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How to Develop Entrepreneurial Skills


How to Develop Entrepreneurial Skills
Entrepreneurship is an important engine of growth in the economy of every nation of the world. In this lesson, you'll learn about what an entrepreneur is and the key characteristics and skills that a successful entrepreneur must possess. An entrepreneur is a person who starts a business. Before I go into the details of developing entrepreneurial skills, let's have some background information about entrepreneurship generally. Here, I will answer such questions as:

  • What is entrepreneurship
  • Who is an entrepreneur
  • What it takes to become an entrepreneur
  • What makes an entrepreneur
  • Entrepreneurial skills and how to develop them

And then I will take it further to discussing

  • Towards a successful entrepreneurial journey
  • How to become self-employed
  • Overcoming challenges in your entrepreneurial journey
  • Entrepreneurial opportunities
  • Thinking like an entrepreneur
  • Entrepreneurs - Risk Takers

What is Entrepreneurship

It has been established that entrepreneurship begins with starting and running a business. Business requires understanding because scarce resources are involved. Though it is a slippery and dangerous terrain yet, when the right understanding, appropriate investment and timing are combined, it becomes a solid and successful pathway to financial stability and peace of mind.

Entrepreneurship has been in operation since 1913. An entrepreneur is a person who takes business venture(s) from any known level, develop it and nurture it until the business is bigger than the initiator. He is not a person that sings failure from the beginning of his business venture, he would soon be bankrupt with many creditors to settle coupled with lawsuits.

Many blues - chip organizations existing today and making huge profits were ideas of some people many years back. The ideas started in a small way through Mission and Vision conceived and developed based on prudent management of men, money and materials but guaranteed with perseverance and integrity.

Keys To Successful Entrepreneurship

Determination

Talking about determination, it is the will to get things done no matter the challenge. It is often said that "Where there is a will there is a way". Our expertise, experience or professionalism alone is not enough to make us succeed in business and life without determination. With determination, we can decide to undertake the following actions no matter the difficulty in getting the required information.

The following should be adhered to when setting up a business:

  • Market survey
  • Trade types inquiry
  • Location of business
  • Types of equipment/implements required
  • Types of business ownership, (whether sole trader, partnership, limited liability company, consultancy).

The above list will prepare you to decide on what line of business you can undertake. In the final analysis, you should be able to know clearly how the following will affect your business set up:

  • Accommodation for business
  • Workforce
  • Power (where necessary)
  • Target market
  • Salaries and wages
  • Government regulation and professional certification
  • Transportation/haulage of goods
  • Initial capital (finance)
  • Sourcing for finance
  • Profitability of the venture.

Entrepreneurial Team

An entrepreneurial team is a group of people that help spread out the risk of the new venture and also bring in different talents and skill sets to it. For example, you may have friends who majored in in some other fields different from yours, may in accounting and another who majored in marketing. You may ask them to come along with you and bring their skills and some cash. If you can build the right team, you can create a powerful synergy, where the group can achieve more together than you alone can.

The hope of every good entrepreneur is that his entrepreneurial gamble will pay off over time. And if you don't give up, you have strong determination and the will to keep moving in the midst of challenges then your entrepreneurial journey will certainly pay off.

Characteristics & Skills of Entrepreneurs

We shall be looking at over 20 skill attributes of who an entrepreneur is as we make progress. Entrepreneurs are like gamblers, and like any gambler, their chances of winning increase if they have the right cards. Let's look at some characteristics and skills that help an entrepreneur succeed.

A tolerance for risk-taking is a necessary attribute for entrepreneurs. You can think of risk-taking as pursuing an activity even if there is a chance of a negative consequence. Starting a business is risky, and even more so when you're using your own money. Sometimes you can spread the risk by convincing investors to come along on your new venture or by forming an entrepreneurial team as explained in the preceding paragraph. But, at the end of the day, you can't avoid risk if you are going to start a new business and innovate.

Entrepreneurs also need creativity. Think about Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg; these two entrepreneurs brought innovative products to the market that changed the way we live. Successful entrepreneurs innovate in one of two ways. They can bring an entirely new product or service to the market, like the first cellular phone. On the other hand, they can radically improve upon something in a dramatic way, just like the iPhone changed the world of smartphones.

An initiative is also required. Entrepreneurs lead. If you are not willing to start without being pushed, your new business will never get off the ground.

Who is an Entrepreneur?


Interestingly enough, there is debate over the definition of an entrepreneur. Some experts have a wide definition that encompasses anyone who works for himself. Others have a narrower viewpoint, suggesting that an entrepreneur doesn't just work interdependently but also, his business involves innovation and leadership.

They do tend to agree with the idea that an entrepreneur takes an idea, develops a business around it, manages the business, and assumes the risk for its success.

For an inventor to be considered an entrepreneur, he needs to go beyond the idea stage to build the product and get it to market.

Types of Entrepreneurs


One of the reasons there is disagreement over the definition of an entrepreneur is that it includes so many different types of self-employed businesses. Some common types of entrepreneurship include:

Serial entrepreneur

Many entrepreneurs get the most joy out of starting and building a business, but not in its continued management, so they sell it to launch a new idea. They are still considered entrepreneurs because they operate and assume risk in the business for the time they own it. Other times, serial entrepreneurs juggle several businesses at once, earning multiple streams of income.

Small business

This includes mom and pop shops and local business owners. Small business can include partnerships, sole proprietors and LLCs. Generally its any business that has less than 500 employees, according to the Small Business Administration.

Home-Based Business

A home-based business could fit into the category of small business, but the primary factor, in this case, is that it's run from home, as opposed to an office or other location. But just because a business is run from home, doesn't mean it can't compete with larger businesses. In fact, many large corporations were started from home.

Online Business

Internet-based business can be small, home-based or even large corporations. The key difference here is that the business is operated primarily online. This includes companies like Jumia, Konga, Jiji, OLX, Amazon or other e-commerce businesses, blogger, eBay and Etsy owners, and any other business that does the majority of its business online.

Characteristics of a Successful Entrepreneur


Some suggest that the entrepreneurial drive is an innate thing, a trait acquired at birth, while others disagree and believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur. Whether a person is born to it or develops it, there are characteristics and traits required for successful entrepreneurship. These include but not limited to the following:

Passion - Talk to successful entrepreneurs and you'll always see how passionate they are when they describe what they do. Following your passion is one of the best predictors of success in any endeavour in life.

Independent thinking - Entrepreneurs often think outside the box. You should be a calculative thinker and make a decision after you have given it a good thought.

Optimism - Entrepreneur are optimistic people and never pessimistic. It's difficult to succeed at anything if you don't believe in a good outcome. Entrepreneurs are dreamers and believe their dreams and ideas are possible, even when they seem unattainable.

Self-confidence - This is not to say entrepreneurs never have self-doubt, but they're able to overcome it and believe they can achieve their goal.

Resourceful and problem solvers - Lack of assets, knowledge, and resources are common, but entrepreneurs are able to get what they need or figure out how to use what they've got. They never let problems and challenges get in the way, and instead, find ways to achieve their goals despite hardships.

Tenacity and ability to overcome hardship - Entrepreneurs don't quit at the first, second or even hundredth obstacles. For them, failure is not an option, so they continue to work toward success, even when things go wrong.

Vision - Some of the more stringent definitions of entrepreneurship include vision as a necessary element. It helps to know your end goal when you start. Further, vision is the fuel that propels you forward toward your goal.

This brings us to the next point in our discussion of entrepreneurship, and that's ways or how to think like an entrepreneur.

Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes, ages and can be from anywhere. They, as far as I know, do not wear a uniform or carry membership cards for an entrepreneurship club. If you passed one on the street or sat next to one in a restaurant, you’d likely not even know.

So what makes someone an entrepreneur? We used to think that people became entrepreneurs based on something they did. Most often, we’d identify entrepreneurs as those people who started companies.

Let's bear in mind that being a business owner doesn't make you an Entrepreneur. And while that’s still true, the concept of being an entrepreneur has definitely changed.

Now, we tend to see entrepreneurs as people who think in a pretty specific way. If there was an entrepreneur club today, you would be more likely to get your membership card based on how you think about things rather than what you do for a living.

The way entrepreneurs think is called the entrepreneurial mindset. The idea of getting to the root of how entrepreneurs think is relatively new.

As part of our discussion of the entrepreneurial mindset, and from experience, we have been able to break it down into few key parts -- specific ways entrepreneurs think about and approach things.

These mindset components are not rigid. They are elastic and subjective. They are also not an all-or-nothing situation where you have to have all eight to be an entrepreneur.

Like everyone else, entrepreneurs have different strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of what you do, however, here are the few parts of the entrepreneurial mindset -- the way entrepreneurs think and act.

Go through the list below and identify with how many you possess as an individual. Remember you don't necessarily need to have all before you be an entrepreneur.

Opportunity recognition

Entrepreneurs see and often seek out opportunities. They can learn to see ways to make things better for themselves and others.

They are comfortable with risk-taking

Entrepreneurs learn to weigh and assess risk and become comfortable with the idea they must invest time and resources in unsure enterprises and ideas.

Creativity and innovation

Entrepreneurs are creative problem solvers. They apply unconventional tools and approaches to existing challenges.

Future orientation

Entrepreneurs think about what’s next and take ownership of outcomes. They can be focused on achievement and on reaching set goals for their ideas or themselves.

Flexibility and adaptability

Entrepreneurs not only learn to change, they expect to. They prepare for and react quickly to obstacles, setbacks and new information.

Initiative and self-direction

Entrepreneurs are self-starters and motivated to reach goals. They are more likely to meet a challenge directly rather than seek input or directive.

Critical thinking and problem solving

Entrepreneurs are analysts. They can learn to see challenges, opportunities and even products in their component parts. They can make deep assessments accurately.


Communication and collaboration

Entrepreneurs are good at sharing. Ideas and input from others spark and drive their progress. They can communicate their ideas clearly and passionately.

What is the outcome of the assessment of yourself so far?

Even if you didn’t get as many as you had hoped, remember, you can learn these skills. It’s also possible to refine and improve these mindset factors you already have.

Remember also, you’ll find those who have and use this entrepreneurial mindset anywhere. They are not all starting businesses and launching tech companies. Some are, but entrepreneurs are also engineers, writers and managers or helping lead businesses, non-profits and government institutions.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, it’s not what you do but how you think that matters.


Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs


Building a business from the ground up is a daunting task that not all people have the ability to complete. You can get the knowledge and connections you need to succeed as entrepreneurs.


Entrepreneurs come from all different backgrounds and places, but here are five important characteristics that all successful entrepreneurs share.

 Strong networking abilities

A key part of being an entrepreneur is developing a network. While schools and events can provide an introduction, successful entrepreneurs must know how to maximize these opportunities to develop connections with experienced people in their field, investors, or advisors through strong networking skills.

 A tolerance for risk

Entrepreneurial ventures are inherently risky. While researching your market and testing your product can reduce your risk, entrepreneurs still must be able to tolerate and take risks in order to become successful.

Adaptability and flexibility when faced with the unexpected

While being an entrepreneur requires a great deal of dedication to your ideas and belief in yourself, successful entrepreneurs also know when to be flexible and adapt their plans in order to maximize their product’s potential. There are many unknowns when starting a business, and being able and willing to adapt your plan when faced with an unexpected circumstance or outcome is necessary for success.

A thorough understanding of your market

In order to produce a popular and successful product, entrepreneurs must be actively engaged in their market and develop a deep understanding of who they are and what they want. This allows entrepreneurs to adjust their products to stay relevant to the market and update their products when necessary.


Extreme dedication to your product and perseverance

To be an entrepreneur you have to be completely sure that the world needs your product and that you have the ability to create and deliver it. Entrepreneurs face many failures and negative feedback in their journeys from idea to product, and overcoming that takes extreme confidence in your ability

Let's take a look and review of some entrepreneurial ideas before we list some more qualities of an entrepreneur and how to think like one.

Types of Entrepreneurs


One of the reasons there is disagreement over the definition of an entrepreneur is that it includes so many different types of self-employed businesses. Some common types of entrepreneurship include:

Small business

This includes mom and pop shops and local business owners. Small business can include partnerships, sole proprietors and limited liability companies. Generally, it's any business that has less than 500 employees, according to the Small Business Administration.

Home-Based Business

A home-based business could fit under the category of small business, but the primary factor, in this case, is that it's run from home, as opposed to an office or other location. But just because a business is run from home, doesn't mean it can't compete with larger businesses. In fact, many large corporations were started from home.

Online Business

Internet-based business can be small, home-based or even large corporations. The key difference here is that the business is operated primarily online. This includes companies like Jumia, Delight Shop, Konga, Jiji, OLX, Amazon or other e-commerce businesses, blogger, eBay and Etsy owners, and any other business that does the majority of its business online.

Inventors

For an inventor to be considered an entrepreneur, he needs to go beyond the idea stage to build the product and get it to market.

Serial entrepreneur

Many entrepreneurs get the most joy out of starting and building a business, but not in its continued management, so they sell it to launch a new idea. They are still considered entrepreneurs because they operate and assume risk in the business for the time they own it. Other times, serial entrepreneurs juggle several businesses at once, earning multiple streams of income.

Art Seller

If you’re a visual artist, you can create original drawings, paintings or prints of your work and build a business around selling them. You can go to local art fairs or sell on sites like Etsy, Konga, or Jumia.

Wedding Photographer

If photography is more your medium, providing photography services at weddings can be a lucrative business.

Jewellery Maker

You can also use your creativity to craft wearable art like necklaces and earrings. You can use wire, beads or any number of other materials to put together unique jewellery and then sell it online or in local boutiques or at events.

Logo Designer

For creative entrepreneurs that want to work with other business owners, you can offer design services where you help businesses design basic branding materials like logos.

Mobile App Designer

For those who are at least somewhat tech savvy, app creation has turned into a huge field in recent years. You can offer your services designing apps for businesses or even create your own apps to sell.

Vintage Reseller

You don’t have to actually make your own products in order to showcase your creativity. You can curate vintage or secondhand items and then use your photography and writing skills to sell or showcase those items to potential customers online.

The above one is worth it. If you have no writing skills, we offer to be of assistance to you. Check the "Hire me page" on this site.

Home Stager

You could even get a little more specific and work with homeowners or realtors who are looking to sell their spaces and just want them temporarily staged so they’ll appeal to more buyers.

Art Dealer

You can also use curation skills to start a business as an art dealer. You just need a keen eye for art and enough resources to procure some artistic pieces.

Caricature Artist

If you prefer drawing and you have a bit of a sense of humour, you could turn that skill into work as a caricature artist at local events or venues and show off your talent to paying customers.


Hair Stylist

There’s a lot of potential for creativity when it comes to being a hairstylist. You can offer unique cuts, updos and even colouring services.

Makeup Artist

Makeup is another area that requires a lot of creativity. You can start a salon type of business or even just travel to work with clients at their location.

T-shirt Designer

Got a cool idea for a t-shirt? You can really easily build a business selling t-shirts that you’ve designed by using online platforms similar to Redbubble or Cafepress.

eBook Author

If storytelling is more your cup of tea, you can write your own books and then self-publish them online as ebooks.

Website Designer

Web design continues to be a hugely growing field. You can build a web design business by working with clients to build custom websites or even sell pre-made templates on sites like Etsy.

Cake Decorator

Food can be another great area for showcasing creativity. You can decorate wedding cakes and speciality desserts to really show off your artistic skills.

Video Producer

Online video is a huge growing trend. You can build a business by producing your own videos and earning a share of ad revenue on YouTube or even work with other clients to help them with their video projects.

Tie & Dye Artist

If you love the tie & dye look, you can use that art form on everything from t-shirts to socks and sell them online or at local events.

Wood Worker

If you’re good with tools and enjoy putting things together, you can build and sell so many different items made out of wood, from small sculptures to intricate pieces of furniture.

Disc Jockey

Or if you enjoy music and working at events, you can build a business working with clients as a disc jockey for weddings or other gatherings.

Music Teacher

If you are talented in playing different musical instruments or you have a nice voice and can sing very well, you can teach people such instruments or even provide voice lessons to more musically inclined clients.

Voice Over Artist

This is a popular service and highly demanded on many freelancing websites like Fiverr, Fivesquid, Upwork and the rest of them. Using your voice can also be considered a creative outlet. You can offer your services as a voice-over artist for advertisements or other materials.


Tailor

If you’re skilled in sewing and measuring, you can build a business as a custom tailor and work with clients to alter their clothing and accessories.

Custom Embroiderer

You can also work with clients to customize clothing and other items through embroidery. You can even work remotely and just have customers mail you their items since there isn’t any measuring involved.

Candle Maker

Candles are popular gift items for many consumers. And you can get really creative customizing the scents and even colours of different candle products.

Printable Seller

If you want to design artwork but don’t necessarily want to produce or ship it in a physical form, you can offer to sell your work in a digital form and then just allow your customers to print it themselves.

Soap Maker

Soap is another product that allows you to get creative with both scents and aesthetics. You can make various soap and beauty products to sell online or at local events.

Bag Designer

If you enjoy designing and putting together unique accessories, you can build a successful business as a handbag designer and sell your creations online or get them into local boutiques.

Private Lesson Instructor

Academics, Music, sports, and dance are the most common types of lessons out there, but the possibilities are endless. What is something that you enjoy doing that others might like as well? You just have to be willing to teach and you can start your own studio, one lesson at a time. Get started teaching what you love.

Event Planning

If you’re an organized person, you’ll probably do well with an event planning business. If you enjoy coordinating elements of weddings, parties, and other occasions, like seminars, workshop, fundraising, launching, harvest, exhibition, competition, tournament and much more this could be a great side business for you. Plus, there’s little overhead involved, which means more money in your pocket.

Personal Trainer

If you spend a lot of time in the gym, why not capitalize on it? People make promises at the beginning of each year to get in shape, so be ready to heavily promote your services in November and December. You’ll also need to be ready to get people in shape for the summer, so make sure to get the word out around March each year. If you really want to make money with economies of scale, create a ‘boot camp’ class and charge admission.

Mobile Data

This is perhaps a new way to go, I'm sure before the year ends this market avenue would be crowded, but that doesn't stop your being successful in it. With the rate people prefer to buy data than even credit, you are sure to succeed. With a little start-up capital of NGN5000, you can hit the road.

DJ for Events

How many weddings have you been to with a terrible DJ? If you have an ear for music and throwing parties, you might consider starting a business as a DJ. You may also consider producing a business card or flier to distribute to private schools especially during their graduation ceremony and end of the year parties.

Videographer

The door to technology is wide open today giving video production aficionados the ability to use their creativity for profit. A good quality HD video camera, sound equipment, and video editing software can put you on your way to creating online videos and even TV commercials for local businesses. You can even stay small scale and target small events like weddings and graduations.
Or simply focus on an unpopular niche.

Tips for Turning Your Business Idea into a Business


We can talk about business ideas all day, but you won’t get anywhere unless you get up and do something about it.

Freelance Designer

If you have an eye for designing ads and other graphics, you can turn it into a profitable business. This is the perfect business idea for creative undergraduate students or for a stay at home parent who wants to make extra money. Really gain traction with your business by joining Upwork.com for even more exposure.

Tutor Students

I make extra money by tutoring school students preparing for UTME, GCE, WAEC, SAT, etc. The possibilities are endless when it comes to types of students and subjects so don’t be afraid to let others know of your willingness to tutor. If you have too many people coming to you for help, you might consider hiring out others to cover the lessons.

Freelance Writer

You don’t need to be a blogger to make money online almost immediately. If you’re willing to research topics and write articles, you can start up a freelance business and make anywhere from N5k to N20k or more on an article. If you have a favourite blog that you read, ask the editor if they hire staff writers and you might just land your first writing gig.

Tech Support Professional

Small businesses don’t always have the money to hire a full-time IT department and that’s where you come in. Contract with small businesses to be their 24-hour tech support or provide online support to websites owners who are clueless when it comes to fixing a crashed site.

Online Store Owner

You don't have to be a tech geek, or even own your own products to sell to own an online store. Simple sign up as an affiliate or become a vintage reseller.

Blogger

I honestly wish I'm a blogger but considering temporal factors sadly I'm not. There’s no question that a blog can eventually develop into a business. Revenue from advertising, affiliate sales, products, and eBooks can turn a website into business in itself – but it takes time. For nearly every full-time blogger out there, it started as a hobby and grew into a business. If you’re curious to read more about blogging, check our category on how to make money blogging.

Having gone through detailed discussion on entrepreneurship, let's now talk of how to develop the needed skills.

The only solution to the problem of unemployment in our society today and the world at large is for every one of us to embrace the mentality of entrepreneurship. To develop the skills required for entrepreneurship, the following tips will be of help.

1. Start a Business

You are not yet an entrepreneur until you think like one and develop a business of your own. Starting a business will help sharpen your entrepreneurial skills.


2. Read Business Magazines and Books on Business Entrepreneurship

Such books will broaden your worldview. Reading autobiographies and biographies of successful entrepreneurs can be very helpful too.


3. Attend Seminars on Entrepreneurship

This is a sure way to develop your skills. Good seminars are usually thorough and straight to the point.


4. Network with Other Entrepreneurs

The Bible says "iron sharpens iron". When you network with others, you gain new ideas and information. Joining an entrepreneurial network is a sure way to develop your entrepreneurial skills because, in such networks, you tend to discover your strengths and weaknesses. Besides, partnerships are formed, entrepreneurship skills are developed, ideas and strategies are shared and business opportunities are uncovered and analyzed.


5. Find a Mentor

This should be a person of the same faith with you, who has gained a wealth of experience having gone through the same way before. Having a mentor will help you avoid certain mistakes and can be of great advantage to you.


6. Trust in God

That this is coming last does not by any means make it the least. In fact, it is the very first and last in your entrepreneurial drive. It is God who gives the power to make wealth and he is the one that teaches your hand to prosper. He has promised that the profit of the earth is for all. So go out there and start your entrepreneurial journey today. The profit is awaiting you.

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