This blogpost will give you a nice base perspective of what skills you will need to reach your goals as a professional entrepreneur. Great news! There is only 1 skill you will need as a base! Find out how you can improve every skill you have by honing only one.
Everyone has the potential to become an entrepreneur, read all about the how and what it in this blogpost from Guido Branderhorst, owner of Internetbureau Lean Amsterdam.
Flexibility is increasingly important
The entrepreneur field is changing fast. The field is evolving to a more and more dynamic field. Your target audience is shifting faster and faster to different kind of hardware, different opinions and different use of interfacing with you/your service or your product. Being flexible in your entrepreneurship has gained top priority. But how can you shift fast from your physical shop to the webshop for example? Your need a wide range of skills to do so, right? So get a good education and work at different companies right? That may have been so in the old days (Five years ago is old!). In my opinion traditional learning will benefit you less and less as time progresses.
Definition of flexibility
What if I can teach you a 10000 different dishes from a cookbook. In traditional learning you’d be a great chef. But what if I don’t learn you any dishes, but instead learn you how to make the cookbook? In traditional learning you’d be a top chef now. But what if you meet a new ingredient daily that is not in any of your dishes? This is the playing field an new age entrepeneur will meet and the ingredients that are met are increasing day by day. But what if you learn to improvise instead? You’re going to need a dynamic skill set that can cope fast with changes.
The base of dynamic skill sets
The key here is to identify the base of a skill. What are the ingredients of a skill and how can you use them to your advantage. In my opinion the professional entrepreneur which starts his own company will need the most extensive operational skill-set in order to become flexible. You can have a partner(s) which fills-up a gap(s) in your skill, but you’ll still need a basic level of all. Notice I’m using the term skill everywhere here. Any skill can be learned in my opinion.
Not having a certain skill can never be the reason not to start-up. Don’t fool yourself, it’s only you not being willing to learn a specific skill. You control this decision and insight, not the world and it’s external factors. Like “not being born with such a skill” or knowing persons who have ample of a skill you lack. Don’t get thrown off by terms like ‘talent’ or ‘drive’, there just made-up terms that people love to hear and share to account for the fact they are unwilling to learn or are able to understand. The way I see it is that we are all equally unequal. We all start with the same skill spectrum which has developed differently to different levels of aptitude. I don’t want to go into the variables of creating your skill set too much, but its safe to say you have one that you will to need to develop. The starting level of a skill logically varies from person to person. The amount of time and effort it will take to master a skill to a sufficient level will vary also, but you will only need 1 skill to do so.
The skill of learning
Identifying a lack of skills is much more important and confronting than identifying a high skill level. Spend most of your analyzing time trying to identify lack in skill and improving those. High skill levels tend also to have quick auto learning systems, you’ll pick them up and improve them as you go. Identifying lacking skills is much harder then mastering them. Why? One of the reasons the perception of yourself is always, biased and also dynamic. You will need a specific skill set in order to identify skill levels and skill you lack. Yes again I call this a skill, so jeej! It can be learned.
A great way to detect a lack of skills is the skill of feedback for example. Learning how to behave upon getting feedback and what to do with feedback is a very useful skill. Once you realize the true importance of getting feedback, you will know is the nicest thing a person can do for you. You might like the feedback or not, or you can totally disagree with feedback, that is ok. At the end of the day, someone has found a lack in your skill or has used some sort of anomaly in a skill in order to form his or her totally unfair ;) feedback. The knowledge of feedback and what to do with feedback is extremely vast. Google-ing what feedback is is not enough. You’ll have to do some sort or self-education or take some classes where you interact and do some role-playing for instance in order to utilize it. I’m leaving the way you learn to use feedback or other concepts of learning up to you, there will be much out there.
In my opinion this feedback skill should be standard in middle school, it’s of that much importance. Once you grasp the thought that the person giving feedback is alway correct, even if you disagree and you are able to improve your handling you are up to starting level. Why I feel feedback is of such importance? It’s a good method to use as the missing link in your interaction with the world: ‘analysis’. With it you’ll be able to tackle many problems/insecurities. How? By using a closed loop cycle.
The closed loop cycle
1/ You posses a skill level
2/ You act with your skill
3/ You get a response or outcome
4/ Analysis and Interpret result to adjust or improve your skill
1/ You posses a skill level
Super logical right? There are many models out there which are simular to the one above. I’m using the above for ease. Wether you like it or not our body is doing this cycle all day long. Even while you are reading this the brain is doing it. Your brain is good and equipped for it so make use of it! Example: when moving your hand there is a constant loop going on. 1 your hand has a motoric skill set. 2 your hand will control the mouse. 3 the screen wil display a mouse arrow moving to a clickable button. 4 you will visually see the actions coming out of your hands, your hand has sensors of location in them and your brain will analyse the result. The more cycles or iterations it makes, the better you will get in controlling the mouse. Your brain will order new neurons to be activated or created, in order for you to become more skilled. It’s a bit simplified off course but you get my drift. You need to zoom in on each step of the learning cycle and learn to create fast and many iterations.
So start with the basic skill: The skill to identify and find a lack in other skills, the learning skill. I hope reading this you understand that this primary skill will never be ‘finished’. You will never be done as it is learning itself described here. One of the things I meet a lot is that people judge themselves or others when you introduce the term learning. The general consensus is that intelligence is the same or is the dominant factor in learning. Well it’s not. Intelligence doesn’t exist, it’s the same way with the term ‘succes’, the definition is dependent on so many variables that is impossible to define intelligence. Even the thought to try to is folly as it’s simply a made-up term by us as a society. Lose succes, talent and intelligence completely in your mind, it’ll never do you any good. Well unless your an egoist that wants to compare your biased definition to another person and then feel good about yourself because you or your society has constructed a definition were you happen to come out favorably.
By now you probably already know how your brain likes to work with the above cycle right? Well if not, there is many knowledge out there already for you if you haven’t found that out yet. Self-actualization in the form of life willeventually tell you if you are younger or some psychological knowledge will If you feel unsecure here. Your a good reader and you store the knowledge of text fast? Improve your basic skills by book. You are more visual? Use film, youtube and person to person interaction to acquire and improve skill. Your a do’er? Well get your hands in the mud my friend! be sure to combine them too!
Ok now we have set that there is no skill that you can’t master, you are half-way on becoming what ever you have intended. Now it’s time for you to put that 1 skill into action. Here are some skills to use your one-skill on.
Some skills that will come in handy when starting as a entrepreneur:
If you are starting a perfume company, having the knowledge and ability to make your own from scratch is beneficial. Or a opening an autoshop with a mechanic or car-selling degree. You don’t have to have practical skills but it will benefit you. Either in experience or in network or other features, eventually having it will improve your quality of work.
Having some sort of professional experience with communication models/methods and/or having a higher degree in communication will benefit you. At some point you want your product, message or service out there. Knowing were to find or how to impact your target group is a worthy skill. Personal communications skills will have to be owned by all entrepreneurs in a venture. You won’t be able to start-up with anyone that is unaware of his/her poor communication skill. Persons with low communication levels should start out in a secondary role in a venture. Make sure this person is never in a leading/leadership role at start. Don’t think to easy of it. Knowing how to speak loud and come across by taking a lead is not having a good communication level. If you are starting a one man company and your communication skill is low. Take extra time to start up, you’ll need a year or two to pick them up.
Being creative is a very holistic skill. Being creative is important to any entrepreneur. Being highly creative will speed up your other ability’s greatly. It will also reduce the weight of all other skills by being able to mask skills you lack using creativity. It’s a harder to learn skill but very much learnable too. Due to the lengthy learning curve of creativity skills i’ll advice to have a good partner that does have this skill if you have identified a lack of creativity in your skill set. Not having creativity in a startup will be near impossible. Instead take your time in selecting a good partner in your venture. In my opinion don’t choose any relative or friend even though this might seem best. You are likely to run into trouble due to differences in creative insights. Thats ok, its a good thing to run into those, that’s you learning! Unfortunately it has a high expectancy of becoming a bad ‘breakup’
Chaos and creativity are good for startups, but organizational skill levels are a must to continue after the fist year. Having a high levels of organizational skills in your startup will benefit you greatly. The society will ask of you to be organized. You’ll need planning in your strategy and you will have to be on time for meetings. A good information organization will also help you improve that one most important skill: The skill of learning.
Im pretty sure with YOUR experience you can add more to this list, feel free to visit my full blog at Guido Branderhorst.