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Becoming your own boss and an entrepreneur is the new coveted career choice of the 21st century. People are fed up with working jobs that leave them underpaid and unfulfilled.
Although some entrepreneurs say they were born to build a company, it’s never been easier for anyone to learn entrepreneur skills that can propel them into building a successful business.
Here is a list of 12 effective ways to build entrepreneurial skills that matter:
Take a different path
“Creativity is the root of entrepreneurship.” —Karndee Leopairote, Thammasat University.
Creativity is the ability to see things differently and to provide solutions where there are gaps. To build your creativity skills, intentionally try something new. Do something that others won’t do. Read unusual books. Watch a movie in a different language. Travel to an unexpected spot. Talk to people that are out of your circle of comfort.
“The Big Short” is a movie that depicts how several opportunist entrepreneurs and investors managed to profit from the 2008 financial crisis by going against popular opinion.
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Start a business
“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” — Richard Branson.
There is nothing like real-world experience. Whether you run a business on the side or full-time, you get the opportunity to grow your skills such as business planning, negotiation, sales and marketing.
I started my first business when I was 16 years old, and learned more through making mistakes than I could through reading any business book. My mobile car detailing business was successful only because I was able to learn and make changes quickly.
Stick with challenges
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” — Albert Einstein.
Every successful entrepreneur has learned to develop their perseverance and tenacity muscles. The life of an entrepreneur is never smooth sailing, and it takes guts to keep going when people doubt your abilities.
To build perseverance, create a goal or challenge that is meaningful and don’t give yourself the to quit. Alternatively, give yourself a deadline to aim towards. For example, if you want to create a better blog, make a commitment to write 1,000 words every day for a year.
Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, Solar City and SpaceX set himself a challenge to live on only $1 a day to see if he had what it took to lead life as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs have to get used to countless failures and almost zero rewards until they finally hit the jackpot. To train yourself to be able to delay gratification, start small. Say “no” to the extra donut. Keep your old car instead of going into debt to buy a new one. Wake up at 5 a.m. on the weekends to work on your business idea instead of staying in bed.
Manage your own finances
Understanding basic finance is essential in running your own company. You don’t have to be an accountant, but you should at least be able to understand the basics around cash flow, assets, and profit and loss.
Start by learning how to do your own taxes and manage your own budget and investments.
Volunteer to lead
The ability to lead a team and stay organized is important when you become an entrepreneur. You can start by looking for volunteer and leadership opportunities around you. Volunteer to lead a Meetup group, start a fundraising project for your favorite non-profit organization or get involved with your local community board. Alternatively, coach a local children’s sports team or just plan your mother’s birthday party.
By getting involved in bigger roles, even if unpaid, you get to practice your time management, organization, leadership and teamwork skills.
Practice communication skills
The best entrepreneurs have learned how to communicate their passion and dreams in an engaging way, both online and offline. To learn how to speak publicly, join a Toastmasters group, offer to speak at workplace parties, or even emcee at your friend’s wedding.
To improve your online communication skills, stay active on your social media accounts, blog, set up an online Facebook group or create a newsletter on your favorite hobby or topic.
The more often you put yourself out there, the faster your communication skills will grow.
Learn from a mentor
The value of a mentor is priceless when it comes to building your entrepreneurial skills. Rather than make all the mistakes yourself, why not learn from someone else who has already made them?
Mentors are not only great sounding boards for your ideas but they also can be fantastic cheerleaders when the going gets tough. If you are lucky, you may find a mentor wiling to train you for free because they believe in you and want to give back. Some mentors will be happy to teach you in exchange for you helping them out in their own business. Others offer a paid service.
If you are young enough or at the start of your career, try to apply for internships as those are great opportunities to wet your feet in the real business world.
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Samsung embroiled in ‘One China’ row after K-pop star pulls out
The world’s number one smartphone maker Samsung Electronics became the latest global brand to face criticism Wednesday for damaging China’s “territorial integrity”, with a Chinese K-pop star ending an endorsement contract.
The row broke out after Chinese viewers noticed that the South Korean tech giant offers different language versions of its website for users in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan — in English, simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese.
All three appear as choices in a list of ‘countries’.
Beijing is very sensitive about anything it perceives as portraying semi-autonomous Hong Kong and Macau or the self-ruled democratic island of Taiwan — which it views as a renegade province awaiting reunification — as separate countries.
Hong Kong has become a particularly thorny issue for Beijing in recent weeks with the financial hub plunged into months of pro-democracy protests.
Chinese K-pop star Zhang Yixing — popularly known as Lay, from the boyband Exo — on Tuesday cancelled his agreement with Samsung for it allegedly “hurting the national feelings of Chinese compatriots” by maintaining the separate websites.
The hashtag “#ZhangYixing Ditches Samsung#” went viral on China’s Twitter-like Weibo with his cancellation notice being viewed 840 million times in the 20 hours after it was posted.
“Its act of blurring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country has seriously hurt the national feelings of our compatriots, which we strongly condemn,” Zhang’s Chinese agency said in a statement on its official social media account on Weibo.
Zhang had been a Samsung Electronics brand ambassador in China since December. The firm declined to comment when contacted by AFP.
The move comes days after several luxury retailers apologised for labelling the semi-autonomous cities of Hong Kong and Macau and the self-ruled island of Taiwan as separate countries.
Austrian jewellery company Swarovski apologised Tuesday for “hurting the feelings” of Chinese people after calling Hong Kong a separate country on its website.
Luxury brands Versace, Coach, and Givenchy also all apologised this week for making perceived affronts to China’s national sovereignty with T-shirts listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.
The row also cost them the support of their Chinese brand ambassadors as the companies scrambled to minimise any potential damage in the lucrative mainland market.
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‘Develop viable gemstones, jewellery market’
Experts have urged the federal government to develop an environment conducive for marketing gemstones, and jewellery, to increase their contribution to the national gross domestic product, (GDP).
They also said this would mark a milestone in the quest to build a vibrant mining sector with a wide variety of gemstones and precious metal for making ornaments for local and international markets.
According to experts at Stakeholders Consultative workshop on gemstones and Jewelry industry in Nigeria, the industry presents tremendous opportunities for investment and value addition and can employ people at different levels along the value chain, such as miners, goldsmiths, dealers etc.
Prof. Theo Smeets of the University of Trier, Germany, said the government has a lot to do to boost both local and international markets for precious metal, especially with the growing population of women.
He also noted that legal frameworks will equally galvanise the industry, and instead of exporting raw materials, citizens will be able to process them in-country and get more products in the local market.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu, disclosed that the industry could generate a total of $350 million worth of foreign exchange on an annual basis.
He also said Nigeria was so endowed with precious metal, “the key policy question we have asked ourselves is: ‘why has Nigeria not been internationally-recognised as an important gemstone destination?’”
According to him, Sri Lanka has a long history of gemstones, but it was its government’s commitment to reforms that began over three decades ago that has given her a globally-competitive edge.
“There is a huge international market potential for Nigeria’s gemstones, but it is losing vast business opportunities, value and revenue to illegal activities and smuggled to Germany, China, Brazil, U.S., etc.”
Contributing, Project Coordinator of MINDIVER, Utsu Linus Adie, said they are trying to reverse unfavourable market trend for gemstones, and create a robust jewellery market and promote export.
He equally said the government intends to develop a skilled workforce by creating community jewellery market in all the states of the federation within a five- year period.
“Our target is to emulate is India, who are today the global leaders in gems and jewellery, contributing 29 per cent to world jewellery consumption. We only generate $2 million worth of it.”
Reviewing gemstone resources, Niron Ajibade, maintained that there are many products, and when adequately harnessed will grow the nation’s economy; create jobs and wealth.
Ajibade therefore called on the government to build a sustainable jewellery industry by organising training programmes; create linkages, quality and assurance markets as well as finance the gemstone sector.