It’s no wonder the career path of an entrepreneur draws so many people to try and make it their lives work. To have the ability to be your own boss, make your own team, and decide exactly how you’re going to change the world is liberating. What some young entrepreneurs lose track of, though, is that entrepreneurs still need to do something if they want to be successful. You can’t just be disruptive — you have to earn your place by disrupting an industry.
Entrepreneurs have to learn from the industry’s they enter.
Bearing this in mind, entrepreneurs have a lot to learn from industries themselves. Professional tricks of the trade are in every segment of business. Sectors from construction to logistics all have information that must become second-nature for the entrepreneur. If you’re an entrepreneur looking to study up on industry wisdom, here are four key takeaways to get you started:
1. Efficient Specialization
The number one cause of failure among budding entrepreneurs is the “do it all” syndrome. It can be very tempting to dip your toes into as many industries and sectors as possible in the hopes of conquering them all. Trying to conquer all is a strategy that will only leave you stretched too thin and helpless down the line. If you want to see measurable success — you’ll need to specialize.
For a professional analogue — look at lawyers and law firms. While there are large firms that can handle a number of different types of cases, the vast majority of successful operations hone in on certain types of law.
“Specializing in personal injury law allowed my firm to handle those types of cases better, more efficiently, and with higher success rates than we would’ve seen if we had tried to be generalists,” says Marc Anidjar, partner at Anidjar & Levine.
The same logic goes for entrepreneurs: if you want to be a jack of all trades, you’re going to spend your whole career playing catch-up with the specialists.
2. An Appreciation for Numbers
Entrepreneurs like to think of themselves as “ideas people,” and that’s often true — you can’t break through without having a breakthrough first. The less-discussed aspect of entrepreneurship is the nitty-gritty, day-to-day efforts and work of running a business. You must manage personnel, oversee your supply chains, and, most importantly, you have to become good at crunching the numbers.
The numerical principles of accounting can actually make your life easier as an entrepreneur.
Rachel Blakely-Gray, content manager at payroll services firm Patriot Software, explains: “If you have shareholders in your small business, you know how important it is to show rather than tell. Accounting does just that. Your shareholders hold you accountable for the success of your business. They can observe your business’s growth and success by looking at your accounting records.”
The right accounting practices can help you lock down your company’s numbers, making everything from investor pitches to taxes to payroll significantly easier down the line.
3. Project See-Through
In the early days of an entrepreneurial journey, anything can seem possible. Once you’re deep in the weeds, though, a path forward may become depressingly murky and unclear. The solution here isn’t to throw up your hands and resign from the get-go — the solution is to adopt a whole-project mindset that characterizes so many industries.
All entrepreneurs need to begin their journeys the same way that construction managers do: with a conception phase.
Take construction as an example. Construction managers are required to know exactly what features and refinements a building is going to need before the foundation has ever been laid in the first place. There has to be a plan and the plan has to be carried out in phases. The construction manager has to know the road-map and an entrepreneur needs to know and understand their road-map in any business.
The “idea” or conception phase of construction “is the starting point where the stakeholders for a project will conceive the idea for a construction project,” says project management expert Nicholas Morpus.
Just as happens in any industry for the entrepreneur — there is research. “For construction,” Morpus continues, “the research has to take the form of “locations for the build, establishing the first set of standards for completion, and establishing when the project must be completed.”
If that description sounds familiar, it’s because it’s exactly how all ventures should start as well — an examination of who’s involved, what the goal is, and how it’s going to be achieved.
Entrepreneurs are not a class unto themselves. The best entrepreneurs know that everything they could ever want to learn is nestled in the logic of the industries they hope to disrupt. Once you have that under — now it’s up to you to uncover it.
Image Credit: andrea piacqudio; pexels