7 things to do to Become a Better Entrepreneur

If you find yourself with a little extra time these days, or perhaps you are quarantining due to Covid, check out these great self-improvement tasks for entrepreneurs. Whether you are looking for guidance on how to start a startup, or advice on how to take your startup to the next level, these tips will make you and your business grow. Use your downtime to invest in yourself!

My family and I have been adhering to the rules of Covid, which means we’ve enjoyed a lot of family time and we’ve had more time to reflect on our lives. In addition to being grateful for what we have, we are committed to improving ourselves and learning as we go. Like all entrepreneurs, I prefer to see the opportunity in adversary. So here are my recommended 7 things to do to make yourself a better entrepreneur.

  1. Customer Discovery.  Steve Blank’s customer discovery advocates that you “get out of the building” to engage with your customers. While face to face may be off the table right now, you should take the opportunity to reach out to leading customers and check in with their needs. Remember they may be working from home too. So having an impromptu, informal discussion of how you can do better may be timely, as there are less distractions.
  2. Return to First Principles. First principles thinking is the act of boiling a process down to the fundamental parts that you know are true and building up from there. You started your venture to serve an unmet market need.  But since starting you have been running full speed with little time for rest, let alone reflection. But now you may have more time. Sit down and look at your business, explore how and where you are on the entrepreneurial journey. Think about pivoting and adjustments.
  3. Start to Meditate.  Meditation has a positive impact on Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs need to be able to think quickly and process multiple pieces of information at the same time. Mindfulness meditation will help you increase your focus and ability to think with a sense of clarity leading to improved decision-making.  Think of meditation as exercise for the mind. You go to the gym, start light and work your way up. Similarly, try mindfulness meditation for just 10 minutes a day. Commit to it. Then after two weeks, see the improvement. You won’t give up the practice. Start with this Harvard article.
  4. (re)Read Books. Great entrepreneurs are lifelong learners and one of the best ways to learn is to read, or reread, a book. Here are a few of my recommendations: Venture Deals, Lean Startup, Zero to One, The Hard Things about Hard Things and How to Win Friends and Influence People.
  5. Learn something new. Reading is only one way to upgrade your knowledge base. Taking an online course is another.  Here are some of my favorite (free and paid) options: y combinator Startup School, Stanford’s eCorner100 Steps 2 StartupRyerson Startup School, and edX.
  6. Watch a Biography Online.  For years entrepreneurship has been seen as tacit knowledge and thus best taught through experience and example.  So learn from the lessons, lives and mistakes of other great founders. Here are some of my favorite (free and paid) options for online biographies:  BiographyYoutube and the Naked Entrepreneur.
  7. Learn to Code. Coding is the new second language (sorry Spanish) and soon no one in business will be able to escape the need to understand coding.   But don’t panic!  Today coding is taught through a variety of channels and experiences, many of which you can do while at home. Here are my favorite two:  codeSparkand Grasshopper

Every entrepreneur has a different reason for why they had originally wanted to start a business. But most entrepreneurs agree on one thing – starting and running your own business is great! One of the most important things you can do to become a better entrepreneur is Learn From Your Mistakes. It’s ok to fail, because failure leads to doing something better. Don’t be afraid to do something, fail and learn from that. That, along with the tips listed above, will no doubt help you become a better entrepreneur.

 

Good luck.

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About the Author

Dr. Sean Wise

Dr. Sean Wise is a best-selling author, venture capitalist and founder of more than half a dozen new ventures. He has spent two decades in the venture capital industry, specializing in supporting high growth ventures at the seed stage. Dr. Wise helped launch Dragons’ Den, the hit reality show, now in 27 countries, and known as Shark Tank in the USA. After 5 seasons with the show, he moved in front of the camera with his own show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, called The Naked Entrepreneur. He publishes extensively on entrepreneurship. His work has appeared on or in: CNN Financial, The New York Times, Profit Magazine, Fox News and the Globe and Mail. Dr. Wise has written 5 books, including 1 textbook, and published dozens of articles on entrepreneurship and venture capital.

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