tips for improving entrepreneurial skills

Entrepreneurs are fueled by a drive and passion that pushes them to follow their dreams and become their own boss, which are both great motivating skills. To be a successful business owner, let’s discuss what tools you can use to give you a strong foundation and support as you start and grow your business.

Having the rights skills will enable you to be a successful business owner. Not all entrepreneurs are born with the dashboard needed to build a successful business. This could include such skills as time or financial management, negotiation skills, and being able to effectively connect with customers.

Running your own business means you are continually having to learn and adapt in order to improve your business success. But, the great news is that all of these skills can be learned, and can help you create a thriving, continually growing, successful business.

Whether or not you have already identified the essential business skills you need to work on, here are some tips for improving your business skill set:

Take a Course

Online learning has opened up a wide variety of options for business owners to learn, and have made the barriers of restrictions on time, location and money irrelevant. Different options allow you to learn on your own time and at your own pace. And online learning can be done anywhere, so it doesn’t matter where you are located. Many free and low cost options are also available, so if you’re running a business on a tight budget, you still have the opportunity to learn and improve your skills.  Not only are in-person courses and workshops available, but online learning and video conferencing have made access to information so much easier. The options for learning are endless!

Depending on the skills you are looking to gain or improve upon, there are a number of help resources available, both free and paid, including:

Toast Masters: Work on your public speaking and communication skills by becoming a member of this group. The handy ‘Find a Club’ tool lets you enter your location and see what is available near you, so you can get started on boosting your public speaking skills right away.

ICS Canada: Online courses are available in a number of topics, so you can learn something totally new or improve upon a valuable business skill you already have.

Coursera: There are 10 courses available online for career success specialization, including project management and decision making.

TED Talks: Sharing different ideas, perspectives and insight into a variety of subjects, speakers deliver talks to inspire and educate.

YouTube: Find tutorials for any skill that you can possibly think of.

Find a Mentor

Learning from someone involved in the business world, who has been in your shoes and has succeeded is a great way to gain insight into their business experience. A mentor who is willing to share with you and guide you can tell you about the mistakes they have made, obstacles they faced and how they overcame these things to find success. This can be incredibly valuable information that you cannot learn simply by reading about becoming an entrepreneur or attending business school. There are certain things that can only be learned through life experience, and if your mentor is willing to share and you are willing to listen, you can benefit from the lessons they have learned to help avoid the same mistakes, and create a business plan that takes possible obstacles into account.

Perhaps your mentor will tell you about a specific personal or business skill they had to improve or learn in order to overcome the obstacles in front of them. Learning this allows you to get a head start on acquiring and improving your business skills, so you’re ready if you encounter the same obstacles.

Seeking the guidance of a mentor is a wonderful way to see a glimpse into your potential future, and a great reminder that they were once in the same position as you.

Do something for free

It sounds counterproductive, but sometimes giving something away for free can help spread the word and build a demand for your new product or service. Many companies frequently offer free samples of their new products to let customers try before they buy, in the hopes that they will love the product so much they’ll be motivated to make a purchase.

In the short term, it may result in a loss if you’re giving products away or providing a free service, but you may be able to turn that short-term loss into future gains. Your current customers already love what you’re offering, otherwise they wouldn’t continue to be your customers. Let them be the first to try your new products and services as a ‘thank you’ for being a loyal customer.

There are a number of ways you can provide customers with free samples, including having samples available in your business location, including a sample with each order or ending out an exclusive email message asking if they’d like to try it.

Ask for their opinion after – this can give you great insight into what your current customers, who are already familiar with your products, think about the new offerings. Take their feedback and make adjustments accordingly. Customers feel valued when they are listened to and their feedback is taken seriously.

Don’t be afraid of mistakes

You’re not going to be good at everything, nor should you expect to be. Each individual has their different talents that seem to come naturally to them. But, when we are trying to learn new skills, it’s important not to get discouraged when you make mistakes or just outright fail.

If you’re afraid of making mistakes, you’ll hold back from trying to push yourself to achieve more. Try new things, fail and learn from your mistakes. If you’ve found a mentor to learn from, it’s highly likely they’ve already told you this. It’s one of the things we are told so frequently, but we so infrequently listen to. Speak with any successful entrepreneur, and they will tell you that once they overcame their fear of failure, they were able to learn and grow in ways they hadn’t seen before.

Set goals for learning your new skills and don’t let fear hold back your potential.

Think outside the box

Learning doesn’t always happen in traditional ways. Thinking of different and creative ways to work on your analytic thinking, improve communication and other skills can open up a lot of opportunities to have fun, do something new and learn at the same time.

For instance, if you want to work on analytic thinking and creative problem solving skills, you may want to search for an escape room challenge in your area. This can help you test your leadership skills and problem solving, while working in a team, and testing your time management skills by pressuring you with a deadline to escape.

Improv classes force you to think on your feet, react to constantly shifting situations, and work on public speaking in front of an audience. Joining an improv class in your area is also a great way to learn new skills, including both verbal and nonverbal communication, without really feeling like you’re learning in the traditional sense.

If team building skills are something you want to work on, places like Treetop trekking offer team building programs, where you can learn ways to help build team spirit, create more effective communication and improve problem solving.

Working on improving skills and learning new things is something a successful business owner is constantly having to do. But, it is possible to learn these skills when you set goals, find the right resources and are driven to improve.

At Ontario Business Central we are always aiming to provide great resources for new and existing business owners. We have been assisting clients to open, change and cancel their businesses since 1992.  Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our staff for additional information and assistance.

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