What makes someone a successful entrepreneur? It certainly helps to have strong technology skills or expertise in a key area, but these are not defining characteristics of entrepreneurship. There’s a question that haunts every would-be entrepreneur – and many actual entrepreneurs – every day: “How do I know if I have what it takes?” Yes, the Internet is full of ideas, tips, tricks and even awesome quotes. But do you actually have the skills. While the debate rages on as to whether entrepreneurs are born or made, one thing can’t be disputed: polishing certain skills can help you be a better entrepreneur.
If you want to start a business, it’s essential to learn the specific skills that underpin these qualities. It’s also important to develop entrepreneurial skills if you’re in a job role where you’re expected to develop a business, or “take things forward” more generally.
In this article, we’ll look at the skills you need to be a successful entrepreneur, and we’ll explore resources that you can use to develop the traits needed for success.
Some experts think of entrepreneurs as people who are willing to take risks that other people are not. Others define them as people who start and build successful businesses.
Thinking about the first of these definitions, entrepreneurship doesn’t necessarily involve starting your own business. Many people who don’t work for themselves are recognized as entrepreneurs within their organizations.
Regardless of how you define an “entrepreneur,” one thing is certain: becoming a successful entrepreneur isn’t easy.
So, how does one person successfully take advantage of an opportunity, while another, equally knowledgeable person does not? Do entrepreneurs have a different genetic makeup? Or do they operate from a different vantage point that somehow directs their decisions for them?
Though many researchers have studied the subject, there are no definitive answers. What we do know is that successful entrepreneurs seem to have certain traits in common.
We will be discussing the following entrepreneurship criteria that build success for entrepreneur personality and business, which are:
- Communication and Networking
- Business and Personal Branding
- Sales and Marketing for Business Success
- Strategy and Decision Making
- Finance and Account Management
In all the above points we will include a personality analysis that combine with the points.
- When you’re a solopreneur, you may think communication is less of an issue, since you don’t have staff to interact with. But you’ve still got to maintain clear lines of communication with your customers via email and phone, as well as ensure that the message you send through your website and social-media profiles is the one you want.
If you do have staff, communication is even more important. After all, poor communication skills can lead to decreased productivity with your staff, as well as low morale and opportunity for them to make more mistakes if they don’t understand your instructions. There is an opportunity to enhance your communication methods with your staff after you success building your business. Communication will give you as entrepreneur the ability to manage staff. Once you have the right people, you need to manage them well. Early on in your business’s growth, you’ll be everyone’s manager, so it pays to be effective. If you don’t already know how to manage, take the time to learn how to motivate, encourage, and develop your staff. Also communication will give you the ability to make entrepreneur friends. According to entrepreneur Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” So who do you want to be? Improve your odds of success by finding entrepreneur friends who will be able to understand your struggles and give you much needed insight.
- Branding (personal and business).
To start a correct branding, first, examine your personal characteristics, values, and beliefs. Do you have the mind-set that’s typical of successful entrepreneurs?
- Optimism: Are you an optimistic thinker? Optimism is truly an asset, and it will help get you through the tough times that many entrepreneurs experience as they find a business model that works for them.
- Vision: Can you easily see where things can be improved? Can you quickly grasp the “big picture,” and explain this to others? And can you create a compelling vision of the future, and then inspire other people to engage with that vision?
- Initiative: Do you have initiative, and instinctively start problem-solving or business improvement projects?
- Desire for Control: Do you enjoy being in charge and making decisions? Are you motivated to lead others?
- Drive and Persistence: Are you self-motivated and energetic? And are you prepared to work hard, for a very long time, to realize your goals?
- Risk Tolerance: Are you able to take risks, and make decisions when facts are uncertain?
- Resilience: Are you resilient, so that you can pick yourself up when things don’t go as planned? And do you learn and grow from your mistakes and failures? (If you avoid taking action because you’re afraid of failing, our article on Overcoming Fear of Failure can help you face your fears and move forward.)
Whether you’re striving to brand your business or looking to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, knowing how to do so online is essential to your success. Branding starts with being active on social media, and is shaped through content publication, whether on or off your website. Be aware, though, that poor content can lead to negative branding. It’s important to know how to deliver content and resources that your target audience wants and will find valuable. Another method of branding yourself and your business is social networks. Social networks represent a key part of any business’s marketing strategy. Not only will you need to understand each platform, you’ll want to arm yourself with the best strategies for getting your start up and personal brand noticed on each one.
One important internal driver that branding yourself and your self will be increased is the ability to deal with failure. No business venture is a straight line to success; knowing how to deal with ups and downs is essential. Remember that every successful person out there failed dozens of times before getting a win. Failure isn’t the end – it’s just a data point on the way to success.
- You may not identify with salespeople, but the fact is, if you run a business, you’re involved in sales. You might have a sales team that handles all of your company’s sales, but every time you deliver your elevator pitch about your business, negotiate with a vendor, or even just persuade anyone to do anything, you’re tapping into sales skills. To enhance your sales records for your business you must have the ability to be productive. This is a big topic, because there’s no one right way to be productive that works for everyone. Learn about your peak energy times, your routines, and the productivity tools that work for you in order to create your own plan for success. Another element is the ability to close a sale. Letting customers know you understand their pain is important, but asking for the sale is where many entrepreneurs get stuck. If you’re nervous about this step, try enrolling in a sales workshop to learn these much-needed skills. Adding to that the ability to spot new trends is another element that you should be aware of. Business moves fast, so you’ve got to have the ability to see changes coming in your industry. Make it a point to keep up to date on new start-ups and the advances in technology that could be poised to disrupt your field.
- Strategy. It’s easy to think about the “right-now” aspect of your business, because the results are easy to see. But what about the bigger picture, long-term challenges and goals? How often are you thinking about those? Without a constant eye on your business’ strategy and skilled assessment of that strategy relative to the industry and your competition, you can’t hope to grow it over time and remain competitive in the marketplace. You also need the practical skills and knowledge needed to produce goods or services effectively, and run a company.
- Goal Setting: Do you regularly set goals, create a plan to achieve them, and then carry out that plan?
- Planning and Organizing: Do you have the talents, skills, and abilities necessary to achieve your goals? Can you coordinate people to achieve these efficiently and effectively? (Here, effective project management skills are important, as are basic organization skills.) And do you know how to develop a coherent, well thought-through business plan, including developing and learning from appropriate financial forecasts?
- Decision Making: How good are you at making decisions? Do you make them based on relevant information and by weighing the potential consequences? And are you confident in the decisions that you make?
- Core decision-making tools include Decision Tree Analysis, Grid Analysis, and Six Thinking Hats.
- You need knowledge in several areas when starting or running a business. For instance:
- Business knowledge: Do you have a good general knowledge of the main functional areas of a business (sales, marketing, finance, and operations), and are you able to operate or manage others in these areas with a reasonable degree of competence?
- Entrepreneurial knowledge: Do you understand how entrepreneurs raise capital? And do you understand the sheer amount of experimentation and hard work that may be needed to find a business model that works for you?
- Opportunity-specific knowledge: Do you understand the market you’re attempting to enter, and do you know what you need to do to bring your product or service to market?
- Venture-specific knowledge: Do you know what you need to do to make this type of business successful? And do you understand the specifics of the business that you want to start? (This is where it’s often useful to work for a short time in a similar business.)
You can also learn from others who have worked on projects similar to the ones that you’re contemplating, or find a mentor – someone else who’s been there before and is willing to coach you.
Within your strategy you should focus on other stakeholders who are customers, staff, new staff and factors which are productivity, talent management and business position.
Focusing on Customers: To be clear, without customers, you have no business. Make sure all of your pitches, products, and services are focused on actual customer needs. If you don’t know what these are, research and ask questions so that you’re able to give great customer service.
The ability to manage staff. Once you have the right people, you need to manage them well. Early on in your business’s growth, you’ll be everyone’s manager, so it pays to be effective. If you don’t already know how to manage, take the time to learn how to motivate, encourage, and develop your staff.
The ability to train new staff. When you bring on someone new, a robust on boarding process will ensure that they know what to do and not do. Not only will this help keep your company moving the correct direction, it will increase the commitment level of good employees and give you grounds to follow up on misconduct.
The ability to hire effective people. Speaking of hiring, this is easily one of the most important skills any entrepreneur could have. Having great people on your team will give you access to new strengths, while also building a company culture that people want to be a part of? Hiring the right people is essential to get where you want to go.
The ability to identify strengths and weaknesses. As a business owner, you don’t need to be perfect at everything. You do, however, have to understand where you’re strong and where you’re weak. Assessing this will inform everything from the business decisions you make, to the partners you bring on, and to the employees you hire.
The ability to be productive. This is a big topic, because there’s no one right way to be productive that works for everyone. Learn about your peak energy times, your routines, and the productivity tools that work for you in order to create your own plan for success.
- While you don’t need to be a CPA to run a successful business, you should still have a decent understanding of your finances, profit margins, cash flow and funding. The more comfortable you are with all of these numbers, the more confident you’ll be, and the better decisions you’ll make. If you have an accountant to handle all the number crunching, that’s great, but don’t use them as a crutch to keep you from digging in and really understanding where your money’s going. It’s your duty to rein in costs, optimize efficiency and find ways to grow revenue. As a business owner with entrepreneur skills you will be required to focus on enhancing your abilities to raise and manage money.
The ability to raise money. Once you can manage money, can you get more? In order to get investment, you need to not only understand where to get money, but how to convincingly make a case that your business is a good risk as well.
The ability to manage money.Very simply, if you can’t manage money, you can’t manage a business. Do you know where your money goes each month? Do you live off less than you earn? If the answer to these questions is no, you’ll struggle to manage a business budget as well.
About the Author:
Dr.Hisham M Safadi (Hisham Safadi ) BDS & MSc Leadership and Management in Health Care Practice form the University of Salford where his Master dissertation was in the effect of Emotional Intelligence on improving Dentistry care in Middle East. He was born and raised in the Emirates of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. Dr.Safadi had start his professional career as a dentist then turn to the field of managing medical facilities and investment management. His main interest is business start-up, leadership and mentoring. Currently he is leading several projects in Manchester that is related to enhance patient experience and improving leadership style through education.
- Patel, S. 2015. The 17 Skills Required to Succeed as an Entrepreneur. Entrepreneur. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242327, June 11, 2015.
- DeMers, J. 2014. 5 Skills Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Master. Entrepreneur. http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236128, June 11, 2015.
- Smith, C. 2015. Entrepreneurial Skills: The Skills You Need to Build a Great Business. com. http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCDV_76.htm, June 11, 2015.
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