Like most life endeavors, entrepreneurship is rewarding but not without its fair share of challenges. Getting a business up and running requires more than just having a good idea and creating a business strategy.
In order to reach your ultimate level of success, you must know how to present your idea to your targeted investors, be able to stay positive under pressure, know when it’s time to delegate, make tough business decisions, and a lot more skills.
There are times when you’ll face situations where you may feel like you’re drowning in the deep and there’s no way out. Without the right business skills in your arsenal, you may become overwhelmed or, worse still, depressed.
So what are these skills you must cultivate, whether as a sole-proprietor or one with a team?
25 skills you must cultivate as an entrepreneur
Your ability to clearly express yourself verbally or in writing will go a long way in determining the success of your venture. As an entrepreneur, you’ll deal with people of all levels, including your employees, customers, and stakeholders.
So, you need to be able to convey your idea or product to them in a clear, concise, and compelling manner. Communicate with purpose.
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If you can think, speak, and write, you are a triple threat. Your words will be heard and understood. Steve Jobs’s ability to communicate was one of the critical elements that propelled Apple’s growth. When he spoke, he didn’t just talk from the head but also from the heart.
Listening is just as important as speaking. When your employees, customers, or even partners are trying to talk to you, it’s important that you listen because they may be trying to relay information on areas that need improvements.
How can you deliver if you can’t listen well and understand what they need?
Aside from that, listening will foster long-term relationships with your customers and partners because you make them feel valued when they talk with you.
Without sales, there’s no business. Many entrepreneurs don’t understand the importance of sales skills until they meet an uncooperative customer or client who won’t budge on their position.
You have to be able to convince them that they need something they don’t know they want yet. This does not necessarily mean forcing an invaluable product down their throat.
Additionally, possessing salesmanship makes you look confident and knowledgeable in your field.
You can use sales software to improve your sales. However, it’s best to choose CRM software integrating sales automation features. Here are some leading Sales CRM software to maximize your salesmanship.
Time management skills
As an entrepreneur, time is your most valuable resource because it’s limited, and there’s only so much of it that you can use in one day.
If you don’t manage it well, you’ll most likely waste it on tasks that aren’t important, leaving no time for what really matters.
Time management involves prioritizing tasks by urgency and importance and completing them within the deadline. You can maximize time management tools like Calendly to schedule your meetings and plans professionally.
Are you looking for good management tools to fix your meetings, check out our list under category page best appointment scheduling software.
Owning a business demands that you make decisions, lead teams, and drive change in your organization (if you’re not a sole proprietor). If you’re not assertive, you will most likely get pushed around by others or lose your voice in the process.
Being assertive means having the ability to express what you think and feel while also considering other people’s opinions and needs. You can be assertive without being aggressive.
You can’t do it alone. You need to be able to lead your team and inspire them to follow you on your entrepreneurial journey.
People want to work with someone they like and trust. They want a leader who listens and will help them improve their skills and performance. They want someone who knows how to get things done while keeping morale high.
You need to cultivate critical thinking skills in order to analyze situations objectively and make decisions based on facts rather than emotions or assumptions.
Critical thinking helps you make better decisions about everything from hiring new employees or firing current ones to negotiating deals with suppliers.
|Did you know? |
Successful people spend 10 hours a week just thinking.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be willing to take risks. You have to be willing to put your money where your mouth is, even if it means losing that money.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Neither is it for those who want a safe job or a steady paycheck. It takes guts, drive, and determination to start up a business of any kind — let alone one that can succeed in today’s competitive environment.
Willingness to learn-unlearn-relearn
Entrepreneurship is a constant cycle of trying new things, failing, learning, and adapting to new business models. You’ll never succeed if you’re not open to new ideas or willing to learn from your experiences.
Successful business owners weren’t born with special knowledge or abilities; they developed them over time through practice and experience.
You can hone your business management skills by reading books on business management, taking on online training on platforms like TalentLMS, networking with successful entrepreneurs, maximizing business tools, etc.
Curiosity is key to innovation. According to a Harvard business review by Francesca Gino, most of the remarkable inventions and breakthrough discoveries are a result of curiosity.
If you’re not curious about what’s new in your industry or the latest trends in technology, you will never evolve as a business owner.
You need to be curious to find problems worth solving, ideas worth pursuing, and customers worth selling to. It also helps see opportunities where others may not.
Successful business owners are the ones who can create something different from what others are doing.
You must be able to think outside of the box and come up with ideas that will help you stand out from the crowd. You should also learn to implement these ideas in a way that will benefit your customers while also generating revenue for your company.
You may encounter problems daily as an entrepreneur. You need to be able to solve these problems quickly and effectively, whether by yourself or by outsourcing the task.
Problems can range from a broken computer system or a delivery truck breaking down to dealing with legal issues or an investor pulling out of the company at the last minute because they don’t see enough ROI.
As you already know, managing a business is hard work. There will be ups and downs but you have to believe that your company will succeed even if it doesn’t seem like it at first glance or if other people don’t agree with your ideas or plans for the future of your business.
It’s important not to let yourself get discouraged by things that don’t go your way. Instead, use them as opportunities for improvement and growth to build a stronger foundation for your business in the future.
Networking can be the difference between an entrepreneur who can get the money and resources they need for their projects and one who cannot.
You need to know how to interact and build genuine connections. When meeting someone new, don’t pitch your product or service to them immediately— even if it’s something they need.
Instead, ask questions about what they do first and then offer your services once they’ve warmed up to you. People have to feel comfortable around you to trust what you have to say when it comes to sales pitches.
|Did you know? |
Of all employment sources, traditional networking has the most impact.
Basic financial skill
As an entrepreneur, you are going to be earning and spending. You need to be able to keep track of your expenses and revenue, forecast future income and expenses, and understand basic financial concepts like interest rates and inflation.
If you don’t keep track of your finances, you could end up with debt problems or even bankruptcy. Your financial statements also show other important information like cash flow levels, profit margins, and assets vs. liabilities ratios.
If you don’t know how to brand yourself and your business, you will have difficulty gaining traction.
Branding is not just about having a logo; it’s about creating an image with which people can identify and connect. That is, creating a positive experience with your audience that brings them back again and again.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to research market trends. The research entails finding out as much as possible about your competitors and consumers so that you can make informed decisions about what products and services to sell, how much they should cost, and how best to market them.
When you carry out due research, you determine whether or not there’s a market for your product or service. You can also see where there are gaps in supply or demand — which means there’s room for you to take advantage and bridge that gap.
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Oprah Winfrey would not have become one of the most successful news anchors and television show hosts had she not done her research about certain topics and public figures.
So you see, as an entrepreneur, you need to have a good grasp of trends in your industry or market.
Marketing savviness complements research skills. After learning about your target customers, you need to be able to develop campaigns that resonate with them — whether that means advertising on television instead of social media platforms like Facebook or leveraging marketing automation software.
When marketing on social media platforms, it’s important that you use captivating pictures and videos. Renderforest offers features for marketing automation, email integration, logo creation, and lots more.
Here’s a list of marketing apps that will help you attract and communicate with your target customers, analyze their data, and draw more effective marketing strategies.
Again, you will face situations that will require analytical skills and decisions. For example, if you want to expand into a new market, you need to analyze the market conditions, competitor pricing, etc. These numbers can help you make better decisions about the business model you’ll design.
Passion and ambition
If you don’t love what you are doing, you will not be able to stay motivated when things become tough.
Similarly, if you lack ambition, you may not want to grow or expand your business model because you’re content with where things stand. This can be problematic because if your business isn’t growing, it won’t be able to compete with other companies in your industry and may lead to your business becoming obsolete.
You need to be able to manage others, whether it’s a small team or a large company. You need to be able to influence and work with your employees to get things done.
This requires being able to manage different personalities in order to keep your team productive and motivated.
As an entrepreneur, you will have to delegate at some point or another. You might be thinking, “But I made it this far without any help!” You’re right — but you can’t keep doing everything yourself.
Delegation isn’t just about getting things done; it’s also about giving yourself breaks, focusing on your strengths, and growing your business faster.
When delegating tasks, make sure that there is no room for ambiguity or confusion so that everyone knows exactly what needs to be done and when it needs to be completed.
Ability to empathize with people
Empathy is a key ingredient in building strong relationships with employees, partners, and investors. And you can achieve them by making them feel heard. You can also use empathy in negotiations to identify compromises that satisfy both parties’ needs instead of just pushing hard for what’s best for your business.
You don’t have to be an expert in psychology or sociology to know how to empathize with people — all it takes is being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagine what they might need from you.
|Did you know? |
It was Howard Schultz’s sensibility, brand integrity, and empathy that revitalized Starbucks during its darkest days.
When Starbucks’ sales were plummeting due to competition from cheaper rivals, he didn’t cut corners by reducing the quality of their coffee nor did he cut off his employees’ health benefits because that could have adversely affected his customers and employees.
Stress is an inevitable part of any job, and entrepreneurism is no exception. Whether you’re running a startup or managing an existing business, you’ll likely encounter some stressful situations throughout your career.
It’s important that you know how to manage your stress levels in order to stay productive. Take regular breaks in between tasks. You may walk or do something else for a few minutes before returning to your project.
Change is inevitable, and the ability to adapt is what sets great business owners apart from the rest. If you can’t adapt, especially if you’re in a fast-changing market, you’re going to be stuck running your business in a way that may not be sustainable or effective.
You must learn to change course when necessary or pivot when your original plan isn’t working out as expected.
As you can probably tell by now, being an entrepreneur is a lot of work. But if it’s something you’re willing to do, the rewards can be endless. Developing and honing these skills can help you on your path to success. So make sure to work on them.