Entrepreneurship: Then and Now
The landscape of entrepreneurship has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Back when personal computers and the internet were just merely the stuff of science fiction, being an entrepreneur entailed opening a shop somewhere, and hoping that you'll be lucky enough to eventually make a cozy profit from whatever it is that you're selling.
The point is, if you were not smart enough like Bill Gates or as persistent enough as Colonel Sanders (man went through a succession of failed careers- lawyer, lamp salesman, life insurance salesman- before settling as a restaurateur), your business would have been bound to failure.
What Skills Modern Entrepreneurs Need
But today's generation is different. The barrier to entrepreneurship has become much, much lower. Anyone with an internet connection can- potentially- be an entrepreneur if they set their mind to it.
However, with the decreased barrier to entry, comes the increase in competition. Whereas in the old days, patience and a whole lot of persistence are enough to get you by, entrepreneurs in the 21st century need to have a specific set of skills in their arsenal to be able to stand out from the rest of the pack.
Among the lessons I learned in entrepreneurship is that a modern-day businessman should...
...Be Knowledgeable About Computers and the Internet
Dude, it's the 21st century. There's really no excuse for you to not know your way around computers and the internet. Businesses nowadays are mostly conducted online, so being tech-savvy is a must.
At the very least, all modern day entrepreneurs should have a social media account or a website where clients can contact them, and also be knowledgeable about common online marketing concepts like search engine optimization, social media marketing, and online reputation management.
If you want to delve deeper into the tech side of things, you can also try adding HTML/CSS and a few programming languages to your arsenal.
...Handle Stress Well
Let's face it entrepreneurship can be hard. It is not a get rich quick scheme; you won't be rolling in dough in just a few months of operation alone.
Yes, your business might be running smoothly now, but you'll eventually encounter into a few roadblocks along the way. Problems are a given. Even large companies with all the resources and money in the world have them.
Take for example, Samsung. Once touted as Apple's most prominent competitor, the Korean tech giant is now deeply mired in controversy following the recent Note 7 fiasco. Chances are that they'll be able to recover from this setback in a few month's time, but the damage has already been done.
While you might not encounter problems at the same magnitude as Samsung's, you must be prepared for the ones that might happen to you. Know what your backup options are. Know when to step back. Know how to handle your stress so that it can help you improve- not impede- you.
...Have the Art of Organization Down to Pat
The digital age comes with a variety of online distractions that can do more harm than good. And yes, all of this information can do more harm than good.
A good entrepreneur can sift through all of these gunk and focus only on what's important. He or she knows the tasks to focus on, knows when to delegate, knows how to figure out organization tactics that would work for his or her team.
...Be Able to Communicate Well
You can't be a good salesman, if you can't sell. And integral to the act of selling is communication. Both oral and written communication, that is.
How can you convince people to buy your product if you can't speak coherently enough in public to deliver a presentation? How do you expect people to take you seriously if your writing skills are that of a sixth grader?
Invest in developing your communication skills, invest in the growth of your business and your worth as an entrepreneur.
...Have a Knack For Intuition
Apple's iPhone became a hit only because Steve Jobs knew that people want an all-around device that can do all of the things that a normal cellphone can do, as well as access the Internet, play their music, and run their games.
Along with the ability to sell, is the ability to know what WILL sell. This is something that you can only get through experience though, and if you are perceptive enough to know what the public's needs and wants are at the moment.