Education is important for an entrepreneur. Going to college not only teaches you a wide variety of important skills, it can provide you with knowledge that can inspire you to create something amazing and help you foster networks that will help you when you become an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, it’s not going to teach you everything, nor should you expect it to. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, here are 5 important lessons that you will learn through experience not in a college classroom.
1. How to Manage Your Time
Your college life was all about being given a series of tasks and objectives with specific deadlines. You need to turn in this assignment or you fail. There is a grade point minimum, and you need to reach it if you want to pass. However, most schools don’t to teach you time management because what you’re assigned is rarely more than what you can realistically handle.
Being an entrepreneur is a different story. It’s not your customers issue if you are swamped —after that’s usually a good thing. There will be days when it’ll seem like there’s too much to do and not enough time. Managing your time may come down to which “losses” you can tolerate best and which victories are most important to the start-up’s future success.
2. How to Deal with Decision Fatigue
The best part about being an entrepreneur is you get to make the decisions. Nothing happens without your approval. The buck stops with you and you’re in charge of your business. It seems like a good deal, until it becomes a bit overwhelming. You make so many decisions that you end up with decision fatigue. Eventually even simple things like choosing what to wear that day or what to eat for breakfast can become stressful.
Business schools can teach you how to make smart and well-informed decisions, but no college will teach you how to handle being inundated with hundreds of decisions. You’ll need to figure out what works for you. If you’re having trouble prioritizing, try delegating to members of your team or outsourcing administrative tasks. You may also find it helpful to spend a few minutes each day relaxing or meditating with no decisions on the burner.
3. Managing Your Cash Flow
Like many things, managing your cash-flow seems easy in theory, but a lot more difficult in practice. While it’s basically keeping an eye on where the money comes from and goes. In practice, it’s an arduous task that requires you to constantly monitor your bank statements as well as your invoices and bills. A single mistake can lead to a company spending more than they actually have, leading to debt that could close the doors for good.
Look for ways to manage your invoices more efficiently like invoice factoring. When you sell your invoices to a factoring company, you get an immediate advance on your accounts receivable, which often can fill gaps in your cash flow. And, when you work with a factoring company they now collect payment from your customers for the invoices you factor alleviating one more administrative task.
Entrepreneurship is far from a popularity contest. Investors aren’t going to give you money because they like you — they’re going to invest because your start-up and idea both have potential. However, it would be foolish to ignore the many benefits being likable has. Partners, employees, and investors, are all likelier to join someone charming. Think of it as icing on the cake; you’ll probably still enjoy the cake, but the icing is what can make the cake more appealing.
Being a good business partner also involves being approachable and worthy of respect, as well as open to new ideas. Running a successful start-up involves making connections with both the people you work with as well as your customers. You’ll be investing a lot of your time getting to know potential investors, business partners and your customers.
5. Know Your Customer
One of your jobs as an entrepreneur is to understand your customer’s behavior. One of the first things to recognize about consumer behavior is that it is ever changing. This requires that you are able to adapt how you market your products and services based upon the needs of your consumers.
You will want to pay close attention to the ways in which your customers are finding your products and services and use that information to make investments in marketing and advertising plans. Watch for the trends in various social media and be poised to take advantage of them.
Formal education is important, but is by no means the sole barometer for an entrepreneur’s success. There’s nothing that can or will replace what experience can teach you. The best way to learn how to be a successful entrepreneur is to become one. There’s nothing like failure to make life lessons memorable.
Rand Fishkin, founder and former CEO of Moz, revels how traditional Silicon Valley “wisdom leads far too many startups astray with transparency and humor that his hundreds of thousands of blog readers have come to love. Check out his latest book, “Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World.”
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Whether your business is thriving and you can’t keep up, or you are waiting on clients to pay, Universal Funding can help your growing company. Call us at 800.405.6035 or complete our rate form today to learn more about invoice factoring and how it can improve your company’s cash flow.
About Universal Funding
Universal Funding is a private funding source that has funded thousands of businesses and more than $2 billion since 1998. We turn your accounts receivable into the funding you need through invoice factoring and can have capital in your hands in a matter of days.