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03 September 2010

The Making of an Entrepreneur

I heard once from a speaker that there are 4 stages in life. The first is the EDUCATION stage wherein we prepare for life with formal education. It takes 20 years to finish school for a typical student. It said so because many finished their college degree more than 6 years. Next stage is the EMPLOYMENT stage. Here, we fight for the elusive corporate crown. We jump from company to company to enhance our skills and at the same time, earn a living. Normally, it takes 20 years to master a certain field.

The third stage is ENTREPRENEURIAL stage. At the age of 40, I observed most people are venturing to business to make more money to sustain their families and enjoy the rest of life. While, the last stage is ENDOWMENT stage. At 60, a fulfilled man desires to pass on the success and life principles he learned throughout the years to his children and grandchildren.

It is takes skills, courage and connections to put up a business. While I'm still in the employment stage, I'm gearing towards becoming an entrepreneur, just few years from now. Of course, I don't want to be caught unarmed in the business battle so I'm packing the guns I need.

Let me share you some of it.

1. Build Connections.
Connections may mean family, friends, customers, potential business partners, even building guards, cab drivers and fishball vendors. I'm grateful that I'm surrounded with friends who are corporate leaders. They contributed a lot to my professional growth. But, as an aspiring entrepreneur, I have learned that when we build connections to anyone, not just to those who can do favor for us, we build our worth in the society. After all, what money can do to us if we don't have a family? a friend? a coffee buddy? Who will rejoice with us in our success? When we build connections, we build life- ours and someone else'.

2. Love books.
Through books, we learn the history, great stories of success, how a man rose up from rags to riches and many more. As I am writing this blog, I have a book about negotiations beside me. We can't pretend we know everything. A famous author's advice to the aspiring business leaders is to constantly unlearn to be able to embrace new things. What could life be without books? As starter, books are great tools to orient us in the know-how of business world.

3. Invest in business tools.
I find time to search the net for free business tools and articles. I have found a complete presentation about having an entrepreneurial mindset. I invested for it's printing and bound it so it will be easy for me to study and flip its pages whenever I need it. We don't have to throw huge cash right away. We can start in small things then progress. Study your target market. Be familiar with the tools you need. If you need to enroll in a school to learn softwares, product making or how to set up an event company, do so. It's not shameful to admit we're beginners. All big players took starter's kit. The MVP in NBA started from constant ball practice.

4. Build an expertise.
Choose what field you want to get into. Ask people who are good at it. Attend seminars. Learn the techniques. If you have a product to sell, learn how to effectively market it. Study advertising principles. Pile articles that can help you become the resource person in a certain field. Study cases about your product or service. Again, almost everything is in the internet, even thumbtacks suppliers. I even downloaded selling techniques from YouTube. If you are able, take master's degree. Remember, your expertise is the solution to problems.

5. Give.
We increase our influence when we give. It's not the amount, as a famous saying says, but it's the thought that counts. Encourage others. Give tokens to your partners or friends. Offer free service or trial. We make people valuable when we give. The art of giving sometimes is a lost art in business. As an entrepreneur, we tend to think what we can gain. The truth is, it's what we can offer to build others' lives. People remember the giver. Much more, they acknowledge those who extended their help in time of need. That is worth more than millions.

While driving on the road to entrepreneurship, we might pass through intersections, pedestrian lanes, sharp curves and dead ends that could cease us momentarily or permanently. Essentially, we need to realize how important our products or services are to our society. We won't quit till we understand the significance of what we do for others.

So, keep exploring. Keep praying. See you on the magazine cover.

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