A teacher of entrepreneurs is someone who teaches people of all ages and skill levels what it takes to become an entrepreneur. This isn’t really a new profession, though you may not have heard about it before.
These teachers are cropping up all over the place. Sometimes they offer their services as a consultant, other times they offer their skills and knowledge in a classroom setting for a fee. Some even teach aspiring entrepreneurs what they know for free. Still others put their money where their mouth is, like serial entrepreneur, television personality and creator of the very simple “Knockout List” productivity tool, Marcus Lemonis. Lemonis very closely mentors the business owners he invests in.
They come in all shapes and sizes and there’s really no blueprint as to how to become a great teacher of entrepreneurs.
However, there are some definite things that will help you make a lasting impression on the students you take on and mentor. Keep reading to learn the 3 core principals you must teach your students before they’re ready to strike out on their own.
1. Set them straight about the pursuit of money.
Nearly all successful salespeople are driven by their hunger for money and the success they believe it will bring them. Though entrepreneurs need to be great salespeople, they cannot ultimately be driven by cash. There are easier ways to make it, after all — like becoming a sales professional and working for the MAN rather than themselves.
You, as a teacher of entrepreneurs, must stress to your students that the pursuit of money won’t sustain them on their journey. They have to love what they’re doing. If so, the money will follow. As an experienced entrepreneur, you already understand it might take starting several businesses, and likely closing one or two also, before monetary success comes.
2. Stress the importance of empathy and encourage them to constantly develop it.
You can’t over-stress the importance of caring for their fellow man. Having empathy will allow them to create lasting relationships and partnerships with people at all levels of society. Many of the world’s best businesses have also been created through this trait — creating a product because the entrepreneur sees a need they can fill for their fellow man/woman.
I mentioned Marcus Lemonis earlier because I get the impression he’s probably the most empathetic entrepreneur on television right now (ie., he’s no Kevin O’Leary!) Watch an episode of the profit and you’ll probably agree. He never lets anger get in the way of how he does business, even when lesser people are screaming at him. However, when it comes to empathy, the man’s full of it. He has empathy for customers, employees, and the communities he touches.
When they have the empathy equation down pat, other traits like confidence, optimism, creativity, and resilience will soon fall into place.
3. Teach them how to deploy ideas.
The perfect teacher of entrepreneurs will teach their students how to become industrialists by actually taking them through the process of starting a business. If your role as teacher is as a consultant for a startup or failing business, you’ll already have some groundwork laid to work with in this department. However, if you’re teaching in a classroom setting, or mentoring students online, you’ll need to actually launch a business with them. All students in the class will need to participate and be a part of this business for the lesson to be effective.
Take them through the planning, fundraising, marketing and launch phases of the business. This doesn’t have to be a grand business, but it has to be legitimate — you want to see it turn a profit, even if just a dollar. Sell t-shirts online or something else that can be taken down when the course is done. Or find an entrepreneur in need who doesn’t have a clue how to start a business and mentor them for free if they’ll let you and your class take the reins and do the heavy lifting to get the business launched.
Skip this step and you’re just teaching theory. Like most of the stuff you learned in high school science class that you forgot the minute the test or exam was over!
Share your thoughts on the subject: What do you think it takes to become a great teacher of entrepreneurs?
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