Running a business is not a piece of cake. There is a huge amount to learn and although some people have a natural head for business, most of us end up making one mistake after another. Making mistakes is not a bad thing, as it teaches you to move forward in the face of adversity, but serious mistakes could cost you your business, which is an outcome nobody wants, least of all you.
All businessmen and women need to have a good understanding of the principles of accounting. Positive cash flow drives a business forward, but if the money dries up, the business will fail. However, a head for figures is not the only skill you need. You also need to be good at managing people and situations, seeing the bigger picture, and be ruthlessly organized.
It is likely that you won’t have all the essential skills you need, but there are many ways to learn them, so if you have dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur, here are some tips to get you started.
Read Books, Magazines and Online Material.
There is a wealth of information out there, online, in books, and in magazines. If you have dreams of becoming the next Richard Branson or Warren Buffet, start educating your mind and learning more about the intricacies of business. You won’t become an expert overnight, but you will learn a lot of interesting – and useful – new skills.
Find a Mentor.
A mentor is invaluable when you lack practical experience of running a business. Mentors provide guidance and offer advice if you don’t know what to do. They can be on hand to help you start a business, or offer advice if you want to take your business to the next level. Mentors are usually highly experienced men and women who run their own businesses.
Business Angels are people who mentor entrepreneurs, as well as provide some of the financing they need to get their business off the ground. You will also find that if you borrow from a big lender, they will assign you a relationship manager to help guide you.
Alternatively, look for a mentor through local business networking groups. You will find that there is always someone on hand, ready to help and offer advice. Never be afraid to ask for help, as this is the best way to learn.
Take a College Course.
College courses from Ohio University are an excellent way to learn the ropes if you have no previous experience running a business. Low-level business admin courses are perfect for young people with an interest in becoming an entrepreneur, but it is also worth asking yourself: is an MBA worth it? You may find the answer is “yes” because careers for MBA graduates tend to be better paid, which gives you more choices if you decide to wait a while before starting your own business.
Practice makes perfect and the best way to learn new business skills is by actually doing the job.