Entrepreneurship is on the rise in the United States, with small businesses popping up in almost every state each year. However, this enterprise does not seem to be a simple one, as 80 percent of companies fold within 12-18 months after the initial launch. The reasons for these failures vary, but it may be that some business owners lack certain skills that are often learned in college.
Honing these skills during your undergraduate years may prevent future entrepreneurial failure and give you the confidence you need to run a company.
1. Time Management
Few skills help you weather the rigors of college than time management. Prioritizing your assignments, planning weeks in advance for larger projects and blocking out time to exercise and socialize takes self-discipline and some sacrifices, but you are likely to enjoy the results. Since this is a skill that takes time to learn and adapt to your daily life, it is a good idea to start slow and discover which method works best for you.
Many college students use digital assistants to help track their appointments, test days and other important dates across several different calendars. Others use more traditional means, such as paper planners and bullet journals. The bullet journal, or bujo, as it is called by its admirers, has gained attention the past several years, as its versatility as both a calendar, personal journal and art doodle book appeals to a wide variety of students. You may have to try several different tracking methods before you find one you enjoy.
2. Overcoming Adversity
When a small business fails, it could be that the entrepreneur faced some setbacks that he or she had no idea how to handle. However, adversity is common in the commercial world, so it is important that you have solutions to overcome it when it does arise.
Adversity can come in a variety of forms, from financial trouble to issues with your company website that caused an order to be lost. No matter the problem, it is usually more effective to act than turn away. For example, if an inventory error caused a customer to receive the wrong item and he or she is now taking the complaint to social media, reach out publicly and try to resolve the problem instead of letting it fester, as this could result in poor online reviews or negative word of mouth.
Owning a business requires an outgoing and resilient personality, as well as the ability to relate to and lead each of the people you employ. The more your employees feel they can approach you with problems, the more confidence they might have in you as time passes. Some individuals have natural leadership qualities, but you can practice a few habits that may strengthen yours.
One way to improve business leadership habits is by understanding what makes an effective leader. Join business groups in your area to observe local successful entrepreneurs and note how they lead their teams. Are they open to feedback? Do they treat everyone equally? Are they team players? These are all questions you can then apply to yourself and your own work ethic, and you may even discover areas where you need to improve.
Poor communication can lead to disaster, especially in business. Even small business owners must stay on the same page with their employees, suppliers, distributors, and inspectors. A communication breakdown sometimes happens when individuals are deliberately left out of the loop or if a business manager becomes overwhelmed with financial troubles. However, there are strategies you can use to improve your own skills in this area.
While speaking is a vital component of communication, it can be even more important to be a good listener. Listen to gather information instead of looking for a point of entry to speak and give cues that you were listening carefully by asking questions and allowing the speaker to reply fully. When you listen rather than jumping in with a comment, you may open lines of communication that were not present before.
5. Self-Starting Your Work
College is a world of independence where you are largely responsible for turning in assignments on time. If work is not completed and you fail the class, you have wasted time and money that you cannot get back. Fortunately, becoming a self-motivator is a skill you can hone as you work toward graduating and owning a business.
If you find it difficult to motivate yourself when it comes to studying or completing reading assignments, one way to relieve the apathy is to break up the work into small, manageable chunks. For example, if you have 20 pages of history reading to finish, break it up into five-page sessions.
6. Debt Management
Learning how to borrow mindfully can make you a shrewd entrepreneur. Attend college loan seminars and learn how finance companies like Quick Loans Direct can help you launch your business without having to turn to a traditional bank loan. Learning how to manage debt before you leave college can help you build a stronger foundation for your business later.
Entrepreneurship can be a rocky road full of adversity. Honing a few business skills during your undergraduate years may improve your business acumen and make you a more confident leader.