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Lynne McNamee : Must-Have Skills for Entrepreneurs in 2024

Lynne McNamee is President of Lone Armadillo Learning. She'll be sharing her recommendations on must-have skills for entrepreneurs in 2024.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what got you into entrepreneurship?

With the rise of the internet, I was excited at the possibilities. However, my employer (a marketing agency) at the time was not embracing this brave, new world. So I started learning web design, seo, sem, inbound marketing. Furthermore, I was perceived as just the role for which I'd been hired - they couldn't envision the additional abilities, vision and value I could bring to the organization. So - I went off on my own.

What are the top three skills you think are crucial for entrepreneurs today?

Ability to pivot. Willingness to learn. Comfortable with failure.

How do you think the role of technology has impacted these skills in recent years?

We can pivot and know when to pivot faster and easier because of technology - we get data to make informed decisions quickly and usually at a relatively low cost. Opportunities to learn are readily available (such as our new Managed Learning Services for SMBs!) for individuals and entrepreneurial teams to develop the industry, technical and soft skills - take advantage of them in a disciplined way. Similar to the first, data that is quickly available due to technological developments can allow us to set up small scale tests where failure is your A or B. Regularly, intentionally having failures, looking for failures deliberately helps to grow more comfortable with failure in other areas or at larger scales. This skill to look for failures and develop new strategies to test is what will single out the ultimate successes over those scared to fail.

Could you share a story with us about how you used some of these skills to overcome a challenge in your journey?

When I started my business, I had a point of purchase sign for retail. What I knew were the primary benefits, through strategic Google ads, were not what resonated with potential buyers, at least not at the start. By being willing to change my message, by being willing to listen to feedback, having set up tests to see if my original theories were correct (they weren't!), I failed, I learned, I pivoted.

In your opinion, how important is it for entrepreneurs to adapt to changing trends and what do you see as the biggest trend in 2024?

Adapting to trends is critical and also a mistake. Be clear about the underlying problem you are trying to solve and the values by which decisions will be made. These can evolve, but should not change. Trends in marketing, rise of generative ai, design, distribution - these do require regular adjustment to social proof. The elements that can quickly test the new trends, which may help cut costs and improve business metrics, try to incorporate. But don't change everything all the time. It causes employee whiplash.2024 biggest trend - same as 2023 - generative ai. I'm shocked when I learn there are folks who aren't using it, or even trying to pretend it doesn't exist. It's here. It can be helpful.  It doesn't replace experience and knowledge, but for those with the experience and knowledge, it can be a powerful tool towards productivity.

What's one common mistake you often see new entrepreneurs make, and how can they avoid it?

Entrepreneurs often refuse to adjust their target market, their messaging, their pricing model. Buyers will show what problem they are really needing to solve. And don't be too aspirational if B2B - problems get the funding, wish lists don't.

How do you keep learning and growing as an entrepreneur?

We're making available the very thing we are doing to keep growing - curated learning for SMBs. There is a lot of content online, but what should I be learning? I don't know what I don't know, so how can I overcome that? Curated learning paths can help.

Don't try to be the expert in everything. Find trusted professionals to help (e.g., bookkeeping, blogging, etc.) - and ask them questions! Try to learn as much as you can. A quality professional prefers educated clients - it increases mutual respect and helps them help you because you understand why they are making the recommendations or decisions they are.

Watch a YouTube video a day on something you know nothing about.

Watch and/or read about quantum physics and/or space. These theories and scale help keep your thinking broader plus offer perspective against the set-backs that inevitably happen.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone just starting their entrepreneurial journey in 2024?

Channel your inner Gryffindor. Be brave. Be honest. Be a person of integrity. Tap into your talents and existing skills, but always be ready to try something new in pursuit of your goal.


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