Starting a business, particularly as a solo entrepreneur, can be a very challenging task because of the demands of entrepreneurship. To start and build a successful business, entrepreneurs need a variety of traits and abilities – but not everyone is naturally gifted with them. Some skills often have to be cultivated along the start-up process and many successful entrepreneurs learn more from their mistakes than from their victories.
One characteristic that entrepreneurs often have to develop, especially those new to the game, is a fundamental knowledge of business. Running a successful enterprise requires a working knowledge of many fundamental areas such as finance, marketing, production, administration and others. Unless you’re an experienced professional or executive, you’re unlikely to have all the knowledge you need to handle the day to day and big picture operations of your start-up. So how can you develop your knowledge?
Conferences, forums, industry gatherings and seminars are all valuable sources of information and are a great opportunity to network. Meeting other entrepreneurs and building your professional network is an essential part of entrepreneurship, but the knowledge you can gain from your network is equally as important.
If there are any areas where your knowledge needs to be developed or refreshed, look out for local events or online sessions that can give you real insight and lessons from experience. Some events, like London Tech Week, run over the course of a week or a few days – this is a great opportunity to book into a serviced apartment in London with a business partner and maximise your learning experience across a range of different disciplines.
Books and Journals
You can access books, journals and publications in various ways in today’s society. You might prefer a physical book, an e-reader or reading on a laptop – choose whichever method allows you to absorb the most information.
Biographies and business books are a good place to learn from the mistakes made by some of the most successful entrepreneurs of all time and to develop a better understanding of fundamental business functions. Meanwhile, regularly updated journals or publications will be a good source of information and analysis regarding recent trends and influences in the business world.
Podcasts and Talks
Podcasts have boomed in past decade and there are many covering a wide variety of topics, including business. Podcasts may be an easier way to absorb information when on the go, commuting or just at home, without having to read a book.
Similarly, talks and presentations can often be accessed online. TED talks are a good example and, again, are relatively easy to listen to when you have some spare time.
Learn on the Job
Perhaps the best way to develop your business knowledge is to learn on the job. Many people learn more effectively when getting hands-on with a project and this is also beneficial from a practical perspective, because you won’t just be trying to understand theory without real-world application.
Many of the most famous entrepreneurs have learnt from their mistakes and this experience has driven them to success. You may also have to do the same, but you can still get a head start with their knowledge and advice.