As entrepreneurs, we spend substantial amounts of our time investing in our ideas, projects, and businesses – but in doing so, we often forget to invest back in ourselves as entrepreneurs. Yes, almost anyone can learn to manage the physical aspects of a business – but not everyone can learn to develop million dollar ideas – or believe in themselves enough to take those ideas to fruition. Your natural born tendencies and propensities are tools that can’t be taught – but they can be refined. As you continue onward with your venture, take the time to invest in yourself – these three ways are a great way to start.
In truth, it doesn’t often matter whether you have a Harvard M.B.A. or a simple high school diploma before venturing out on your own; your success as an entrepreneur – initially, anyway – is often most determined by the quality of your idea and ability to draw others in. That said, to take that initial success and to build on it, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of business, new technologies, and practices in line with your business’ industry. Take the time and small investment to stay ahead of the curve and become a true player in your industry. This doesn’t necessarily mean going back for a full degree or advanced degree program – it can be as simple as actively participating in an industry conference or seminar or even taking a course through the community college. Investigate the opportunities available to you and take advantage of them.
Regardless of what business you are starting, you need to be able to communicate that business and sell it to clients and investors; this means solid communications skills. No, not everyone will be able to write a killer press release or develop a press strategy – however, you can practice the way that you present and sell. Consider taking a verbal communications course or join up with your local Toastmasters chapter. When it comes to communicating clearly and confidently, practice is one of the best tools under your belt – invest in your communications skills.
Yes, networking is certainly a part of building any business and, whether you’re a new or experienced entrepreneur, it is bound to be a part of your weekly activities. That said, networking for your business and networking as an investment in yourself are not necessarily symbiotic entities. For your business, you are likely networking with potential clients or suppliers specific to that product line. However, networking for yourself means networking to build more than just contacts beneficial to your current business; it means building contacts who become close to you as friends beyond the business sense. Yes, professional contacts are important – but so are personal contacts. And those personal contacts may come back around later on with different opportunities. As you continue with your entrepreneurial efforts, don’t forget to invest in yourself as a person. Try a Meetup or join a local ministry or sports team. Take some you time among the hustle and bustle – you’ll be a much happier and successful person as a result.