Shh learning on the job is ok...
November 13th, Matthew Tukaki
You’ve had a great idea and now you’re sitting there thinking “what the heck do I do now?” but don’t get too worried because you’re not unique! In fact more of us worry about the how to take the next step more so than worrying about the money side of things (at least initially) so it’s no surprise that leading cloud accounting firm MYOB has found that 38% of more than 400 SME’s surveyed said that everything in the beginning was very much trial and error.
According to MYOB CTO Simon Raik-Allen said “Start-ups are basically learning on the job, and tapping professionals around them for advice. When you combine this with our last SME Snapshot finding that showed that some 78 per cent of SMEs think that you don’t need a degree to run a business, we can see a real opportunity emerging to provide practical training for entrepreneurial types,”
Of course, he is right which reinforces the old entrepreneurial truism that even Tesla founder Elon Musk knows well when he once said that “Patience is a virtue, and I'm learning patience. It's a tough lesson.” Of course he was referring to the pain involved in getting through phase one of one of his start-ups but also letting people know that, like the MYOB survey shows, lessons are learnt on the job.
One lesson that is often overlooked is the art of surrounding yourself with the right people who can help you on your way. This is fundamentally important because during phase one you may either think you know it all or that learning on the job is a very individual thing. So, I’ve put together three things that all start-up, entrepreneurs can do to make the journey through phase one even easier:
The right people with the right skills: sit down and do a skills test on yourself by asking honestly “what skills don’t I have” for example; you might be very good at product development and think you are good at finance and cash-flow management or you might be great at sales and marketing but less so when it comes to administration and paperwork. In the case of Apple the business ultimately became a success when Steve Jobs realised he didn’t know it all. Sure, he was great at generating ideas but when it came to capital raising he wasn’t. Steve Wozniak was great at putting the product together but didn’t really have a calling for sales and marketing. Recognising this Steve partnered with Mike Markkula who did know how to raise capital and structure the business. In the end there was perfect relationship between the three because their skill sets were complimentary. So, once you have completed your skills test sit down and write a list of those people in your network that could potentially help you fill the gap.
Engage a mentor: mentoring during phase one is very important because not only can they advise you on the business there is also the potential to harness their experience to avoid hard taught lessons if it was just you. Mentors are a great way of also opening the door to new skills sets of people in their networks that can help to build the business
Research and planning: refining your product or service during phase one is important because it is the perfect opportunity to experiment with what works and what doesn’t. On the planning side its fundamental to ensure you know when each step of your business plan is ready to be implemented and by constantly researching and experimenting you’ll be able to refine implementation around the right time – because as we all know its all about timing
So, in short, you don’t need to know everything provided you learn on the job or surround yourself with the people who have the skills you don’t have. Now, do you need a university degree to run a business? Again according to MYOB the answer is no: “Start-ups are basically learning on the job, and tapping professionals around them for advice. When you combine this with our last SME Snapshot finding that showed that some 78 per cent of SMEs think that you don’t need a degree to run a business, we can see a real opportunity emerging to provide practical training for entrepreneurial types,” Mr. Raik-Allen said.
Don’t also forget what Richard Branson once said: “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes then learn how to do it later.”
Author: Matthew Tukaki, Co-Founder of the EntreHub
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