The Essential Habit Entrepreneurs Need to be Prepared for Future Trends
This post will speak the loudest to those who identify as:
Entrepreneurship has always been the backbone of America’s national and local economies.
As many of you may recognize, directional change has accelerated as the internet entered its 2.0, and now 3.0 phases.
We no longer measure new trends and their speed of adoption in decades—rather, we speak of years, or in some instances, months!
Review the following summary to learn more: https://www.smartinsights.com/marketing-planning/marketing-models/diffusion-innovation-model/
If you are an entrepreneur, one of the five most important soft skills you must focus on is adaptability.
Those who resist, deny, or procrastinate on preparing for future waves of change in the business world will struggle as broad and deep trends continue to disrupt our businesses.
Additionally, for those who fully embrace the heart and soul of truly defined education, you will come to realize that a lifelong learning culture in your organization will go a long way towards your “adaptability quotient” being high enough to ride the waves and manage the flood tides.
5 Trends to Watch
Speaking as someone who is part futurist and part early adopter, I’ve been tracking trends in my educational consulting and advisory business for a long while. People deserve to be aware of what could be years away, let alone what might be right over the horizon.
The five trends I have listed below promise to shake up huge chunks of today’s economies – and many jobs people rely on to support their families. But this list of five examples is far from all-inclusive. I’m not able to unpack these five, however, I encourage you to dive in to learn more – becoming self-educated. The ripples they are causing, or will cause, in the economic “pool” are profound!
How can a self-educating culture positively impact your business?
The speeds at which the listed trends are accelerating will soon overwhelm any business that only knows how to capitalize on or defend against change by onboarding individuals who have conventional degrees/certifications.
Even the best institutions of primary/secondary (“K-12”) and “hire” * education will often struggle to keep pace. Our K-12 track in America began to assume its present form in the 1850’s, accelerating after the Civil War.
Our undergraduate institutions, with the possible exception of the Great Books and some liberal arts centric colleges, grew into their present form after the GI Bill in the mid 1940’s, nearly 80 years ago.
The super structures at the core of conventional education (‘schooling’) are often wound tightly in processes dictated by 3rd parties such as accreditation bodies and governmental agencies and their own internal hierarchy which disempowers many, leaving final decision-making in the hands of the few.
Three Proactive Steps to Drive Adaptability
This applies to the above trends and numerous others that are very likely to creatively disrupt many industries (e.g., banking, insurance, real estate, and health care).
Freelancers, part-timers, and people with skills your business needs only periodically, or maybe only once, will keep your organization nimble and responsive to developing trends. You would be wise to use the term “staff” to reflect more appropriately the clear trends in our economy.
I recommend investing time to study this report published by Intuit, as a start.
Every business should make its own proprietary decision on what type of hires it will make.
However, please make no mistake: The 2020s and beyond won’t be driven by W-2 employment nearly to the degree we have experienced over the past 70+ years.
Thank you for reading. It’s an honor to serve you by sharing my specialized passions.
If I can be of assistance to you individually, please reach out via my bio. I would be excited to explore how we may be able to help each other.
Leveraging an Education-Centric Organization
Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you’re probably the founder of a startup, an established business owner, or a hobbyist who wants a cash flow positive entrepreneurial venture.
On the surface: You’ve likely heard so many different pieces of advice—from consultants, trainers, business coaches, or motivational speakers—that you might be overwhelmed & attempting to decide which approach best applies to you at this time. Or maybe you haven’t quite made it to where you want to be, even though you’ve already started to implement a strategy.
Then, how will this topic be of value all things considered?
Only you can decide. Discernment is a key soft skill, and my hope is that your business benefits in a big way! Let’s unpack how Culture, Vision, Strategy, and Tactics (CVST) fit into your business.
Your company culture should be clearly defined and cultivated regularly. How much you focus on this input can make all the difference between being significant and successful versus running out of capital and struggling to retain your staff.
Can you see well past the horizon and pinpoint possible challenges that may appear in your entrepreneurial path?
Instant gratification is the venom; vision is its antidote, & also a catalyst, to your business’ ultimate success in the marketplace. [Tweet this]
Maybe you’ve heard this, or a derivation of it, before today: “Goals in concrete; plans in sand.” Do you have a strategy, with its spine made up of short-, mid-, and long-term goals? Congratulations! You are in a great position to be significant.
Your goals are the river; the plans are the tactical details, the streams, which steer your business in the best possible direction. Plans can & definitely will shift, as they aren’t anchored to terra firma and the business landscape changes by the minute.
So how does education, properly defined, play into CVST?
Be the example! If you are in the independent workforce, you absolutely should be pursuing ongoing, life-long learning. There’s simply no excuse not to.
Second – Encourage your staff, current & future, to also self educate by taking steps to grow your business’ professional development budget. If you don’t have one yet, definitely create a line item as soon as possible.
Judge your staff not on their resumé credentials alone; offer them opportunities to get ahead, perhaps by filling open positions in your business after you’ve heard their stories of what they’ve learned through self-directed means (webinars, podcasts, books, etc.).
Look at education through an extended lens. The Japanese have for many decades been far better than their American counterparts at this; yet, there’s no reason why you, a tech startup founder, a growing business, or a solopreneur, can’t follow their lead.
Don’t expect that your investment in yourself and your staff will immediately fix deep-seated issues as they relate to customer service, turnover, satisfaction, engagement, or the ability to fill open positions.
However, do know this: You will see improvement so long as you stay the course, even through the ebb and flow of business.
Set goals! Many of America’s most influential thought leaders have spoken out about how important it is to write down goals, instill small group and peer-to-peer accountability, and use PDCA (planning, doing, checking, and adjusting).
Goals can be a backbone, the beating heart, of your business strategy.
Tie your staff’s performance to their self-directed educational attainments:
Tactics you can implement today:
Each goal needs a pathway to ensure achievement. Your plan, while definitely flexible, is the ticket to punch. Here are some suggestions to thoughtfully consider:
If I can further assist you, please feel welcome to contact me via my bio.
Thank you for reading!
4/10/2018 0 Comments
We have all heard this word from our earliest days as children; the drumbeat of how often it has arisen in conversation, in the written word, and even as a presumption, likely increased over time as we grew into adulthood.
Yet, have you ever defined success as a skill? What about as a soft skill?
Since education can be rightfully defined as the learning of information, paid forward to others, thereby having been re-learned along the way, we have now fused together what appears to be multiple different perspectives: Success, skill, education, and, lastly, how it affects you.
For a preview of this topic, please revisit an earlier blog post about soft skills development for entrepreneurs.
If you were to create a survey, or answer the questions on an existing one, how would you frame the questions below or provide an answers?
… Only financial / material in nature?
… A reflection of the quality of your professional (and personal) relationships?
… Tied to how many credentials you’ve displayed on your wall or resume?
… Shown in how well your business has survived or thrived since it was founded?
… Something else?
Certainly, we won’t be able to unpack the term too deeply in this post, as entire books, webinars, conferences, & curricula have been dedicated to attempting to do the above. Yet, we can & will finish tying success & soft skills together, and show how education is the glue that bonds them both.
Education, from its Latin roots, means ‘to draw out from within’ or to ‘lead forth,’ so to be educated is to bring to the forefront what you already have to offer the world. There is also a clear insinuation to not only share your own gift set & skills, but also to lead others organically:
Yes, leadership is for all; all who are truly educated and willing to serve.
Can success be thought of as a gift?
Fueled by undiscovered passion or purpose?
All of these?
Remember what a soft skill is? Now, let’s ponder another question: Can they be learned, even if they weren’t ever taught in your schooling years?
The growth mindset (please study Carol Dweck’s work for far more) teaches us that a skill should always be able to be polished, whether it is already a strength, or perhaps an area of improvement that can grow stronger over time.
Can success be learned as you engage in a self-directed education? Sure! Consider those potential definitions once again: Are any, some, or all of them able to be learned?
Passion + unbridled enthusiasm = leads to success!
Is success going to automatically result? Not necessarily, even when we’ve come to the above conclusion.
Certain thought leaders have left as their legacy an equation either exactly like the below, or one that is somewhat similar:
(Hard work x smart work) / an adult time frame = success
Further, when you unravel the various inputs of work & also of time, including the impact of perseverance and patience, we find that both inputs in the equation are ‘soft’ skill driven!
Since we’ve now established that soft skills and success can both be learned, and a mindset is not fixed, we as entrepreneurs, owners, and self-employed professionals should rejoice greatly. This revelation confirms that our abilities to turn an idea, a passion, an experience, or perhaps even a business failure into something far greater than its component ‘parts’ is always a possibility.
This aforementioned possibility hinges on being willing to invest in yourself. Many entrepreneurs learn how to establish their businesses by learning about income statements, positive cash flow, the differences between hiring and outsourcing, etc. However, some don’t continuously feed their minds.
Are you willing to do the above? If you are, you will always have one person cheering you on.
Best your way!
How to Create and Sustain Your Success
Entrepreneurship & education are inexorably intertwined; to nearly everyone, this statement would come across as opinion, rather than a fact of life. The true definition of education is where distinctions, divergence, and conversations will arise: Due to a century plus of ‘schooling’ in America, we’ve been left with at least a plurality, if not majority, that equates education with credentials only.
The best education to pursue, that ensures success, is tied to self-directed learning rather than seeking a degree, certification, or diploma.
We are in a new world of work: business, and the entrepreneurial spirit which drives it forward, moves quicker than ever before.
Keeping up with the trends, curves, waves, & everything in between necessitates a burning desire, to coin Napoleon Hill, to be a lifelong student.
What phases will the broadly successful entrepreneur enter, then emerge from, while serving clients & customers?
Phase 1: The ‘mental’ game (mindset)
Answer: Six inches worth trillion(s) of dollars
The question: What are the dimensions of your brain as measured between both ears, both physically & monetarily?
While this is definitely a truism, why don’t many business owners feed their minds?
Creating a lifelong learning environment, a culture, in an entrepreneurial venture is non-negotiable if you wish to sustain success, let alone become significant.
This becomes even more important if/when you hire staff; whether the person(s) are contractors, agents, temps, employees, or interns, being certain you, and they, are in the game mentally is a mark of a well-educated business owner. Please do not require a credential as a barrier of entry to neither hiring, nor promotions: This is not to say that paper-based credentials have no value in our present era, however, it does mean that you have decoupled education & paper, and understand that a candidate or an existing staffer can be equally valuable in your business.
Phase 2: Financial/fiscal & economic
Ownership & consumerism don’t mix; here’s another truism that many will embrace, whether you realize this at the onset of starting your business, during the year(s) you are entrepreneurial, or once you’ve exhausted your cash flow/working capital (let’s hope its not the last of the three!).
Put in a different context, encourage your staff to invest in their own minds, while concurrently doing the exact same thing as the founder/owner yourself.
This is a mark of organic leadership, versus being an average manager, or attempting to lead by title or position only. Some call this approach, “You, Inc.” while others cite Ben Franklin’s famous quote; whichever way you slice it, you have adopted this educational phase and are now all-in: Congratulations!
A dollar which purchases an ebook and the same dollar which partially pays for your lunch are definitely not the same. While very few would dispute this, the facts on the ground show otherwise: many businesses and the entrepreneurs who launched them often see a line item in their budget for professional development and sacrifice it in hard times, which is the exact opposite of what should be done.
Phase 3: Social & relational
Your business network is another form of capital: social capital, which is priceless currency in our present economic era (known as the Gig Economy/Conceptual Age).
Relationships always triumph transactions. (Tweet this)
Why? When you’re relational, you have embraced the endless value of serving your connections, whether they presently buy from you, may in the future, etc. You are exercising what Bob Burg calls the [Laws of] The Go-Giver, and several of the Laws of Lifetime Growth all at once!
There are several ‘chair’ legs that will sustain a business through its infancy, the ebbs, the flood tide (times of hopefully organized chaos!), & perhaps even through an IPO, a sale, or a hand-off from one generation to another.
One is clearly business networking.
Be certain, if you engage in this activity, to always (no excuses, please) follow up with those whom you meet, even if you don’t believe you can work together; it’s simply common courtesy.
A second is joining a referral-based group. These are ideal to generate momentum through the creation of relationships that earn you word-of-mouth business through your fellow members.
Summing up, please ensure that you have learned and exemplify the type of person you’d like to be your friend. Use soft skills to grow your level of awareness and consciousness in the marketplace: these are often not taught in any formal schooling, so pursue them with vigor by ensuring that phase one is maintained in your business at all times.
Education – ‘to draw out that which lies within.’
These three phases go a long way to put into action what education can & should be, versus how it may be commonly identified.
I wish you all the success & significance that you choose to earn through lifelong learning!
... how they impact entrepreneurship
The American experiment in representative government, borne out of liberty fires set in the 1770s, organically led to the flowering of the entrepreneurial heritage that we enjoy today. Did we have business owners in the pre-Colonial era? Yes! Yet, it necessitated throwing off the yoke of British imperialism to ensure that the embers of those fires didn’t burn out.
As America grew geographically, leaders on the frontier ensured that a system of education was available to citizens who migrated west. The framework was decentralized, and, as in the case of the Northwest Ordinance, was based on a solid foundation of not requiring institutional support (“The states were to encourage education, but the Northwest Ordinance did not require states to provide public education”).
Later in the 1830s, in the magnum opus, “Democracy in America,” De Tocqueville opined:
“Americans are taught from birth that they must overcome life’s woes and impediments on their own. Social authority makes them mistrustful and anxious, and they rely upon its power only when they cannot do without it. This first becomes apparent in the schools, where children play by their own rules and punish infractions they define themselves.”
Yet history’s long tail shows us that latter generations enabled an opposite approach: a centralized system of ‘schooling’, imported from several nations steeped in the values of aristocratic Europe. By the sunset of the 1910s, it became the de facto means of ‘educating’ Americans nationwide.
This approach facilitated the rise of the industrial age and the growth of mega corporations; whereas, those who were entrepreneurial spirited usually attended the best universities (before “hire” replaced “higher” in standard curriculum design) or were self educated outside of a classroom setting.
Due to the habits & mindset that this latter approach emphasized, it’s clear that many Americans aren’t well prepared to be entrepreneurial as they exit K-12, colleges, or graduate programs. What implications does this have for American entrepreneurship in the years ahead?
The current education approach is very expensive, creating too much debt.The ROI of this conventional approach will continue to be questioned from all corners; many times, local citizens express doubt by voting down levies and bond issues; send their children to other schools (private, faith-based, etc.) rather than the public ones; or perhaps, they bypass it entirely, and home educate.
Further, remedial coursework is often necessary once some students pass from one track to the next, seeking additional credentials. This costs the institution money, which is passed on in the form of higher tuition & fees, thereby raising the price of the whole. And, many are rightfully concerned that the college/university track may be a future bubble.
Lastly, if a graduate finds him/herself in debt, often, he/she doesn’t pursue a purpose-based path, which robs Americans of another possible future innovator, perhaps the founder of the next Uber, Tesla, etc.
This approach takes too long to complete: it’s time centric versus competency based.In the former approach, predominant until the 1870s, and overtaken ~40 years later, many citizens learned what was asked of them, known as competencies, not tied to ‘x’ number of years in a classroom. Rather, they finished their studies, and went off to run family businesses, plied a trade, or grew and sold their own food on a farm.
Compulsory schooling required a set number of years, a ‘conveyor belt’. Nowadays, America finds itself with a hybrid economy, a cross between a digital/internet age & the Conceptual Age/Gig Economy. Would we not have more entrepreneurs starting and sustaining new businesses if we again had an education system based on competency and not time?
Crucial business and/or life skills necessary to be successful in the 21st Century economy often aren’t taught.Please read this blog for a deeper dive; alongside those points, many entrepreneurs will share that they learned a lot of their skills and discovered their inner talents not while in the traditional tracks (inc. graduate programs in medicine, law, and management), but on their own or from a mentor/coach.
Our economy, buffeted daily by gale force winds of global change, would benefit greatly once we muster the courage, creativity, and humility to design a holistic approach that will:
Who’s ready to respond to the clarion call for bottom up, educational and entrepreneurial transformation?
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