Can Entrepreneurship be Taught?

Entrepreneurship is building new businesses from scratch, especially in a market that established competitors do not already saturate. It can take many forms – starting up a small business, developing an idea into a product or service, investing your savings into a new venture, finding employment opportunities with new companies, etc. According to pain management specialist Dr. Jordan Sudberg, some aspects of entrepreneurship can be taught while others are inborn.

The following are aspects of entrepreneurship that can be taught:

• Problem-solving skills: being able to think creatively about problems faced in life; having mental agility as you analyze situations; problem-solving skills are also useful when thinking about a business’s future needs and how best to respond to them.

• Decision making: learning what decision making means and methods for effective decision making; understanding the difference between positive and negative decision making; knowing what motivates people to make their decisions; assessing risk through the use of tools such as probability tables and formulas; weighing different alternatives before choosing one over another; evaluating outcomes; managing emotions; dealing with ambiguity; handling conflicting information; recognizing and managing conflicts; applying critical analysis to help solve complex issues.

• Time Management: prioritizing your time effectively so that you can focus on the most important aspects of a situation; organizing your schedule according to priorities; devising workable plans; identifying time pressures; delegating tasks efficiently; balancing long term goals with short term objectives; being accountable for your actions; planning; remaining flexible within your timetable.

• Communication Skills: communicating clearly with yourself, other people and groups; presenting ideas to others; listening carefully without interrupting; expressing opinions clearly; using various communication techniques such as open body language, eye contact, tone of voice, active listening, asking questions, paraphrasing back, summarizing, giving constructive feedback, giving compliments, and more.

• Creativity & Innovation: brainstorming; coming up with creative solutions to a problem; generating ideas; creating products or services where there were previously none; implementing innovative practices within a company; testing out ideas and concepts; taking risks; experimenting; adapting existing ideas to meet new requirements; working independently; collaborating with diverse colleagues; breaking conventions; maintaining standards; keeping pace with technological change.

• Marketing: marketing knowledge includes understanding the basics of marketing principles as well as specialized marketing topics (such as advertising, brand positioning, public relations, sales promotion, direct mail, trade shows, customer loyalty programs, pricing strategies, customer research, corporate image, web site design, etc.).

Some aspects of entrepreneurship cannot be taught:

• Empathy: having feelings for other people; being willing to put someone else’s interests before your own; knowing what is it like to do something for somebody else, rather than doing it just because you want to; appreciating the fact that everyone has some struggles in their lives which they would love to share with you if only they could talk about them in a way you understand.

• Humility: not believing that you are special; admitting mistakes readily; realizing that your success should come from the effort and contributions of those around you; showing gratitude to people who have helped you along the way.

• Social skills: getting along well with others; building trust and relationships; being considerate; respecting individual differences; accepting differences in opinion; valuing teamwork; acknowledging when you have been wrong or made an error.

According to pain management specialist Dr. Jordan Sudberg there is no textbook on entrepreneurship. However, the above list of entrepreneurial competencies provides a good starting point for anyone interested in becoming an entrepreneur. It is important to note that all these competencies need to be learnt since it takes practice and experience to develop each one.