Business schools teach you the importance of planning, strategizing, making intelligent choices, and investing your money the right way. But, running a successful business requires more than just technical skills. It is a common observation that college graduates struggle with adaptability, creativity, empathy, and problem-solving.
So, if you’re looking to start a business, here is a list of 10 out-of-the-classroom skills and lessons that contribute to your entrepreneurship.
As shocking as it sounds, getting good grades isn’t everything for running a successful business. Sometimes it requires you to conform to a specific way of thinking, limiting your creativity.
In the race to get good grades, business students often find themselves competing rather than collaborating. Healthy competition can be good for keeping businesses on their feet. But, collaboration leads to more holistic outcomes, like a stronger team dynamic.
Most people equate intelligence with academia, but the truth is that there is much more to intelligence than having a high IQ. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is considered a necessary skill, but for some reason, it isn’t taught in business schools.
Entrepreneurs with high emotional intelligence can leverage empathy and social skills to build strong relationships in the workplace and with clients. You can win people over with compassion, communication, and effective conflict resolution. But developing these muscles requires you to understand and manage emotions in a positive way.
Good communication skills can mean the difference between sealing a deal or breaking it almost completely.
Sure, Communication 101 is taught in many B-schools, but what you learn is amplified 10X in real-life situations. Schools fail to realize that good communication is more about listening effectively than writing press releases and emails.
You’ll need to enhance these skills if you want to be a good salesperson, handle crises effectively and keep your team happy.
Creativity is a process of self-discovery; it can’t be taught in a classroom. Coming up with original ideas is the epitome of entrepreneurship.
An IBM survey of more than 1500 chief executive officers found that ‘creativity was ranked as the number one factor for future business success – above management discipline, integrity, and even vision.’
Whether you’re trying to develop a new product or looking for ways to boost your income, brainstorming is an excellent way to exercise your brain cells and come up with the answers you need.
So, your business failed… now what? It shouldn’t stop there for you.
College prepares students for success, not for failure. Whether or not a business is going to do well is highly subjective. According to one Harvard report, it is estimated that 95% of all startups will fail.
Take your time to evaluate the situation and then disassociate the failure from yourself because it has nothing to do with you.
There are many reasons why a business doesn’t do well, a highly competitive landscape being the biggest one. This is a reality you need to accept when pursuing your entrepreneurial goals. Be the kind of entrepreneur that bounces back quickly and understands that the best way to deal with failure is realizing that it happens.
You can’t be the jack-of-all-trades if you’re only satisfactory at the many skills you learned in college. This is where you have to make an intelligent, business-oriented decision. Instead of spending your time trying to master those skills, you can outsource the tasks to people who are already good at them.
As a business entrepreneur, outsourcing allows you to shift your focus from peripheral activities. It helps you prioritize business activities that lead to revenue-generating outcomes that meet your business objectives.
Forbes says your gut is the best business tool you’ve got.
However, sometimes we’re made to believe that we should lead with logic rather than intuition. Following your intuition is the ultimate act of trusting yourself – and when starting a business, you have to trust yourself to make the right decisions for yourself and your business.
Patience truly is a virtue. Even in the business world. Especially in the business world. A virtue that isn’t usually valued in entrepreneurship.
Granted that in business, sometimes it’s hard to be patient. But as an entrepreneur, you represent your business. Therefore, you must build a reputation for patience, so people know you as someone who deliberates every decision. It’s better than being considered impulsive or aggressive because that is an immediate reflection on your business decision-making.
Sometimes work can take up a considerable portion of your life to the point where it becomes unhealthy. Finding the right balance can be tricky, but it’s necessary so you don’t burn out.
For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, work-life balance is subjective and something that has to be figured out based on what works for them. But taking care of your health and well-being should always take precedence over anything else. The more balanced your life is, the more successful your business will be.
Taking risks doesn’t mean jumping into business blindly.
Sure, there will be times when your risks may not pay off, but that shouldn’t put you off. Unfortunately, B-schools are quite risk-averse, and so are the students. But consider this: could Elon Musk and Steve Jobs do what they did if they took every decision by the book?
Research has found a definite connection between a person’s willingness to take risks and their personal satisfaction.
It is essential to consider the various lessons and skills that aren’t taught within the four walls of a classroom. Use both book and street smarts to navigate through the cutthroat competition of the business world.