The Wise Entrepreneur

11 Things to learn early to maximize your chances of successful entrepreneurship

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11 Things to learn early to maximize your chances of successful entrepreneurship

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Hello there! Have you ever considered some of the valuable and very essential things you need to be successful in your entrepreneurship endeavors?

Quoting Winston Churchill, ‘Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.’

While all entrepreneurs desire success, oftentimes this does not come easy. There are hills and valleys along the way. Many go through multiple failures before eventually becoming successful, though a few could be lucky enough to succeed with little effort.

In all these, early preparation matters and is strongly advisable to improve the probability of success.

So, what are the early learning opportunities that you could take advantage of? What are some of the things you need to focus on to increase your chances of success?

I believe you love the excitement and admiration that comes with successful entrepreneurship! Don’t you?

Sure – the earlier you get yourself prepared for business success – the better. You need to get an early footing that gives you an edge. Don’t you agree with me?

For this reason, I have put together 11 things to learn early to maximize your chances of successful entrepreneurship.

Can we quickly proceed to consider them now?

1. Building relationships. Most things in life become possible with the correct and valuable relationships. As an individual, you can go a long way along the road of success through relationships. In business, relationships built with staffs, suppliers, customers, financiers, business partners etc. are extremely valuable.

Just imagine yourself peddling your own solo canoe in the vast entrepreneurial sea! You have yourself to blame if you are swept to some unknown island where you are totally clueless of what next to do. Do you appreciate this?

An article in Forbes entitled Business And People: Why Relationships Are Essential For A Successful Business provides for us some useful clues in this respect.

So, you can maximize your chances of being successful in entrepreneurship by learning how to build relationships early enough.

Aspects of teams, leadership etc. hinge on relationships.

2. Understanding and interpreting numbers. Entrepreneurship involves understanding, analysis and interpretation of numbers. Don’t be deceived.

I know that some folks are getting armed now to shoot down this point, with arguments such as the possibility of an entrepreneur hiring a numbers expert blah blah blah. Yes – of course you can, if you can afford that early enough. If you cannot, you could get a bloody nose before that happens.

Make not mistake. You need to try and understand your numbers from day one. The viability and sustainability of your enterprise is to a great extent determined by your understanding of your numbers. I mean costs, revenue generation, break-even point, pricing etc.

You certainly need to know these early, otherwise you could move blindly and get some big and painful jabs that will soberize you back into really understanding numbers.

Numbers help you improve your business profitability or minimize losses, optimize revenue, identify money-bleeding products, service, locations, etc.

Financial skills, prudence in financial management, financial record keeping and planning are all aspects of numbers? Don’t you agree with me? Come on!

Why It’s So Important That You Should Know Your Business Numbers, again by Forbes (and hoping that you will not get annoyed with this constant reference to Forbes), is something you should seriously read. I mean this! Ok?

3. Problem solving. Another precious and valuable thing you need to learn early to maximize your chances of successful entrepreneurship is problem solving.

This covers important entrepreneurship areas such as critical thinking, technical skills, creativity and innovation, surviving with little money, identifying trends and solutions, among others.

By the way, get this point right. An entrepreneur’s main focus is providing solutions to people. The more you focus on this, the higher your chances of success. It’s not easy to squeeze money from people if they don’t see you addressing their pain points. Am I making some sense here?

Problem solving skills transform your mindset and gives you an iterative mindset. This sets you up for success in entrepreneurship.

6 Problem Solving Skills Every Entrepreneur Should Have can give you some useful ideas about this.

If you want to build a strong foundation now, that will give you a launchpad for entrepreneurial success, please include problem solving skills.

I remember reading a story about Sir Richard Branson, and how his parents started teaching him problem solving skills by, for example, leaving him at some locations far away from home and making him find his way back home alone as a young boy. Certainly, this must have helped him horn his problem-solving skills early.

4. Salesmanship. This is a point I will mention over and over again while addressing entrepreneurs, and please, don’t get bored or annoyed with this. Understood?

Salesmanship relates to communication, presentation, listening, negotiation, customer service etc.

You can greatly maximize your chances of success in entrepreneurship by learning salesmanship early enough. You certainly need this skill even before you hire that expensive and flamboyant salesman, and equipping him or her with fancy gadgets that make them happy. I don’t mean to offend salesmen here, by the way. I also know that an expensive salesman becomes very cheap if he generates enough business. Not so?

14 Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Start Out in Sales is a good read.

In short – you cannot go far if you cannot sell your ideas and products or services. Period! I could write on for the next several pages in this regard, but let me spare you for now. Just get this point right.

5. Patience and delaying gratification. Entrepreneurs are generally very patient people. They are also able to delay gratification. This is why they can weather out loss making operations for some years, knowing that certainly things will turn around with time.

This is not to say you should be dumb in that patience. Use common sense. I’m not meaning that you should be comfortable with losses for the next ten years. Ok?

Again, don’t start buying multi-million mansions simply because you have had some two good years of profit. That is an aberration.

You can see the value of patience in your business reputation, decision making, excellence, team culture etc., through 8 Ways Practicing Patience Radically Increases Your Capacity for Success.

You can ignore this piece of advice if you like, but don’t come back complaining to me! Ok?

6. Successful habits. There is power in habit, and if you can’t adopt successful habits as an entrepreneur or potential entrepreneur, your bad habits will lead you to failure in business. I’m talking about work habits and routine, time management, money habits, business discipline and the like.

The Power of Habit in Entrepreneurship, which I wrote way back in March 2016, is something you should not miss.

Search out good habits you need and adopt them early enough, in the interest of your entrepreneurial future.

7. Execution culture. Execution is another thing you need to learn early to maximize your chances of success in entrepreneurship. Execution brings results through a high-performance culture.

Execution is about getting things done in the right way, at the right time, at the right location, for the right person, right reason etc. This is simple enough. It’s not rocket science, but you can go ahead and make it as complicated as you like. I don’t really care if you like to give yourself or someone else irreparable mental damage defining execution.

It is even argued that execution is more important than strategy.

Let me give you a very simple example here. Imagine that your business is to supply animal feeds, and you cannot meet your customer supply timing. Can you imagine what happens to those poor animals if you fail to execute? If they could talk and complain like humans, I guess you would get many unprintable names by the time you show up.

Again, imagine that you are in the commercial airline business and you cannot meet flight schedules. This translates into dissatisfied and very annoyed travelers, potential legal suits, unnecessary costs in keeping travelers in hotel rooms etc. I cannot forget my experience with one airline misplacing my luggage en-route to Zambia some years back, and the inconvenience of reaching a conference with no change of cloth, and waiting for about 30 hours before the luggage could arrive. It’s simply disaster. This is the opposite of execution.

Before  I leave this point, let me refer you to Becky Viton’s 4 Effective Ways to Build a Culture of Execution as I think it might help.

8. Planning and organization skills. By the way, I recently wrote about this in my 7 Essential entrepreneurship characteristics to develop – to avoid failure.

Learning planning and organizational skills early certainly gives you a good and powerful boost towards successful entrepreneurship.

Through this you discover your passion, get focused on your goals, vision, mission, learn from mistakes, and the like.

You need to learn how to plan your business, bring together resources you need, hire the right people, put in place systems you need to run the business, schedule your work plans to deliver value to your customers etc.

Don’t shame yourself and your business. Instead of carrying your disorganization into the streets for everybody to see, please keep it at home. Do you understand me?

Never go into business as a disorganized entrepreneur or enterprise. You will not succeed. You will not survive. This is as sure as the rising and setting down of the sun. You become good vegetable for your competitors to devour if you do that. Take note.

9. Risk taking is another vital thing to learn early to maximize your chances of successful entrepreneurship.

I have mentioned before over and over again, and I repeat – that entrepreneurship is risk. If you don’t have the gut for risk, don’t even try it. You need to lose sight of the shore and travel for months and possibly years in uncertain waters before you start seeing landmass again.

This risk has to be calculated by the way, not just any stupid risk-taking. Correct? Why Successful Entrepreneurs Need To Be Calculated Risk Takers further elaborates this.

All businesses have some forms of risks to manage, but without these risks, they cannot make money.

If you are type that cannot part with your $1,000 to invest, or cannot put away your hard-earned savings of say $100,000 with the possibility of making much more or losing everything – then you need to think twice. You need to give away to get it back and get more in return. This is investment.

So, start horning your skills (and attitude) in this regard early enough, if you have your mind on entrepreneurship.

10. Continuous learning and unlearning. Again, entrepreneurship is about continuous and sometimes annoying learning and unlearning. The Japanese call continuous learning kaizen. I like this word – and those folks are not fools by the way. They mean it.

You need to learn what works and what does not work. You need to learn what the market wants now and how this want will change in the next four years. You need to learn how to save costs to make some profit. You need to learn how to keep your staffs motivated and retained on the job. New markets need learning. Improved production methods need learning.

Literally, every day you are learning something – and if you are the type of homo sapien not keen on continuous learning – you are certainly headed for potential trouble in entrepreneurship, and this could minimize your chances of success.

I will not give you a reference article here. Think – and derive your points here. Ok?

Let me move on to my final point below.

11. Entrepreneurial mindset and lifestyle. This is another valuable thing to learn early to maximize your chances of successful entrepreneurship.

6 Tips For Growing With An Entrepreneurial Mindset is a useful guide. Your mindset and lifestyle as an entrepreneur matter a great deal. I’m not saying that you should not bathe because you claim you are so busy thinking about how to grow your business. I’m also not saying you should not help that relative in need of financial support because you are cost-cutting or saving money for a major business investment. Use common sense.

I think the above is enough for today.

I need to give you just enough to ensure that you continue coming back to this blog for more. Not so?

Again, I kindly request you to share this blog with everyone you know could be interested. We also need your feedback. Let’s keep this communication going and growing.

With every good wish!

The Wise Entrepreneur

Clayton W. L. Mwaka

Clayton W. L. Mwaka

Clayton W. L. Mwaka, a Ugandan chartered accountant and motivational speaker with 24 years of diverse experience, specializes in business administration, international consultancy, and lecturing. He advocates for personal empowerment through balanced living, qualitative leadership, and paradigm shifts, aiming to unlock individual potential globally.

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