Being an entrepreneur is trendy. Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg have become standards of a new way of understanding business. But, is entrepreneurial spirit only meant for a few chosen ones or do we all have it inside us and just need to know how to make use of it? Are entrepreneurs born or made?
That’s what an article from the Financial Times wonders. And the answer seems to be clear: entrepreneurial spirit can be taught. So Steve Blank believes. He has created a method to teach entrepreneurial behaviour with which pupils learn how to keep testing their ideas to better develop their business.
Notwithstanding that, Blank says that ‘as long as entrepreneurial and leadership skills can be taught, only a few people will know how to appropriately apply them’. Being an entrepreneur requires a great dose of attitude.
Training versus practice
Despite 90% of Spanish entrepreneurs have university degrees, many of them have problems when applying what they learn during their studies due to the influence of various external factors which were not taken into account. Most of them believe that business itself has been their best school as ‘what’s really important it’s to learn while managing the company’.
That’s why many entrepreneurs avoid formal learning as a way to create their own company. Traditional university studies are not attractive to them as full-time studying is not useful for them. New ways of online learning have been created to allow them to conciliate their training with the implementation of their ideas.
They are the leading role of the training process and, thanks to professors with real experience, it is possible to encourage being an entrepreneur and implanting systems of trial and error that teach that mistakes help to bring future success
Creativity makes the entrepreneur
Along with communication, teamwork and knowing the market, creativity is a basic skill to any entrepreneur. To Steve Blank the problem is that universities and business schools have been treating being an entrepreneur as a technique more than as a creative field (just like art), where the practice is more important than theory. Only that way will they have the key to seeing beyond the evident and spot new business opportunities.
Culture of failure
Thinking, creating, risking, decision taking and reflecting can be learned. But the most important thing for an entrepreneur is to learn how to fail.
Rob Nail, the dean of Singularity University in Silicon Valley, thinks that we should embrace the culture of failure. This means we have to tolerate failure and learn from mistakes. That’s also what the psychology professor José María Lón believes. ‘You cannot be an entrepreneur if you have the pressure to be successful. It’s about trying, about seeing which ideas work and which ones don’t’.
Not only entrepreneurs but society must involve itself in learning that failure is an inevitable step towards success. That’s the path towards a new entrepreneurial culture that takes into account failure value to the economy of a country.
Image: Andrés Nieto Porras