What Aspiring Business Leaders
Need to Know About Entrepreneurship

See also: Entrepreneurial Skills

Entrepreneurship is a popular buzzword these days, and for good reason. While people have been coming up with exciting business ideas since the beginning of time, it has only been in the past couple of decades that technologies such as the internet have provided people with a very real way of turning those dreams into reality.

That being said, there are still some habits that are essential for entrepreneurial success, habits that the benefits of the internet haven’t quite eliminated just yet.

For this article, we spoke to leading entrepreneur Shaun Connell to find out more about what aspiring business leaders really need to know in regards to becoming (and growing as) an entrepreneur.

Help your employees grow

Just as you should consider your business as an evolving entity rather than as a fixed object, you should see your employees as individuals who can grow and develop in their ability and skills. While you should obviously look to hire talented individuals, you should also be aiming to nurture their professional development throughout their time at your business.

This can be done by providing additional training and creating a positive work atmosphere with an emphasis on the importance of growth.

Not only will this result in your employees being more capable in their position at your business, but will also result in higher employee retention rates as your workers start to feel valued as individuals, not just treated like cogs in a machine.

Remain adaptable

While it’s important to keep one eye on your bigger goals, you also need to remain highly adaptive in order to overcome the obstacles that will inevitably be thrown in your path as you set up your business.

Remember that your overarching goals can likely be achieved in a thousand different ways - the path to success that you first imagined will end up less like the straight road that you initially pictured and more like a meandering river.

Stay creative in your approach to issues and remember that every problem provides you with an opportunity for learning and growth.

Look after yourself

Unfortunately, it’s incredibly common for entrepreneurs to burnout early in their business journey.

While you need to work hard, you also need to make sure that your work ethic is sustainable - you might be running this business for decades. Keep a balance in your life, with a focus on both your mental and physical health.

It’s inevitable that you’ll have periods where your business takes an unbalanced amount of your attention and energy - that’s ok, but you need to take time after those periods to rest and regain strength.

Keep your vision at the centre of your business

Entrepreneurship can be a tough journey, and it’s easy to forget why you’re doing it and where you want to take your business.

Before getting started, clearly lay out your vision and motivations for starting your business, and make sure you keep that vision at the centre of all you do.

It will help give you direction when you feel lost, help motivate you in tough times, and help inspire your employees to work harder towards a common goal.

Remember the importance of networking

When it comes to business, perhaps the most important thing to keep developing is your professional network. Industry connections can massively open your horizons, leading to new business opportunities that you might never have dreamed of otherwise.

You can expand your professional network in multiple different ways - the first is to go through your list of existing contacts. Look up former and past colleagues, along with alumni from university and school. You’ll likely be surprised at the extent of your existing network that you’ve left untapped - until now that is.

Work on your presenting skills

As a business leader, there are likely to be multiple occasions where it’s necessary to give presentations of some sort. Your business cannot speak for itself - you are its most important advocate, and you need to represent it as well as possible. This might be in applying for a bank loan or inspiring your employees before a big moment, such as bringing your product to market.

Public speaking can be daunting, but it’s absolutely a skill that can be worked on. It might be a good idea to carry prompt notes, but it’s crucial that you don’t become over-reliant on them. Look at your audience - see how they respond to what you say, and make small alterations to your speech depending on that response. For example, if your audience is bored, move on - never say anything just for the sake of saying it.

Develop pattern recognition skills

As a business leader, you need to be able to spot patterns - both to help avoid negative situations and to enable you to spot opportunities. For example, keeping up to date with market trends will enable you to make reasonably accurate predictions, about things such as seasonable demand, allowing you to remain stocked at an appropriate level and not miss out on any busy periods.

Learning how to weather storms and ride waves is often something that only seasoned entrepreneurs manage. If you can learn these skills as an aspiring business leader, you will have a significant competitive advantage over your peers.

Be financially savvy

While you might have a wonderful entrepreneurial idea, if you don’t have some basic financial literacy skills, you will struggle massively when it comes to making that idea into a profitable business. While people frequently throw words like ‘budgeting’ around, learning how to create and stick to a budget is a skill that needs to be developed.

You’ll need to know how to create and decipher things like cash flows, balance sheets, and P&Ls in order to understand and manage the finances of your business. While the tools necessary to create these things, such as Excel and Google Sheets, may seem confusing, there are plenty of learning resources available that can provide you with a basic understanding in no time at all.

Remember also that your experience as an entrepreneur will be completely different to that of the next budding business person, so be pragmatic and remember that this isn’t a race with your peers.

About the Author

Shaun Connell is an internet marketer, investor, and financial blogger. Shaun regularly shares business advice, guidance and insights into wealth-building at his blog shaunconnell.com