell them why they need—want—your product/service.
College classes don’t teach you how to read people, much less how to deal with different characters and personalities. When you understand how another person—for example, your customer—is thinking or feeling, you can fine-tune 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. The ebb and flow of right timing
Timing is everything, they say. That’s why it’s critical in setting up a business, too. Is the market ready for it? Are you ready to start it? Is the economy stable enough for it? Because if not, all your best-laid plans will be for nothing. While college professors may discuss “timing” in their courses, nothing compares to you being out there, feeling and testing the ebb and flow in business for yourself. Real-life experiences are necessary to learn the unique timings of business and to get it right.
4. Controlling perception and reality
Learn to present yourself professionally. Leaving a strong first impression counts. A poor first impression could make you lose a potential sale. Make customers trust you by presenting 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/customers and to develop a professional manner that is credible, trustworthy, warm, amusing, but not too casual either. How to do this? Earn their trust by doing what you say. Keep your commitments and always check up on your clients.
If you think you have this skill, consider becoming an FWD financial advisor. Advisors are some of the most professional entrepreneurs in the industry. You have to instill confidence in your clients for them to trust you with their savings. You also cultivate a lifelong relationship with your customers that requires persistent follow-through as well as compassion.
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. You can't learn grit in college. Once you realize what your passion is, pursue it and let it lead you to happiness and success!