Entrepreneurs do not succeed because they work hard, or they lucked out. While both of these factors are necessary for a business venture to thrive, there is another critical trait as an entrepreneur: the desire to continue learning.
Many of the visionaries celebrated today in the tech world are, notoriously, college dropouts. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Michael Dell did not have a university degree when they started their companies. Yet, they succeeded. Their companies grew from startups to million-dollar enterprises and changed the world.
However, they are the exception, not the rule. Entrepreneurs do not need to go to college to start a business, but it helps a lot. It will equip you with the skills that you will need to run a business and become an effective business leader. It can also open new opportunities and connect you to individuals who may help your business to succeed.
But, what is more important than a degree is a desire to continue learning.
Importance of Being Open to New Information
There is a good reason why entrepreneurs, especially young people, want to delay learning. They leave school or refuse to go to college because they do not want to be in debt, because they have a product that is currently in demand, or they are eager to begin their journey to business success.
However, that does not mean they stop learning. There is a necessity to continue building skills and knowledge, even as an adult.
A small business owner, for example, has a limited budget to hire staff. Therefore, they are expected to perform different roles. They have to oversee the entire operation as well as be a salesperson, customer representative, marketer, receptionist, and finance department. These are tasks that are important for any business to function.
As part of a corporation, there is a need to keep up with colleagues, especially younger hires. The market evolves frequently. Trends come and go. An entrepreneur is expected to be up to date with the changes in the industry. There might be a new technology that can improve productivity, and you will be forced to use it, too. You have to work with a new team or agency to improve sales. Even at this level, learning is required.
The most successful people are lifelong learners. Gates did not become an expert on computers exclusively. He now is a trusted personality in disease prevention and cure, for example. Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, is no longer just the Amazon guy. He has now transitioned to space launches with his new venture Blue Origin.
Entrepreneurs are incredibly busy. There is always an issue that needs to be addressed, or there is a stack of documents that need to be looked at.
Running a business can diminish a person’s natural curiosity
That is why, to become a lifelong learner, one must make time to sit down and study. Many Millionaires spend around 5 and a half hours a week reading for pleasure. In comparison, the average American reads for about 2 hours every week.
Developing a habit to read regularly is a step toward lifelong learning. Every book provides information that you may not have known before. Setting aside an hour every night to read a book can spark your natural curiosity.
The internet has also opened up more opportunities for people who want to learn about absolutely any topic under the sun. There are online courses from platforms such as Coursera and EdX about topics that may or may not be related to business. These platforms provide video lectures that you can access whenever you want.
Moreover, there are schools that operate strictly over the internet. Classes happen via video conferences, and you can take them from the comforts of your home or in your office. You can even get your master’s degree or Ph.D. online from reputable academic institutions.
One at a Time
However, do not try to learn everything at once. You do not have to be a walking Wikipedia, nor should you study multiple topics over the weekend. Lifelong learning takes years of reading, listening to experts, and following a mentor.
To make learning a habit, follow your interest. If, right now, you want to learn more about search engine optimization (SEO) to boost the online presence of your business, then focus on that right now. You do not have to master it, but you need to at least understand how it works and how to apply it to your business. You have an entire lifetime to learn, anyway.
Learning is essential for growth and progress, including for entrepreneurs. Being open to new experiences, gaining new skills, understanding new technologies and concepts, and absorbing new information will guarantee business survival and success.