Can You Learn To Be An Entrepreneur?

By Reid Kanaley The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Entrepreneurship is the risky business of starting and running businesses. Some people are naturals, but can you learn to be an entrepreneur? Yes, say some of the experts. Here's how.

Thinking like an entrepreneur may not come naturally, but this brief guide to cultivating an entrepreneurial mind-set, at Entrepreneur.com, will point you in the right direction.

First among writer Murray Newlands' directives is to "anticipate failure." That might sound counterproductive. However, says Newlands, "in a study conducted by Duke University and the University of Southern California, 549 successful company founders said the most important reason for their success was their ability to learn from mistakes.

Learning from failure is how we succeed." Other ways to think like an entrepreneur, Newlands says: "Let go and delegate," "stay curious, learn new skills," and "follow your instincts."

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Changing routines and taking risks are exercises that could help lead you into entrepreneurship, according to some experts. It's hard to say if launching out on your own is possible for everyone. But, in a post at USNews.com, blogger Beth Kuhel suggests some steps that anyone can take in that direction.

"Envision the person who you want to become and use imagery to see yourself as this person," Kuhel suggests. Some possibilities for breaking out of your mold: Take a class; learn a second language; go off the grid for part of your week. "The goal is to break oneself from the mind-set that who you are today is who you're permanently meant to be," she says.

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Mergers and acquisitions and the resulting consolidation within industries in the United States are stifling entrepreneurship, says Eric Garland in a guest post at the website of the Harvard Business Review. Garland, described here as a "strategic trend analyst," cites scholarly work showing that business formation has been declining, at the same time that business "dissolution" has been on the rise for a generation or more.

"Giant firms seek the services of similarly large vendors," and that stymies entrepreneurs, Garland says. Reduced competition in an industry also means reduced incentive to innovate, again dampening the entrepreneurial spirit.

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An entrepreneur can get advice, training, and other assistance at a Small Business Development Center, about 900 of which are fostered by the Small Business Administration in collaboration with universities and other institutions. Learn to research and evaluate a business idea, write a business plan, and start the business. Go to this page to find the nearest center, link to its website, and get an idea of what programs are offered:

http://goo.gl/d1YZoX

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