Last Updated: Jun 7, 2016
If you want to see yourself blowing your competition out of the water on Shark Tank, you need to have these important entrepreneurial skills and character traits!
Entrepreneurs are risk takers and innovative thinkers. They are constantly looking at everyday problems to try and find possible solutions. They can hit a roadblock—or fail completely—and get right back up again. Does that sound like you?
Starting your own business can be super rewarding, both personally and financially. It can also be super hard. But college can be a great time to get started, especially if you go to a school with special entrepreneurship majors or programs.
Do you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? A fun thing to do in your free time is to test yourself on how many different products (apps, technology, material goods, etc.) you can come up with in 10 minutes. The key here is to be able to use creative problem solving to fix an issue that plagues a certain demographic or group of people—teenagers, skiers, working parents, pet owners, whomever. What did you think of, and, more importantly, did you like the process?
If you rocked out a bunch of creative ideas, you’re off to a great start. However, it takes more than creativity to be a successful entrepreneur. You might’ve come up with all those ideas by yourself, but an important aspect of entrepreneurship is cooperation. This is vital in the business world, where strong, long-standing relationships can be incredibly valuable. And you’ll need your connections and teammates to help you get your business invested in, talked about, and used by a wider range of people than what you could accomplish on your own.
Speaking of cooperating with others, you may have a product or a solution to a problem in mind, but you’ll have a hard time getting it to your demographic if you can’t convince people to get on board with your idea. That means you need to have incredible communication skills, and you need to be personable, passionate, and approachable.
Credibility is also important when it comes to selling your ideas. If you follow through and do what you say you’ll do, people will trust you. And when people trust you, you’ll develop more and better relationships—including with investors who can financially support your entrepreneurial goals.
You probably are already familiar with another clutch skill entrepreneurs should have: the ability to use social media. It’s all part of marketing yourself and your ideas. We all love to hop online or check our phones for the latest Twitter trend or coolest Instagram picture. But these apps are huge platforms companies can use to reach a wider range of people. Using social media effectively isn’t the same as just jumping online and posting anything you want; each character must be thought out carefully, as to best attract your next costumer. But once you master this skill, you’ll have yet another tool in your entrepreneurial arsenal.
Becoming active in certain clubs in high school or college such as DECA, a national organization for students interested entrepreneurship, will expose you to fast-paced and fun business ideas and help you develop these skills and traits. As a member of an extracurricular like DECA, not only will you receive help from working professionals, but you will also get to work alongside peers who share your same dream.
So what does it take to make it? Is there any specific formula that a prospective entrepreneur needs to get to the top? Well, I have watched many a biography on some of the most successful business men and women of our day, and none start or finish the same. Some come from bleak beginnings and had to make their own way; others had help or stumbled upon opportunity. The best way to follow your dream is to work for it, pushing to make your idea known to the community and then to the nation. With important traits like credibility, determination, innovative thinking, and competitive risk-taking, you will become the entrepreneur your peers will one day see on TV.