Must Have’s For an Entrepreneur 2: Interest In and Ability to Learn Other Things

By other things is meant subjects other than what one has learned in schools or colleges or what has been prescribed.
We are always learning. Right from our first to the last breath. Only a part of our learning is formal. Most of our learning is informal – taught by parents, siblings, friends, learned by self-studies, accidental or unintentional learning through chance meetings, unintentional reading and so on and on. All this learning enriches our life. Much of it is also used directly or indirectly to earn our living.
When it comes to learning, people vary widely in their ability to learn as well as heir preferred ways of learning. Some people are extremely focussed. They like to take up a subject and study it to its maximum depth. Such people are scholars and researchers. Their lives are dedicated to deeper and deeper studies in their chosen fields. Scientists are the best example of this type of learning.
The other type of people is not given to very deep studies. They are curious. They want to know how things work, how the world looks from another angle, how the other person must be feeling or what other things combine their knowledge to make it complete. They prefer to have a general idea of things and move on.
An entrepreneur needs to combine both types of learner in him. He has to have a deep knowledge of his domain. He must be a master there. Nothing less. Without this mastery, he stands no chance to survive in today’s highly competitive market.
But along with this domain knowledge, an entrepreneur needs to have knowledge in several other areas. This is required for managing and expanding his business. He has to have the ability to learn them and then he must be willing to learn them regardless of whether he likes them or not.
So, if you want to be an entrepreneur, brace yourself up to study accountancy. This is necessary to maintain proper financial records of your business. More important than that, you need this knowledge for compliance with legal and tax requirements. Although you will be engaging a chartered accountant, you ought to have a fair idea. And even more important than this is, you need this knowledge for exercising effective control over your business. You will also need this knowledge while talking to your banker for loan facilities.
Then there are certain laws – known as commercial laws – that you need to be familiar with because the govern many of your actions. The Contract Act, Partnership Act (if you are a partnership firm), Sale of Goods Act, Negotiable Instruments Act (specifically provisions pertaining to dishonour of cheques), Companies Act (if you are a private limited company) are some of them. Then you also need to know, a bit thoroughly, the Consumer Protection Act.
Then depending on your line of business there are state and central laws that you need to be aware of the provisions of. Consult your lawyer for this.
It is not expected that your knowledge of these laws should be expert level. You must be aware of their provisions. Remember, ignorance of law is not a good defence, not a good excuse.
You will also need to have a thorough understanding of the banking facilities that you can avail and your obligations when availing these facilities.
Since you will also be ‘managing’ your business, you will have to study management science. The good news is that it is much more readable (than law) and your business can actually benefit from application of those principles.
Whatever your designation or title on your visiting cards, you will also work as the Chief Marketing Officer of your company. Reading up on marketing will equip you well for this role.
Hopefully you are adept at using computers for your work. Otherwise add this to your list.
A website is a very important and potent tool in the hand of an entrepreneur for marketing purposes. A thorough understanding of what it can do and thinking about how it can be harnessed is necessary. And while you are at it, also learn how the social media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others should be incorporated in the website. That’s currently the latest!
In short, the learning curve for an entrepreneur is rather steep. But what makes the toil easier is the knowledge that each and every word read here, and each and every concept understood goes directly to the benefit of the business.

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