There are several important skills that entrepreneurs should cultivate to become successful . Some entrepreneurs may already possess some of these skills. Most entrepreneurs are good at a few and lacking at others. Savvy entrepreneurs are able to borrow the skills they need from a team. All entrepreneurs should learn and improve their most important skills.
New Research from the Harvard Business Review and quotes by successful entrepreneurs in Forbes, Inc., Under30CEO, Entrepreneur Magazine, and others have identified the following as essential skills for successful entrepreneurs:
Successful entrepreneurs must learn how to lead. Successful leaders communicate compelling visions, are energetically self-motivated, goal oriented, and able to prioritize. There is so much that must be done in order to run a successful venture that the ability to manage time wisely, delegate and set the example for your team are extremely important. Entrepreneurs who try to do it all will never grow beyond themselves. The ability to build the right team, get everyone doing the right job, and give the team direction to do what is necessary in order to achieve a worthwhile vision is the most important role for the entrepreneur. Although it helps to already have some leadership qualities, many aspects of leadership can be learned. There are different leadership styles. Take time to study them and develop the style that is right for you and your enterprise. Lead by example and be a positive role model.
Entrepreneurs spend a lot of their time persuading others. It is critical to recruit a team, raise money, and promote a product or service. An entrepreneur will need to persuade the team, the investors, collaborators, regulators, and clients. An entrepreneur must know how to persuade their people to stay on task. They must learn to persuade investors and bankers to continuously fund their projects. They must persuade collaborators to work together on a common goal. They must be able to persuade their governing bodies to write favorable policies and show that they are following them. They must persuade their clients to love their product and/or services and rave to their friends about it. They must perfect their negotiation skills to persuade vendors, clients, collaborators, landlords, partners, and others to agree to deals that are in the best interest of their company, employees, clients, community, and aligned with their core values. All entrepreneurs should take time to master other the art of persuasion.
“The quality serial entrepreneurs displayed above others was persuasion, or the ability to convince others to change the way they think, believe or behave,” Bonnstetter, INC. Dec. 11, 2012
An entrepreneur must learn how to market their product or service. The landscape of marketing is constantly evolving but the basic principals still hold true. An entrepreneur must learn how to market their product to reach their ideal customer and make sure they are aware of why their product or service is ideal. The entrepreneur must include a compelling reason for their clients to choose them over all other similar products and/or services available in the marketplace. Marketing is incredibly important. Assembling a great sales and marketing team requires some knowledge of what it is you want to accomplish. The entrepreneur must know what kind of results they are looking for in order to direct their sales and marketing team. The entrepreneur must be able to meticulously measure the results of every marketing campaign and be willing to experiment in order to get it right. This will save countless time and money and prevent one from becoming an advertising victim. Either the entrepreneur or an excellent adviser will often make the difference on whether the enterprise will succeed. Entrepreneurs who understand and have the ability to effectively market themselves and their company have a distinct advantage over their competition. Learn how to market and proceed with a clear strategy that is designed for measurable results.
An entrepreneur must systematize the processes of their business. This is extremely important for growth. A written plan, accurate customer records, updated books, technology process, policies and procedures are the foundations of your business. The systems allow new employees to seamlessly take over the jobs of others who have moved on or been promoted. It is the systems that allow a business to duplicate itself in different locations and markets. It is the systems that help a business become profitable and marketable. Systems are key for dealing with the day to day operations and making sure everything goes smoothly. Systems improve safety and help avoid fatal mistakes. Communicating those systems clearly and following them religiously is what helps an operation function like a well-oiled machine. Systems help the operation do things better in less time with fewer resources being wasted. Create systems, analyze, improve, test, and communicate them on a regular basis.
An entrepreneur must know how to manage the life blood of their business. The entrepreneur must be capable of generating revenue, managing cash flow, keeping accurate books, controlling profit and loss, and creating protection. Cash flow is key for buying inventory, paying for services, marketing, and repairing or replacing equipment. Poor money management is one of the most common reasons businesses fail. An excellent, trustworthy accountant as well as a competent attorney are invaluable. Your reputation depends on getting people paid in a timely manner and having the resources to do so. You must be able recognize where to direct the money to the highest priorities in order to keep your business in operation. You must also create a series of checks and balances to ensure you are able to make adjustments before things get out of control. Learn to understand finance, create a solid cash-flow management system, and build a team of trustworthy professionals.
Ability to learn and adapt
It is not the fastest, strongest, or best company but the one that is able to adapt quickly to meet the demands and changes of the landscape that will survive in the long-term. An entrepreneur must be an avid learner. They must be constantly willing to educate themselves and their team about changes in their industry and their marketplace. Entrepreneurs spend their time educating themselves while others spend their time entertaining themselves. Read marketing books, magazines, reports, journals, newsletters, websites, and industry publications and apply what you learn. Network and emulate successful entrepreneurs. Join associations and build mastermind groups. Take small steps, learn, improve, and then take another step. Repeat that until you are successful.
An entrepreneur must be in control of themselves. They must be clear thinkers. They must make goal oriented, results-based decisions regardless of the emotional influences of their personal and professional circumstances. They must know where their strengths and weaknesses lie and be able to ask for help when needed. They must have a clear vision and relentless work ethic.
Be persistent and unstoppable but know when to take a break and recharge. Above all, have fun and build something great that is good for the world!
These are just a few of the essential skills that an entrepreneur must have to be successful.
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