With so many startups popping up every day, it seems that becoming an entrepreneur is a fairly simple thing to do. It appears that everybody with a bit of cash and a good idea can try their luck as novice entrepreneurs. In fact, it takes a lot more to succeed if you really want to bring your entrepreneurship dreams to reality.
There’s a certain set of skills shared by all successful entrepreneurs, no matter their field of expertise or years of experience. Even if they’re just starting out or they’re a seasoned professional, all truly great entrepreneurs have these common qualifications. Read on so you too can learn how to separate yourself from the pack and pave your way to entrepreneurship stardom.
1. Managing your finances
Let’s get the most important things out of the way first. One crucial skill that all great entrepreneurs have is the ability to manage and grow their finances over time. Great financial management leads to sustainability, which will help your long-term financial goals.
From initial investments to closing major deals, knowing your way around finances is what will make or break or your business. If your personal finances are a complete mess, then it’s a safe bet that the entrepreneur’s lifestyle isn’t actually cut out for you. Make sure you know the financial status of your business like the palm of your hand. You should know exactly how much money you spend and make every month, in order to make long-term strategies. Speaking of finances…
2. The ability to sell
It’s no use having a great product or a service if you’re unable to sell it. You should know how to connect with businesses and make a successful sales cycle. Some would say that selling is more of a natural talent than a skill you can learn, but I am confident that it will come naturally with enough time and effort put into it.
Many entrepreneurs go through the pain of creating a great product or service, refining it to suit their market, advertising it, and then they’re unable to close a sale. It’s only natural to become nervous at this step, but if you’ve worked hard to come up with a solution to your audience’s needs, they won’t be reluctant to hand over their hard-earned cash.
If you’re not that keen on doing the sales part of your business – you can leave it up to somebody else from your team, such as a competent sales professional who can make sales using a business phone solution. However, the ability to sell yourself is key in attracting new opportunities, deals and becoming a successful entrepreneur.
3. Knowing how to hire and train people
There is no such thing as a great entrepreneur who made it on their own. It is always a team effort of several people who helped pave the way to a successful company. Your ability to choose those you collaborate with is extremely important in your path to success. Just like with everything else in life, don’t settle for less. If you want a top-performing team, choose A-team players.
The wrong hire will not only drain your bank account but also your energy. They will make you waste valuable resources instead of building a foundation for your company and enabling growth. If your choice of people is making you lose sleep and energy - it’s time to reconsider your choices.
When it comes to hiring new people, the benefits gained are twofold. First off, you will be able to grow and utilize the strengths of your new team members. Second, as your company grows, you will develop a company culture that your staff will nurture and identify with.
Just as it is important to hire new staff, they won’t go far without proper training. Ensure that new employees have proper onboarding and guidance until they are comfortable in their roles. The initial investments in time and money when you hire new staff will pay dividends in the future.
4. Managing staff
Once you’ve hired and trained new employees, here comes the hardest part. If you’re a solo player, you won’t be used to working with people. It will take time to learn the right balance between authority and friendliness. In the early stages of your entrepreneur career, your team will be small and tightly connected. This is the right time to learn how to manage, motivate and encourage your staff, as well as communicate properly.. When the time comes, you will be able to effectively manage a larger group of people.
5. Building relationships
There is no such thing as a lone wolf in the world of entrepreneurship. Everybody needs a helping hand from time to time, and knowing how to connect and build lasting relationships is one of the top skills when it comes to your career as an entrepreneur.
When I say relationships, I don’t mean customers in the traditional sense. These are long-lasting connections that you can establish without spending or asking for money.
You can expand your network by giving testimonials, endorsements, training, recommendations, you name it. No matter the state your company is currently in, having friends helps out with your business goals sooner than later.
From the initial steps such as email outreach, all the way to forging partnerships through contracts and co-marketing, relationships can literally make or break your business.
6. Trying out new things (and failing)
“Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I’ll show you someone who has never achieved much”, said Joan Collins. When it comes to new ideas, you’ll never know if you don’t try.
This rule pertains to launching a new product, coming up with a new strategy, trying a new marketing method, creating and promoting a new blog, making a breakthrough in a new market – you name it.
One common trait of all great entrepreneurs is that they made mistakes, whether they want to admit it or not. There is no progress without struggle in the world of entrepreneurship, and some of the most valuable lessons come from making errors. Remember, when you do fail – you just found another way things won’t work.
7. Predicting future trends
This is arguably the hardest item on the list. If you take a look at the most successful entrepreneurs out there, one of the common features they have is the ability to predict the future. Admittedly, it’s hard to be Nostradamus (or Steve Jobs), but with enough experience and insight, you will be able to forecast where your specific area of business will be moving in the future.
Many entrepreneurs today are in the tech industry, which moves at an incredibly fast pace. New startups are created and shut down on a daily basis. Use this to closely follow trends and learn from other businesses’ fatal mistakes, as it could save yours.
8. Providing value
I’m not generally speaking about value, as it needs to present in order to get clients to commit to your services and products. I’m talking about value versus money.
Many entrepreneurs get trapped in thinking about money first, which is only natural, especially if they’re just starting out. However, if money is the main driving force for you as an entrepreneur, you are bound to fail in your endeavors.
Putting money first means that you are bound to cut corners and think only about the bottom line. You will focus on the end goal and forget about all the steps it takes for you to establish a successful brand.
Instead, focus on what you can provide to your customers and what your unique proposition is. If you have a great product or provide a great service, with hard work, money will come naturally.
Related to our previous point, you can only provide true value to your customers if you have a strong sense of empathy. Some would say this is more of an innate talent than a skill you can attain as an entrepreneur, but it can and should be learned.
The ability to empathize as an entrepreneur means putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience and thinking about how to solve their problems, identify their obstacles and goals and think with a customer-first approach.
In fact, a lack of empathy can hurt your business so much to the point where it can completely fail. Many startups have gone down the drain because their target market simply could not believe that the company cares for them and wants to provide genuine solutions to their problems.
10. Being authentic
Authenticity naturally links to empathy. More of a sophisticated skill, being authentic means being true to what you say and walking the walk. In other words, saying that you care and want to provide value for your customers won’t mean much if you don’t actually show it in your actions.
With so much focus on social media presence nowadays, it is fairly easy for customers to see if a brand is not authentic and true to themselves. This is why you should use your social media channels to nurture connections with your customer base. What’s more, seize every possible opportunity to genuinely connect with your customers and establish a relationship. Not only will you have more success connecting with them, but you will also be much more satisfied with the work you do.
If you’ve decided that becoming an entrepreneur is a path you want to pursue, these are some of the major skills you need to help you on your way. Don’t let this list discourage you – becoming an entrepreneur is no easy feat, and few can achieve excellence. Note that these skills can be taught and improved upon, and that success will come with hard work and dedication.
About the author:
Mile Živković is a content writer and work-life balance expert at Chanty – a simple, AI-powered Slack alternative. When Mile isn’t busy writing epic posts on productivity, work-life balance and time management for Chanty blog, he’s probably driving somewhere. His hobbies include cars (huge fan of Alfa Romeo), photography and collecting pocket knives. You can catch him on LinkedIn.
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