Entrepreneurial Skills & Your Career Strategy

Whether or not you are–or ever expect to be–an entrepreneur, you could find it extremely useful to adopt some key entrepreneurial skills into your long-range career strategy, especially since the days of companies looking after the career well-being of their employees are way long gone.

As some of you know, I do resume reviewing and resume writing / job search coaching for an executive web site called BlueSteps, whose parent organization is the Association of Executive Search Consultants. I’ve become a fan of their blog (for which I’ve written a couple of posts), and a post from April 20 by Clara Widdison of AESC recently caught my attention. It’s titled, “How to Include Your Entrepreneurial Skills in Your Executive Career Strategy.” The points in Widdison’s post could be considered especially critical for senior managers and executives, but in reality, they’re probably good advice for all job seekers these days.

6 Tips for Entrepreneurial Skills in Career Strategy

In brief, Widdison lists 6 points you should keep in mind as you develop, fine-tune and periodically update your career strategy:

  1. Financial knowledge is critical to driving successful business, and even if your job doesn’t involve financial control directly, having that knowledge can boost your standing in the organization and provide opportunities for growth.
  2. Businesses need a written plan that gets updated regularly. If it already has one, develop a personal plan that shows how you will drive the business forward.
  3. It’s important for entrepreneurs to tap into knowledge of experienced peers and mentors in areas where they’re not as strong, but it’s also important to do that when you’re not an entrepreneur–don’t let embarrassment hold you back from seeking advice.
  4. Don’t get complacent. Always seek new challenges. This not only helps your company but also makes you more indispensable as an employee.
  5. Research, research, research. Especially the region and industry you’re working in. Join trade or professional associations. Become a mentor to subordinates and trusted advisor to superiors.
  6. Never underestimate the power of personal marketing and networking. Do them early and often, in terms of both time and money.

Evaluate Your Entrepreneurial Skills and Career Strategy

Maybe you think you don’t have any entrepreneurial skills, so how can you fit them into your career strategy? I used to think I never wanted to have my own business because I certainly didn’t see myself as an entrepreneur. About 10 years after that, I started my own business, which I’ve now been operating for about 20 years. Never say never!

Did I have strong entrepreneurial skills when I started? Heck, no! In some ways, I still don’t. I’m not going to be the next Steve Jobs, for example. I’m also not going to be Ms. I-Can-Sell-Ice-to-Eskimos! That’s not my style or my business model. However, some of what I observed from executives and other business people when I still held a “real” job proved to be valuable when I launched my own business. You could find the same to be true in your own experience–except you would be planning your career strategy to build success as a direct employee, rather than starting and running a company.

Research that Turns Career Strategy into Action

Widdison’s point about research particularly resonated with me. The more I talked to people who were successful at what I wanted to do, the more I learned about what it took to succeed. The more I researched resources others recommended to me, plus those I found on my own, the better armed I felt to tackle the challenges involved. At some point, however, you have to stop researching and take action. Otherwise, you’re just stuffing your head with knowledge you’ll never use. Decide when enough-is-enough and get moving! That’s what entrepreneurs tend to do, and it can work for you as well.

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