Courage is easily the most lauded quality of a successful entrepreneur ― but in an entrepreneur who is less than successful, that same courage is rebranded as foolhardiness. Bravery and mettle is certainly necessary for entrepreneurship, but business owners and leaders need more than guts of steel to build a strong, lasting business. In short, entrepreneurs need brains, too.
Fortunately, it is relatively easy to build the brains necessary for success ― especially when compared to hardening one’s heart or growing guts. Aspiring entrepreneurs can educate themselves with essential knowledge before starting their business to give them the best opportunities to succeed.
Go to School (and Go Back to School)
Even with the internet, self-education is more difficult than most informal students expect. Even seemingly specific business-related subjects are complex and considerable in scope, so learners often struggle to understand what is important to learn and how they should go about learning it. Though self-education might be cheap ― even free ― the time and effort required to gain necessary entrepreneurial knowledge without proper guidance are significant costs.
Instead, entrepreneurs should consider enrolling in formal education programs. Business schools boast established structures for delivering and solidifying important information, so students are certain to obtain the knowledge and skills they need. Plus, entrepreneurs can experiment with concepts and tactics in a safe place, free from risk of substantial financial loss. Online MBA programs are flexible to allow entrepreneurs the organized learning they need without the rigid schedules of traditional school, so entrepreneurs can continue gaining real-world experience while becoming educated.
Put in Work
No one expects to be a gold-medal Olympic athlete in a sport they’ve never even seen. To succeed in business, entrepreneurs must be familiar with common business practices. While some of that experience can come from school, working in a real-world environment offers unique insights that many business programs cannot provide. In fact, colleges themselves assert that grades alone are not enough to ensure success after graduation; students should search for opportunities to gain industry experience during their educations to better understand their future careers.
Through traditional employment, aspiring entrepreneurs have additional opportunities to learn. They will better understand what responsibilities come with different roles within organizations, and in doing so, they will build stronger foundations for their future businesses. Once entrepreneurs know how working businesses function, they will have better chances of constructing their own.
Acquire Allies and Mentors
If one brain is good, several brains are even better. Networks are vital resources for entrepreneurs for many reasons ― they help business owners acquire finding, find top talent, and secure other fruitful partnerships ― but allies and mentors within a network provide invaluable advice and guidance, especially during an entrepreneur’s first few years. While an entrepreneur’s brain is still growing, those more experienced can use their established business acumen to help the entrepreneur make informed decisions. Entrepreneurs can obtain allies and mentors from their professors at business school, their superiors at workplaces, and nearly anywhere successful businesspeople congregate.
Plug in and Refresh Often
While some rules of business are carved in stone, others are as changeable as the winds. Business fields that are based on technology or public interest ― such as design or marketing ― are destined to shift rather regularly, and entrepreneurs must remain attentive to emerging trends. Thus, entrepreneurs must consistently check reliable sources of industry news. Email newsletters and appropriate social media groups are perhaps the fastest, most concise ways to obtain news updates, but entrepreneurs should also use more thorough news outlets, including trustworthy blogs and journals. Then, they can ensure their business remains innovative and informed on current industry events.
Finally, even after entrepreneurs achieve success in their business, they should avoid allowing their brains go to seed. Entrepreneurs should constantly seek challenge in their work, striving to improve their businesses or starting new ventures to test their business knowledge and skill. Exercising the brain in different ways is vital to retaining information and memory, and the complex trials associated with business ownership are perhaps the most mentally stimulating ― and the most financially rewarding. Building up one’s brain is a lifelong journey, but entrepreneurs should begin as soon as possible for the best hopes of business success.