College is a place where you can learn a lot of things, but business isn’t something that falls into that category. On the contrary, it’s something that you’re least likely to learn in college. Look at a lot of successful CEOs and you will see that they started their first businesses in college.
What you may also notice is that they didn’t learn those skills in the college itself. This guide is going to show you some of the key skills every successful entrepreneur must master, but isn’t taught in the college environment.
1. Communication Skills
Entrepreneurs often have the problem of trying to communicate their ideas. They have to make sense of the jumble inside their heads. That’s what will carry a startup to high levels of funding. Knowing when to communicate and when not to communicate is the difference between a business that succeeds and a business that fails.
College is one place where you are unlikely to learn this. It’s the ultimate soft skill that will build your confidence and help you to bring together your team. Some people just seem to be charismatic in this way, but it’s also something that you can learn over time.
But for one moment you need to think back to what it is to be an entrepreneur. Communication isn’t about running over people and talking over them. It’s about listening to them in equal measure. The best entrepreneurs tend to listen more than they speak, and that’s why when they do speak people tend to listen.
2. For Better or For Worse – Multitasking
There are lots of views on multitasking and whether you should be multitasking, with some studies saying that 40% productivity is lost every week. Some people believe that it’s better to concentrate on one task, whereas others believe it’s better to try to do multiple things at once. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, it’s useful to have this skill at your disposal.
Entrepreneurs have to be everything all at once, so usually this is something that’s thrust upon them. Until you grow into a large company, you will wear many hats.
Again, this is something you’re never going to learn at college because you are one thing and one thing only. In the beginning, it may be overwhelming to try to take on everything at once. You have to be able to take on so much at the same time. You have no choice in the matter, so you best get good at it fast.
The easiest way to train yourself to multitask is to start at home. Get your own life in order. Make sure that you’re able to pay your bills, keep your clothes clean, and eat right. Stop relying on any parental support and learn to stand on your own two feet. Life is all about multitasking!
3. Paying Attention to the Little Details
The details are what separates a successful company from a failing company. Managing details is absolutely crucial, and if you fail to do it you’re going to pay the price. People who are weak in business tend to ignore the little details because they believe their business idea is enough to carry the day.
This is a huge mistake because what they don’t realize is that it’s getting harder and harder to stand out as a startup. There are already lots of people who have the same idea as you, and the chances are they are doing it better. Missing out on the details can add up, and soon that can add up to huge problems.
The little details in business include emailing people with little notes of gratitude, measuring your daily financial report, and the thousand other tasks that come with operating your own business.
You need to embrace change and reinvent yourself. Too many would-be businesspeople are content to mope and get depressed about the fact that they don’t possess this skill or that skill. If you don’t have the expertise, swallow your pride and ask someone to help.
Hiring a consultant or a life coach may seem like a bad decision at this early stage in your life, but it’s actually the best time to do it. You may not have a lot of money or time, but investing in yourself is the best investment you can make because you know that you are the only person you can rely on 100% of the time.
Start learning about yourself now and start finding the areas that you’re weak in. If you can make yourself a better businessperson now, there’s no telling what you might go on to accomplish.
About the Author
I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify