Entrepreneurship can be both scary and exciting at the same time. On the one hand there is the unknown and never knowing what to expect. While on the other hand is exciting opportunities of self-employment. However, before you delve into the world of entrepreneurship, here are 5 mental skills entrepreneurs need to navigate through this complex yet rewarding journey.
Have you ever tried driving a car without an engine? Probably not! It probably wouldn’t move an inch anyway. Think of a business in the same light. A business can be classified as a complex system of interconnected paths. As an entrepreneur, your job is to know how these components of the system fit together to maximize your profit. Therefore one of the most vital skills entrepreneurs need in their toolkit is is a systems thinking perspective. For example, if you are developing a new product, one needs to understand how the different components in the value chain fit together to ultimately sell the finished goods and generate a profit. This means product development(engineering, design etc.), logistics, marketing and sales.
The ability to have a positive mindset
Being an entrepreneur means rolling with the punches. If you are deciding to pursue this path, know that the barrier to entry for any product or service is tight. You will require the tenacity to interpret failures as stepping stones while also leveraging quick wins for motivation. If you are able to grasp this, then you will be much closer to capturing the essence of a true entrepreneur which is resilience. A good way to leverage quick wins is to establish a measurement system around performance. If you see that you are achieving small goals you set for yourself; you will be more motivated to continue setting and achieving goals.
The ability to learn and unlearn
It is true that to adapt to the dynamic nature of different academic areas while also staying relevant is the ability learn, unlearn and update knowledge periodically. This is why to survive the landscape of entrepreneurship requires having the ability to manage and update your knowledge base. When you are starting your off your journey in entrepreneurship, you will find that there is an abundance of knowledge sources available. Some of this knowledge may be useful while others might not work for you. Therefore it is necessary to sift the information and selectively retain tools, methods and knowledge that prove to be successful within your business. The rest you will have to chunk out like last night’s garbage.
When you are an entrepreneur, analytical skills is a must. You need to be able to perform quick calculations and determine key KPI’s for your business. You need to be able to critical decisions that are motivated with the correct use of data. This also comes in handy when you are trying to obtain funding for your business. Investors want to know that you are financially savvy so that their money is in good hands. If you are unable to brief them on simple financial terms such as gross profit, revenue, cost of sales etc. then you are going to come of as irresponsible and untrustworthy.
Think of entrepreneurial judgement as a skill that is obtained through experience. Entrepreneurial judgement essentially means “making a call” or decision when the answer isn’t as straightforward as it looks. The numbers may point either way and the ultimate decision comes down to; “choose one and see what happens”. In business, you will come across this regularly.
Strategic thinking is “bigger picture” thinking. It revolves around answering questions such as: Where do I see my business in the next 5 to 6 years? Do I want to expand? How do I want to expand? Do I want investors? How can I increase my target audience? What additional features can I include in my product to expand my target audience? These are just a few of the many questions that entrepreneurs need to think strategically about. Strategic thinking can be strengthened through experience such as working for management consulting firms or alternatively you can read and apply skills learnt through literature. Another method to help with strategic thinking is understanding your customers and products. If you are able to do this, you can make better predictions of where your business should be positioned to reach your goals.
There you have it. Some essential mental skills entrepreneurs require to approach the world of entrepreneurship. Remember to stay mentally sharp but also take care of your mental health. Entrepreneurship can be very rewarding but can also put a lot of stress and strain on your brain. Therefore remember to establish good habits and boundaries. Find time to relax while also achieving your milestones.