Entrepreneurship may be a major in some business schools but there are many things you just can't learn in the classroom.
Here are eight skills you'll need to possess when becoming a business owner in the real world.
1. How to network properly.
"It's not what you know, it's who you know." Sad, maybe, but true nonetheless. Your business's success lies in the hands of the network you build. Without networking skills, you'll have no more than your family and small circle of friends to fall on when you need support--and believe me, you're going to need support, from calling in a favor, to spreading positive word of mouth, to getting a mentor, to dealing with customers and beyond. A strong professional network is a lifesaver every day of the week when you're an entrepreneur.
2. How to lead a team.
There is a difference between being a boss and being a leader. A boss is a figurehead, where a leader is an inspirational, motivational, and respectful guide. If you don't possess leadership skills it will be impossible for you to manage your team effectively, or build a team at all. People want to work for someone who betters them, who invests in their future, and whom they aspire to be like, not someone who simply sees his or her role as a prestigious title.
3. How to make the "right" decision when there's more than one.
It's not always clear what to do. Especially when presented with more than one good option. As an entrepreneur, it will be up to you to weigh the pros and cons and ultimately make the decision that's best for your business--even if it's not the most obvious. Keeping your end goal in mind and going with your gut requires willpower that isn't taught in a textbook.
4. How to make work enjoyable.
Loving what you do is a vital part of entrepreneurship. It's the only way you're going to have the perseverance to push through tough times, and overlook the less than glamorous perks (like the long hours). Remembering why you started and finding joy in what you do will serve as the motivation needed to succeed.
5. How to communicate with different types of people.
In a nine-to-five job, you can come to expect the individuals you'll face from day to day. As an entrepreneur, you are constantly jumping around. From pitches to banquets, the people around you every day could be polar opposites. This means you need to be able to alter your delivery based on your audience.
6. How to be resourceful.
Entrepreneurs need to be scrappy. Unless you have a rich uncle loosely funding your expenditure, it's unlikely things are going to come easy for you. From wearing more than one hat in the company to bootstrapping your way to stability, you need to have the critical thinking skills to get out of tough situations and also be humble enough to get your hands dirty.
7. How to hire.
Without good employees your company can never succeed. It's important to ask the right questions in interviews, know the difference between a great resume and great potential, and not be afraid to offer someone a test run rather than a fulltime position. If you follow the rulebook too closely you'll end up with a roster that looks great on paper but can't provide much benefit to your business.
8. How to deal with failure.
If you can't accept the setbacks of owning a business, you should get out before you get in. Business plans include reserve funds so that companies have the capital to keep doors open during the bumpy beginnings. When business is slow or sales are down, you need to focus on why it's happening rather than how that reflects on you.