4 ways for young entrepreneurs to focus on learning, not selling

learning not selling

It can be a challenge to satisfy the appetite of a hungry entrepreneur. This is especially true when you consider young entrepreneurs, often so eager to leave the traditional nine-to-five work life and wanting to build the next Facebook or become the next Gary Vaynerchuk, that they often focus on selling rather than listening or learning.

But what happens often is that these young entrepreneurs put everything on the line in order to sell a product or service, without actually taking into consideration various elements that can help make the transition from 9-5 to entrepreneurial stardom more effective – and more likely.

So with the start of the New Year, it helps to break down a few main ways for young entrepreneurs to focus a bit more on learning and a little less on selling. In addition to staying humble and never giving up, here are some nuggets of advice that might help turn your ambitions into reality.

  1. Learning from past mistakes

Having just waved goodbye to 2016, reviewing the mistakes from the past year can provide important information regarding the way you operate and manage your business. From the way in which you reached out to your customers, to the way you tried to move them along the sales funnel, each point along this journey can reveal critical behavioral insights relating to your customer base.

Spending the time to review this information can be incredibly valuable in the long term, especially when rethinking market strategy. The same applies for learning from competitors or similar players, as you can use such findings to make sure you stay ahead of the curve.

As Neil Napier wisely wrote, “when preparing for the entrepreneurial journey, many set out on a quest of a perfect path. It is usually about having a short and successful cycle full of right decisions to their desired goals.”

  1. Learning about new tools and industry insights

Before diving into selling mode, young entrepreneurs should consider allocating a certain amount of time to learning new tools, software, and industry insights that can be utilized to leverage your business and product offering.

According to entrepreneur and consulting business expert Sam Ovens, a self-made millionaire by the age of 26, this period of self-evaluation and knowledge building plays a major role in the way you approach new business opportunities.

“I took everything I knew about starting a consulting business and turned it into an online course. I started selling the course. The course grew bigger than my main consulting business,” he said in an interview.

“Thanks to the huge availability of information these days, any entrepreneur can teach him or herself just about anything… I read hundreds of books and taught myself all about marketing, sales, accounting, strategy – even personal development methods. I knew that I needed to understand all of this if I wanted my business to work,” he said in another recent interview.

By reading about your specific industry, learning from current trends and researching what other leading business figures are doing/not doing, you can better prepare yourself to handle challenges that come your way.

  1. Learning to set goals and priorities

Without setting benchmarks and goals, you won’t be able to adequately measure your business’s progress. Therefore, dedicating time to setting specific targets and priority areas is a learning process that should be based on realities on the ground.

One of the ways to get in the right mindset is to “prime you brain”.  According to Katrina Razavi, writing down your goals will help your RAS system focus on them.

By exploring what’s happening in the market in your specific business niche, you can observe industry benchmarks and evaluate yourself based on where you stand. From here, you are better suited to go ahead and progress with your sales agenda.

  1. Learn a new skill that can directly impact your business

Always keep learning. This motto is highly relevant for young entrepreneurs, as there is always room to acquire a new skill-set that can directly benefit your business. For instance, if you are a purely business junkie, it may help to learn a bit about computer programming or graphic design.

For performance marketers and sales experts, learning more about your customers, their wants and desires based on past behavior, can have a direct impact on how your business lures in leads. Neil Patel wrote about the importance of learning from past campaigns that were highly creative and successful.

Thankfully, with the emergence of many online books, webinars, and virtual courses, acquiring new skill-sets has become quite seamingless.

In this day and age, we are witnessing the emergence of more and more young and innovative entrepreneurs. With the advent of new technologies and online portals for learning and acquiring new skill-sets, these entrepreneurs can and should take advantage of such opportunities to better prepare them for starting and running a successful business.

By learning from past mistakes, competitors and from the industry itself, as well as by acquiring new skills and setting goals based on industry benchmarks, young entrepreneurs will not only contribute to their own personal development as self-entrepreneurs, but will also more effectively be able to handle barriers that will undoubtedly challenge their ventures.

This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.

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