Can researchers become successful entrepreneurs? Yes, they can. Contrary to that belief, researchers can run successful businesses because they enjoy solving problems like entrepreneurs. So, if you’re considering transitioning to business, here are four ways to adjust your mindset from researcher to entrepreneur.
1. Admit What You Don't Know
As a researcher, you’re used to tinkering with things until you get results. When one course of action fails, you go back to the drawing board and try out something else.
While persistence is an excellent character trait to have, there are times when you won’t have the answers to every question as an entrepreneur. And that’s okay. So, don’t criticize yourself if you don’t know how to tackle challenging business problems. Instead, admit your shortcomings and ask for help.
2. Develop Your Soft Skills
As a researcher, hard skills such as data collection and analysis help you tackle your day-to-day duties effectively. But, to become a successful entrepreneur, you’ll need to complement your hard skills with soft skills.
For instance, if you’re pitching an idea to investors, you may need to present data rather than collecting it. Developing soft skills, such as presentation and storytelling, can help make your presentation compelling and get investors excited about your idea.
3. Adopt a Commercial Mindset
Researchers aren’t known for their commercial mindset. When thinking about how to “commercialize” their products, many researchers focus on the product. But they forget about another critical aspect — the customer.
While you should do your best to develop a high-quality product, your product won’t be a success if it doesn’t fulfill customers’ needs. Therefore, to become a successful entrepreneur, you’ll need to first think about what matters most to customers.
4. Embrace Failure
Entrepreneurship isn’t a walk in the park. In the U.S., nearly 90% of startups fail. While that’s disheartening news, don’t let it intimidate you.
Failure is part of being an entrepreneur, and how you deal with it is what matters most. So, don’t get discouraged if things don’t go according to plan. Often, success comes after several failed experiments.
As a researcher, you often need to find creative solutions to problems even when faced with significant hurdles. What’s more, you often need to find innovative solutions to problems with limited resources. These strengths can help you succeed as an entrepreneur. You just need to combine them with a business mindset.
Discover more tips about how adopting a business mindset can help you transition from being a researcher to a successful entrepreneur in Train Like a Scientist, Think Like an Entrepreneur (available on Amazon today).