Understand finances and money
First and foremost, when embarking on your entrepreneurial journey, it’s essential you have both the business brain and knowledge to ensure you don’t fail. Making the most of your resources while in your workplace and understanding finances is vital. When you start your business, you’re the boss so you need to have the knowledge to take your brand forward. Understanding the importance of finances, how your business will make money and the essential aspects of a balance sheet will put you in good stead. Spend a bit of time picking the brains of the accounts team or the financial director.
If you feel your department is lacking in collaboration or team work, you could take a leading role and arrange weekly team meetings. This will give you experience in organising people, creating an agenda, sticking to schedule and it’ll be second nature when it comes to owning your own business. It'll also earn you kudos with your bosses and will allow you to develop your skills.
Technology is advancing on a daily basis and in business and the role it plays is second to none. Understanding how developers work and what makes them tick will be handy when you have your own business. This will enable you to know how to approach them, what tasks they’re like to complete quickly and what takes longer. The first thing you should be thinking about is creating a website so knowing how to create a good one and having a presence online is essential.
Communication eh, what would we do without it? Well if you struggle to talk to people then your business is likely to fail. As companies grow, sometimes internal communication disappears and there’s a lack of cohesion between departments. Depending on the size of your employer, you should always do your best to retain communication within the business. Having the skill to communicate with as many people as possible, and in a professional manner, will prepare you for life as a business owner. Communicate well and your business will reap the rewards.
Ah, good old customer service! There’s a plenty of quotes going about on the internet about your customers. “You are serving a customer, not a life sentence. Learn how to enjoy your work” and “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” are two that stand out for me! Assuming your job involves taking pride in your customer service, it’s essential you master this. If you struggle to deal with customers in a professional manner, your business will never take off. Unhappy customers lead to failure, it’s as simple as that. So get back to the drawing board while you have the opportunity to learn the basics.
Similar to meetings but a much bigger task, organising events could be a great way to build a network of fans and trusted clients. If you’re in an industry or a market where your company could benefit from events, there’s no harm in taking control of managing them whilst working for someone else. You could propose the possibility of an event to your boss - at least you’re showing initiative and enthusiasm.
Another important aspect of business is ensuring you can sell your product or brand. If no one buys into what you’re doing, is destined to join the list of unsuccessful start-ups. So while you’re in your workplace and making money for someone else, make sure you’re at the top of your game. When you take the plunge and start your own business, you’ll have the momentum and selling skills to hit the ground ready. Sounds great right?
In order for people to know about your business and product, you need to shout about it. How do you do that? You need to market your brand efficiently while ensuring you stay on budget and don’t get too ahead of yourself. Understanding how the marketing department works and the costs involved will be beneficial in the long run. In today's world, having an online presence is essential so understanding how much advertisements costs and how big businesses market their brand is a good place to start. Try and build contacts with designers, developers and PR’s so you don’t have to start from the very beginning. Take the head of marketing out for a drinks and ask for their tips.
Regardless of what tasks you’re tackling, always have a leadership mentality and think like an owner. If it was your business, how would you do it and why? How can you motivate the people around you to work harder and take pride in what they're doing? When problems arise, think outside the box and prove why you’re worthy of running a successful business. You should make your bosses job easier so improvising and making key decisions on your own earns extra brownie points. It’s a vital skill and one that will prove pivotal to your success.
Network, network, network! No matter who you’re talking to or what your role is in the business, network your idea. There’s nothing wrong with your personality standing out and people remembering your face. Having the confidence and ability to talk to people about any subject is a must-have skill in business and makes you stand out above your rivals.
While you’re working for someone else, don’t let your business idea and your entrepreneurship qualities go rusty. Make the most of opportunities that fall at your feet and if they don’t, then make your own luck!!