Getting ahead in the world of business is not easy and never has been. One of the most successful Broadway productions of the 1960’s even mocked the idea of success in this area of endeavor being easy. “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” was what some critics called a comedy that made serious points about how competitive the corporate world can be. So, is there a way to succeed in today’s dog-eat-dog economy for entrepreneurs who are persistent, dedicated and knowledgeable? Of course there is.
The trick is collecting all the pieces of the puzzle and assembling them. Those puzzle pieces include a strong dose of self-knowledge, a solid education, enough money to finance the quest, and above all, a mentor. Too many people strive for success without even trying to find a mentor. In fact, surveys have shown that only about 10 percent of working people who consider themselves ambitious ever attempt to team up with a mentor. Here’s a closer look at what you should be thinking about if you hope to start your own company or work for one.
Know Your Strengths
Career counselors always advise career-minded clients to know their strong and weak points. This task calls for a bit of soul searching and requires a few sessions of brutal honesty, pad and paper in hand. List your strengths and weaknesses, being careful to think objectively. You can ask someone who knows you well to offer assistance, which can be a good way to get a second opinion on your first try at a list. The fact remains that if you know your strengths and weaknesses, your business career will move along more quickly.
Know What You Want
Slightly easier than making a list of strong and weak points, the “What do I want” list shouldn’t take too long or require much thought. Most people have a pretty clear idea, but it’s important to commit it to writing and flesh out the concepts about what your short and long-term life goals are. Once you are clear on what you want, you’ll be able to design your business career around your goals.
Get the Right Education
The most important piece of the puzzle is education. Even if you need to take out student loans to finance your education, it’s worth the effort and expense. For plenty of individuals, education loans are the only way to pay for a degree. But once you have the education, it’s yours for life. A college degree is the passport to success in the corporate world these days, so don’t neglect getting your diploma as soon as possible.
Build Your Network and Find a Mentor
Try to keep contact lists of everyone you think might be able to help you with your career. Teachers, co-workers, bosses, neighbors, coaches and others are prime candidates for your network list. The larger your network becomes, the more promising your career will be. The old adage is partly true that success is about who you know, not what you know. Finally, enlist the help of a mentor early in your career. You’ll always have someone to turn to when you’re stumped by a challenge or question. Mentors are invaluable for all career-minded individuals.