Across the globe, elite schools are hurrying to establish entrepreneurship classes. Businessmen and academicians are writing business self-help books that are selling like hot cakes. What is all this leading to? It’s rekindling an age-old deliberation in the business world: Can entrepreneurship be taught?
I am an entrepreneur and one thing I can tell you is that I did not learn my trade in a day. It took me years to build what I have today. Through the course of my life, I have encountered several non-believers, faced harsh criticism all the more because I am a woman. But my resolve was steady, I approached life with the belief that I could achieve anything I wanted because dignity is not a gift, don’t ask for it. You are made of it!
Let’s study what skills make a good entrepreneur.
Some people are naturally intelligent and have high IQ scores, while others struggle in this area, with a lot of people in between of course. I am not saying you need to be genius, to be successful as an entrepreneur, as many geniuses are very book smart, but not street smart. But, intelligence certainly goes a long way. But, to be fair, people are not born intelligent, they are most-typically taught the information required to accumulate intelligence.
2. Vision matters
Anybody can be smart about the current status quo. But, very few people can actually think out-of-the-box to imagine new and innovative ways of solving problems. You typically cannot teach imagination. You are either imaginative or you are not.
3. Desire, Dynamism and Enthusiasm
Nothing helps move a startup along like a good fire in the belly. Especially, if that energy is focused on a product that an entrepreneur is passionate about. Passion is particularly important for exciting prospective employees, customers, partners, and investors. You either have passion and can instill excitement, or you do not.
4. Perseverance and Determination
Entrepreneurs need a “succeed despite the hurdles” mentality and drive. Most startups have a lot of challenging periods in their growth, and if you are not persistent enough to slog through the mud, you are never going to succeed or survive. You can’t teach persistence.
5. Courageous and Planned Risk Taker
As far as I know, you can’t teach someone not to be scared, or not to boldly go where others have not gone before. Yes, you can teach a person how to assess or minimize risks, but in my opinion, this category leans more on the side of wired. Advantage: Born.
6. Good Talker, Listener, Salesperson, Team Builder and Instigator
Entrepreneurs need to do a good job of communicating their vision, listening to input from others, selling through the vision to employees/partners/investors, building teams and motivating employees. For the most part, many of these skills are basic business skills which can be taught.
7. Domain Experience In The Industry
The most successful entrepreneurs have had some exposure to their industry, typically from a previous work experience, where they had on-the-job training that prepared them for their big venture.
The overall point here is: it really isn’t one or the other. You need both to maximize your odds for success and complete victory!