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Beyond Apprenticeship: More Practical Experience for LinkedIn Entrepreneurs

Apart from the technical knowledge, mentorship opportunities, and of course, the determination, passion and faith to succeed, guess what else a (hopeful) business entrepreneur needs? The practical experience! Arguably, there are many among us who would have, either by choice or circumstance, decided to bite the proverbial bullet and become solely and fully immersed into the world of enterprise, while experimenting, failing, learning and growing along the way, before eventually succeeding .

Yet, for all intents and purposes, I think that having direct experience either running or being part of a business enterprise before ultimately deciding to commit, can make a world of difference. Let’s face it, entrepreneurship is for everyone, but, not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur. And, that’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of or shamed for.

Mind you, the desire to serve, make a positive contribution to their own lives and the lives of others, plus, earn a sustainable livelihood will always remain. Nevertheless, for some, it might be better positioned in another field. I can’t help but wonder how many persons would have saved themselves a lot of sleepless days and nights, and torture, if they had early exposure to the practical side of business.

For the record, practical experience is not the same as a mentorship experience. A mentor can be someone who offers the benefit of their experience, their insight, and of their experiments to the mentee- by either in-person meetings, social media interactions, or even, telephone calls. Likewise, practical experience can encapsulate the worlds of apprenticeship, tutelage, and understudy, but even then, there should be so much more aspects to practical experience.

Take the example of a baker. Practical experience for most people would entail measuring ingredient portions, kneading dough, and engaging customers. However, there is so much more to operating a bakery. There is the accounting factor with respect to paying salaries and taxes, the purchase of equipment and interacting with suppliers (both local and overseas), as well as the balancing of the periodic budget to ensure that the business has a seamless daily operation.

Likewise, is the example of a grocery- where so much more is involved than buying and selling items. There is the health inspection; and the need to continuously monitor stocks, and, re-stock where necessary, plus the personal safety of staff and shoppers and other occupational health and safety concerns. Additionally, there is the marketing, the budgeting, negotiating with merchandisers. In the case of a grocery that imports meat, there are the international bidding wars, the custom and excise duties, and, the list goes on.

Granted, there are those among us, who have persons close to us, who are readily able to afford us the time and benefit of direct, frequent experience within their operations. Nevertheless, it can be quite different and indeed, an uphill struggle for many others.

In any event, we are all built for success. Sometimes, though, the continued uneven playing field makes achieving it unnecessarily harder.

Keywords: LinkedIn Local Caribbean, experience, practical, entrepreneur, operations

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