21ST CENTURY JOB SKILLS BLOG


Do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur?


Nov 30, 2020






Do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur?

 

The 21st century has been defined by successful and inspiring entrepreneurs. Think of role models such as Steve Jobs (Apple computers), Mark Zuckerberg (social media platform Facebook), Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines) and Oprah Winfrey (media and entertainment). The list goes on.

 

Some of these entrepreneurs have tales of rags-to-riches success. Their stories are fascinating, their wealth is staggering, and they have become famous household names.

 

While it’s inspiring to hear about big-name entrepreneurs, what about the rest of us? Is entrepreneurship reserved for a ‘chosen few’?

 

To be successful in a business startup you need more than a business plan, a marketing strategy, a unique product, a customer base or financial backing. While these create a solid business foundation, entrepreneurial success starts with a vision and is ultimately driven by a ‘secret sauce’ – a combination of personal skills, attitudes and beliefs.

 

What’s more, all successful entrepreneurs have this ‘secret sauce’ in common – what’s also known as the entrepreneur mindset.

 

The key to success lies in the entrepreneur mindset

 

An entrepreneurial mindset is a way of thinking where you embrace challenges as learning experiences, where you take decisive action, constantly improve your skills and remain focused on your goals despite setbacks.

 

Is this entrepreneur mindset something that people are born with? Or can it be developed? The short answer is – it can be developed. But equally important, is how this mindset is applied on the pathway to success.  

 

According to Small Biz Trends, 90% of business startups fail. While this is a sobering statistic, it needn’t be. What it does mean, is that we can learn from other people’s mistakes. Research company Failory says 137 000 businesses are started every day worldwide (50 million per year) and 123 000 fail every day. With these figures, they’ve been able to examine in-depth why businesses fail and identify exactly what it takes to succeed.

 

Failory has identified four common characteristics of business startups that succeed:

  • the market
  • disruptive thinking
  • persistence
  • mentors

 

#1 The market

 

It’s obvious- no matter how exceptional your product or service is, if no one wants it, then your business isn’t going to succeed.

 

Fortunately, this wasn’t the case for Steve Jobs (founder of Apple computers). From humble beginnings experimenting with electronics in his garage with co-founder Steve Wozniak, the pair revolutionized the personal computer industry with no initial market.

 

How? Entrepreneurial alertness. They saw an opportunity to provide consumers with something they didn’t realize they wanted! But significantly, they backed up their vision with a sound plan to market their idea. This entrepreneurial intention was the driving force behind Apple’s initial success.

 

But if you’re a business startup in today’s world with no existing customers, can you afford to take the risk of launching without knowing if you have a market? The answer to this could lie in lifelong learning.

 

One of the traits of successful entrepreneurs is their thirst for knowledge, gained by lifelong learning. The habit of regularly consuming information, cultivating an open mind and embracing improvement. Using knowledge to fuel your entrepreneurial alertness includes understanding the business environment and your market, well before launching a business startup. 

 

#2 Disruptive thinking

 

Put simply disruptive thinking or disruptive innovation is one of two things- identifying an opportunity in an existing market or creating a market where none previously existed.

 

Just like entrepreneurial alertness, disruptive thinking drives successful business ventures by ensuring you stand out from your competitors and anticipate their next move, or by listening to your customers and anticipating the market. This works for existing businesses, but for startups, disruptive thinking can be much riskier. However, history shows us that taking big risks pays off.

 

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) could not have envisioned his wild success – starting a social networking site for university students in 2004 to revolutionizing social media and growing a company whose net worth was estimated at US$68 billion in 2019.

 

Zuckerberg’s disruptive thinking created a market and despite early setbacks, his determination and focus helped drive his success.

 

With Facebook now the largest social media platform in the world, it’s clear – Zuckerberg’s disruptive thinking has shown anything is possible.   

 

#3 Persistence

 

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

 

This insight is from Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines), one of the greatest entrepreneurs the UK has ever produced, with controlling interests in over 400 companies and a net worth of US$4.1 billion in 2020. The key to his success? Persistence – that is, the ability to pick himself up after business failures and not give up. Resilience and grit – that is, the ability to respond positively to difficulty, change or uncertainty.

 

Staying true to your entrepreneurial vision in the face of failure, obstacles and change takes persistence and the strong personal qualities of resilience and grit. And it’s this less glamourous aspect of being an entrepreneur that is the key to success.

 

It’s a given that being an entrepreneur comes with a high level of risk and uncertainty. But it’s how Branson and entrepreneurs at any level respond to change and difficulty that sets them apart.

 

#4 Mentors 

 

Everyone at every level needs a mentor, whether you’re a business startup or going through a business growth period. Collaborating with a skillful and experienced mentor can make or break your business. With the right mentor sharing their wisdom and hard-won experience, your business can get the guidance and support it needs for growth.      

 

According to Small Business, some benefits of engaging a mentor are:

  • being able to ask questions and get advice
  • getting a different perspective
  • improving your business skills
  • being able to express your frustrations
  • expanding your network
  • learning methods and strategies
  • developing a long-lasting relationship
  • gaining the confidence to make decisions
  • getting a gentle ‘nudge’
  • giving them a chance to give back

 

Media and entertainment powerhouse Oprah Winfrey, with a net worth of US$2.8 billion, considers the poet and activist Maya Angelou, as one of her mentors and greatest influences. Winfrey said one of the best lessons she learned from her was, “When you learn, teach; when you get, give.”

 

Winfrey established a public charity, Oprah’s Angel Network, in 1998 and has given over US$400 million (as of 2019) of her own money to philanthropic causes. Aside from wanting to make a positive impact in the lives of others, she says:

 

“The surest way to bring goodness to yourself is to make it your intention to do good for somebody else.”

 

If Winfrey attributes her success to her invaluable mentor, it’s clear collaborating with a business mentor and learning to collaborate with others can be a key factor in your own entrepreneurial success.

 

The secret power of soft skills

 

These outrageously successful entrepreneurs demonstrate the power of having a strong entrepreneurial mindset. We’ve seen how their qualities of entrepreneurial alertness, entrepreneurial intention, entrepreneurial vision, infinite mindset, disruptive thinking, lifelong learning, resilience and grit, and collaboration skills have been the backbone of their success.

 

In the business climate of the 21st century, these mindset skills are also known as ‘soft skills’ and it is these soft skills that are revolutionizing workplaces and creating an increasing number of entrepreneurs.

 

So what are soft skills?

 

Manpower Group, a world leader in innovative workforce solutions, says we are in the midst of a skills revolution. The workplace and the business world are being transformed by digitization and automation. But according to their Skills Revolution report, rather than ‘competing’ with machines, people with soft skills have been identified as invaluable assets in the 21st century.

 

The report identifies several key human strengths, ones that machines can’t replicate such as effective communication skills, problem solving, creativity, cognitive flexibility and collaboration. As we’ve seen, these soft skills relating to the future labor force are equally important for entrepreneurs.

 

Why entrepreneurs shouldn’t dismiss soft skills

 

As a budding entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in the systems and processes in your business, the software, accounting, marketing, business planning and technology, just to name a few! When you have a burning idea or great new product you can’t wait to get ‘out there’, your business does need to be driven by these tools. However, amongst the busyness, it’s possible to dismiss the importance of developing these potent soft skills.

 

Skills such as effective communication skills, problem-solving, creativity, cognitive flexibility and collaboration, as identified in the Manpower Group study. As well as other soft skills such as decision-making and judgment, emotional intelligence, and resilience and grit, as seen in the remarkable careers of entrepreneurs Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Sir Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey.

 

Strong soft skills are the backbone of developing a winning entrepreneurial mindset. And the entrepreneur mindset is what fuels the ‘secret sauce’ needed for entrepreneurial success.

 

There are many more examples of successful entrepreneurs who are driven by this entrepreneur mindset. But unfortunately, there are many budding entrepreneurs who aren’t successful (remember the statistic at the start of this article – 90% of business startups fail).

 

So as an entrepreneur the only question you really need to ask is: how can I best develop my entrepreneur mindset?

 

I’d like to learn more entrepreneur mindset 

 

I’d like to explore your soft skills’ online courses 

 

 

Do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur?

 

The 21st century has been defined by successful and inspiring entrepreneurs. Think of role models such as Steve Jobs (Apple computers), Mark Zuckerberg (social media platform Facebook), Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines) and Oprah Winfrey (media and entertainment). The list goes on.

 

Some of these entrepreneurs have tales of rags-to-riches success. Their stories are fascinating, their wealth is staggering, and they have become famous household names.

 

While it’s inspiring to hear about big-name entrepreneurs, what about the rest of us? Is entrepreneurship reserved for a ‘chosen few’?

 

To be successful in a business startup you need more than a business plan, a marketing strategy, a unique product, a customer base or financial backing. While these create a solid business foundation, entrepreneurial success starts with a vision and is ultimately driven by a ‘secret sauce’ – a combination of personal skills, attitudes and beliefs.

 

What’s more, all successful entrepreneurs have this ‘secret sauce’ in common – what’s also known as the entrepreneur mindset.

 

The key to success lies in the entrepreneur mindset

 

An entrepreneurial mindset is a way of thinking where you embrace challenges as learning experiences, where you take decisive action, constantly improve your skills and remain focused on your goals despite setbacks.

 

Is this entrepreneur mindset something that people are born with? Or can it be developed? The short answer is – it can be developed. But equally important, is how this mindset is applied on the pathway to success.  

 

According to Small Biz Trends, 90% of business startups fail. While this is a sobering statistic, it needn’t be. What it does mean, is that we can learn from other people’s mistakes. Research company Failory says 137 000 businesses are started every day worldwide (50 million per year) and 123 000 fail every day. With these figures, they’ve been able to examine in-depth why businesses fail and identify exactly what it takes to succeed.

 

Failory has identified four common characteristics of business startups that succeed:

  • the market
  • disruptive thinking
  • persistence
  • mentors

 

#1 The market

 

It’s obvious- no matter how exceptional your product or service is, if no one wants it, then your business isn’t going to succeed.

 

Fortunately, this wasn’t the case for Steve Jobs (founder of Apple computers). From humble beginnings experimenting with electronics in his garage with co-founder Steve Wozniak, the pair revolutionized the personal computer industry with no initial market.

 

How? Entrepreneurial alertness. They saw an opportunity to provide consumers with something they didn’t realize they wanted! But significantly, they backed up their vision with a sound plan to market their idea. This entrepreneurial intention was the driving force behind Apple’s initial success.

 

But if you’re a business startup in today’s world with no existing customers, can you afford to take the risk of launching without knowing if you have a market? The answer to this could lie in lifelong learning.

 

One of the traits of successful entrepreneurs is their thirst for knowledge, gained by lifelong learning. The habit of regularly consuming information, cultivating an open mind and embracing improvement. Using knowledge to fuel your entrepreneurial alertness includes understanding the business environment and your market, well before launching a business startup. 

 

#2 Disruptive thinking

 

Put simply disruptive thinking or disruptive innovation is one of two things- identifying an opportunity in an existing market or creating a market where none previously existed.

 

Just like entrepreneurial alertness, disruptive thinking drives successful business ventures by ensuring you stand out from your competitors and anticipate their next move, or by listening to your customers and anticipating the market. This works for existing businesses, but for startups, disruptive thinking can be much riskier. However, history shows us that taking big risks pays off.

 

Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) could not have envisioned his wild success – starting a social networking site for university students in 2004 to revolutionizing social media and growing a company whose net worth was estimated at US$68 billion in 2019.

 

Zuckerberg’s disruptive thinking created a market and despite early setbacks, his determination and focus helped drive his success.

 

With Facebook now the largest social media platform in the world, it’s clear – Zuckerberg’s disruptive thinking has shown anything is possible.   

 

#3 Persistence

 

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”

 

This insight is from Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines), one of the greatest entrepreneurs the UK has ever produced, with controlling interests in over 400 companies and a net worth of US$4.1 billion in 2020. The key to his success? Persistence – that is, the ability to pick himself up after business failures and not give up. Resilience and grit – that is, the ability to respond positively to difficulty, change or uncertainty.

 

Staying true to your entrepreneurial vision in the face of failure, obstacles and change takes persistence and the strong personal qualities of resilience and grit. And it’s this less glamourous aspect of being an entrepreneur that is the key to success.

 

It’s a given that being an entrepreneur comes with a high level of risk and uncertainty. But it’s how Branson and entrepreneurs at any level respond to change and difficulty that sets them apart.

 

#4 Mentors 

 

Everyone at every level needs a mentor, whether you’re a business startup or going through a business growth period. Collaborating with a skillful and experienced mentor can make or break your business. With the right mentor sharing their wisdom and hard-won experience, your business can get the guidance and support it needs for growth.      

 

According to Small Business, some benefits of engaging a mentor are:

  • being able to ask questions and get advice
  • getting a different perspective
  • improving your business skills
  • being able to express your frustrations
  • expanding your network
  • learning methods and strategies
  • developing a long-lasting relationship
  • gaining the confidence to make decisions
  • getting a gentle ‘nudge’
  • giving them a chance to give back

 

Media and entertainment powerhouse Oprah Winfrey, with a net worth of US$2.8 billion, considers the poet and activist Maya Angelou, as one of her mentors and greatest influences. Winfrey said one of the best lessons she learned from her was, “When you learn, teach; when you get, give.”

 

Winfrey established a public charity, Oprah’s Angel Network, in 1998 and has given over US$400 million (as of 2019) of her own money to philanthropic causes. Aside from wanting to make a positive impact in the lives of others, she says:

 

“The surest way to bring goodness to yourself is to make it your intention to do good for somebody else.”

 

If Winfrey attributes her success to her invaluable mentor, it’s clear collaborating with a business mentor and learning to collaborate with others can be a key factor in your own entrepreneurial success.

 

The secret power of soft skills

 

These outrageously successful entrepreneurs demonstrate the power of having a strong entrepreneurial mindset. We’ve seen how their qualities of entrepreneurial alertness, entrepreneurial intention, entrepreneurial vision, infinite mindset, disruptive thinking, lifelong learning, resilience and grit, and collaboration skills have been the backbone of their success.

 

In the business climate of the 21st century, these mindset skills are also known as ‘soft skills’ and it is these soft skills that are revolutionizing workplaces and creating an increasing number of entrepreneurs.

 

So what are soft skills?

 

Manpower Group, a world leader in innovative workforce solutions, says we are in the midst of a skills revolution. The workplace and the business world are being transformed by digitization and automation. But according to their Skills Revolution report, rather than ‘competing’ with machines, people with soft skills have been identified as invaluable assets in the 21st century.

 

The report identifies several key human strengths, ones that machines can’t replicate such as effective communication skills, problem solving, creativity, cognitive flexibility and collaboration. As we’ve seen, these soft skills relating to the future labor force are equally important for entrepreneurs.

 

Why entrepreneurs shouldn’t dismiss soft skills

 

As a budding entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in the systems and processes in your business, the software, accounting, marketing, business planning and technology, just to name a few! When you have a burning idea or great new product you can’t wait to get ‘out there’, your business does need to be driven by these tools. However, amongst the busyness, it’s possible to dismiss the importance of developing these potent soft skills.

 

Skills such as effective communication skills, problem-solving, creativity, cognitive flexibility and collaboration, as identified in the Manpower Group study. As well as other soft skills such as decision-making and judgment, emotional intelligence, and resilience and grit, as seen in the remarkable careers of entrepreneurs Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Sir Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey.

 

Strong soft skills are the backbone of developing a winning entrepreneurial mindset. And the entrepreneur mindset is what fuels the ‘secret sauce’ needed for entrepreneurial success.

 

There are many more examples of successful entrepreneurs who are driven by this entrepreneur mindset. But unfortunately, there are many budding entrepreneurs who aren’t successful (remember the statistic at the start of this article – 90% of business startups fail).

 

So as an entrepreneur the only question you really need to ask is: how can I best develop my entrepreneur mindset?

 

I’d like to learn more entrepreneur mindset 

 

I’d like to explore your soft skills’ online courses 

 

 



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