Skills for Entrepreneurs

Tanya J. Montague

Today’s world is not one that encourages anyone to sit with arms folded. Even with the prevalence of white collar jobs, it is expedient to acquire entrepreneurial skills, which can be used as a means of generating extra income. Records of the most successful men and women today revealed that they are not people who sit in one place from dawn to the dusk, for some monthly wages, but those who took up the challenge to start up worthwhile ventures, not fearing risks or the lack of finance. These are the real entrepreneurs.

The challenge of today’s world economy calls for nothing but entrepreneurship. It is a well known fact that one of the major problems facing many countries of the world today is unemployment. It is no longer news that unemployment figures are increasing at an alarming rate. There have been various austerity measures rocking major countries of the world. The story is not different in my own part of the world – Nigeria.

We all know the terrible effects of unemployment – the crimes it brings and the monumental waste of invaluable manpower it creates. There have been various concerted efforts by different tiers of government at job creations and poverty alleviation programmes. But the truth of the matter is, there is no way these efforts can entirely wipe out this ugly menace called unemployment.

Economists have identified one possible way out of this problem. This is entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is considered as one sure way of growing the economies of nations, especially of third world nations. This is why it is for example, being recommended that it should be introduced as a general course in all the tertiary institutions in my own part of the world.

This is a challenge to our youth of today. As you nurse the ambition of pursuing a particular career and profession in the higher institute of learning, it will be wise that you begin to plan towards being an entrepreneur. Such mindset will help you to become very proactive towards being a job maker rather than being a job seeker. This will save you the trauma and frustration of wandering about wasting invaluable time and resources looking for non-existent job in the labour market.

Entrepreneurship involves starting and running a business. This begins with deciding on a business idea to embark on. A business idea can be developed by identifying a need and trying to meet the need – this actually defines who an entrepreneur is, someone who identifies a need in a locality and looks for ways to meet the needs, and in so doing he builds a business around it. To do this, you have to be either creative/ innovative i.e. bringing up a new business idea; or by being adaptive, i.e. tapping to an already existing business idea.

While coming up with a business idea may be a difficult task for the majority of people, I will like to use this medium to suggest a business opportunity for the would be entrepreneurs – Freelance Photography. Yes, I mean you can start your entrepreneurial journey by going into freelance photography. This is a cool business that is often neglected by a majority of people. The beauty of freelance photography is that you can do it on part-time or on a full-time basis, without any interference on your other business(es). Why not give it a thought.

The focus of this article however, is on entrepreneurial skills. If entrepreneurship will bring an end to one of the major problems of the world, then it will be wise we learn the skills that will enable us to succeed as would be entrepreneurs.

There are a number of skills and qualities apart from your academic or professional qualifications, that you need to be a successful entrepreneur. Outlined below are some of these skills.

Risk Taking: As a would be entrepreneur you must be ready to take risks, because running a business involves a lot of risks. You should know when to take risks and when not to.

Taking Actions: Having dreams and aspirations without taking necessary steps to bring them into reality is building castles in the air. Vision without action is a mere illusion. A successful entrepreneur must know what necessary actions to take to make his business succeed and must be ready to take these actions. In other words, he must work to succeed.

Being Persistent: Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits. In your entrepreneurial journey, success may not be instant, you need to keep going. The hallmark of champions is the ability to go through, irrespective of challenges.

Being optimistic: A positive mental outlook to life is an invaluable asset. Before you set out to embark on any business, have a strong conviction that you will succeed, and you will. As a would be entrepreneur, if you want to succeed, you must have a “Can do” mentality, and see opportunities where others see problems.

Being Goal Oriented: Set achievable goals. You may categorise your goals to long-term and short-term. And always keep your dreams alive by placing your goals where you can see and remind yourself from time to time. The Holy Scriptures says and I quote, “Write the vision, make it plain that he may run that reads it”. What the scriptures means is that you should keep your dreams/visions alive by writing them down.

Being customer oriented: Always place your customers first. You business can go nowhere without your customers. Always work towards their satisfaction.

Being passionate: develop an interest and a burning passion for your business. You must love what you do, else failure is inevitable.

Good Time Management: Schedule your day and stick to your schedule. New entrepreneurs need to realize that every minute is valuable. Utilize “Free time” to learn more skills related to your business, and find ways to advertise and contact potential clients.

Good Financial Management: In business, a proper knowledge of finance is a must. Knowing how to cost a service, track expenses, balance an account and keep track of numbered invoices are all most small business need to start out. Entrepreneurs must know acceptable means of sourcing funds and profitable management of such funds.

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