Being an entrepreneur comes naturally to many, while others need to work at it. No matter which group you fall into, there’s a lot that can be gained from being proactive about refining your entrepreneurial skills. Here are five ways to improve your entrepreneurial know-how:
1. Learn from the pros
There are so many successful entrepreneurs that have buckets and buckets of advice they want to share with those following in their footsteps. Check out these two posts on Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com that are packed with advice from successful entrepreneurs.
Reading entrepreneur-focused publications can also help you learn from the pros. Create your own reading list with blogs, magazines, and books focused on entrepreneurism. And don't forget videos! TED has an entire section devoted to entrepreneurs.
2. Attend events and be a sponge
Conferences, tradeshows, webinars, and other events provide the perfect opportunity to learn how to be better at what you do. These can be industry events, topic-based conferences, or even local meetups. The key is to network -- a lot -- and be a sponge so you can absorb all of the knowledge and experience around you.
3. Go back to school
You can take this tactic literally and enroll in an undergrad or graduate program that provides entrepreneurial education, like one of these 50 schools for entrepreneurs. Formal education can be a great way to facilitate growth in your business, although it may not be the perfect choice for everyone. The good news is there are other options.
If undergrad or graduate programs aren't for you, look into taking individual classes -- either online or locally -- that focus on a specific skill. You can also seek out your local Small Business Development Center for seminars and classes on a variety of small business topics. And, of course, there are always self-paced online learning programs that you can use to improve your skills when you have the time. Examples include Essentials in Entrepreneurship on Coursera and How to Build a Startup on Udacity.
4. Find a mentor
A mentor provides an opportunity to pick the brain of someone who has already experienced some of the challenges you are facing and has a wealth of knowledge to share. It provides one-on-one entrepreneurial development. It may take some time to find mentor who has experience that is relevant to your journey, and has the availability to be a mentor, but it will be well worth the effort. To start your search, try looking on LinkedIn.
5. Work at being a better leader
Although entrepreneurs come from a variety of backgrounds with diverse skill sets and experience, there is one common thread among almost all entrepreneurs -- they are leaders. Entrepreneurs have a vision and rely heavily on leadership qualities to bring that vision to fruition. To start working on your leadership skills, read this post on Inc. that includes 20 ways to become a better leader.
Taking action to improve your entrepreneurial skills will help you become better at what you do every day. But you may also find that your creativity is sparked and that you have even more useful ideas for your business.