There are plenty of traits that entrepreneurs claim are responsible for their success — determination, persistence and taking risks are common among business owners. But just as important as these traits are, entrepreneurs need to also have certain sets of skills to have long-term success, no matter their industry.
Here are 10 skills that every entrepreneur should have to lead their business to success:
1. The Ability to Manage Money
Financial management skills are an absolute must to be a successful entrepreneur. When you’re starting or running a business, you’ve got to know where your money is coming from and where it’s getting paid out.
You could be a true innovator and visionary entrepreneur, but if you lack financial management skills, your brilliant ideas will likely come to naught. What’s great about financial management is that it is something you can learn. If you don’t have time for that, you’ll need to hire someone who does have the requisite financial skills. Either way, if you don’t presently possess the skills to manage money or increase profits, there are solutions that any entrepreneur can pursue.
2. The Ability to Raise Money
Raising money extends beyond looking for startup capital. As your business operates and grows, the ability to raise additional money from new sources is paramount. You’ll need to be able to get investors and lenders on board by not only showing them your company can earn but that your business is worth the risk as well. The ability to raise money combines the skills of a salesman with those of accurate and thorough bookkeeping.
3. The Ability to Stay on Top of Technology
You don’t need to be a savant yourself when it comes to technology. But you should have a working knowledge of the latest technology that businesses are using in their operations. More importantly, you should hire and invest in employees who have the kind of technological expertise you personally lack.
Technological innovation has dramatically changed the landscape of several industries. Financial transactions alone have undergone major transformations, with purchases now being possible through mobile apps, like Google Pay or Apple Pay, which require businesses to accommodate new customer habits.
Nowadays, every business that wants to be taken seriously needs a website. This opens up a whole new field of technical skills that you’ll need to be on top of, including development, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, e-commerce, digital marketing and much more. While it’s tempting to try to do it all yourself, you might want to turn to talent recruiters who can zero-in on candidates that excel at understanding and applying the latest technological trends in business.
4. The Ability to Hire Effective People
Being able to identify and hire effective people is one of the most important skills any entrepreneur can have. When you hire great people for your team, you’re acquiring new strengths and building blocks for your company and its culture. With these foundations in place, you can build a successful business.
It is a good idea to already have some choice people in mind before you start your business. Ideally, these are people who are reliable, trustworthy and share your vision and want to contribute toward its realization. As much as possible, build out a strong core of employees from which you can construct a committed and effective staff. When you can really put your trust into a core group of employees, they will excel at their jobs and help create a team of talented people.
5. The Ability to Train and Manage New Staff
Hiring a great team is one step. Next, you need to train and integrate new hires into your team, their departments and the company overall. This is where a thorough and developed onboarding process can ensure that new employees know what to do and who to turn to for questions and issues. Training your new staff keeps your company moving in the right direction while reinforcing the commitment of good employees.
Managing your growing staff is just as important as training them. If your company is just getting started, then it is likely that you’re everyone’s manager, at least for a bit. These early stages of management are when you can set firm foundations for core people you’ll rely on and provide practical experience for your emerging management skills. On top of this, you should read extensively on effective management techniques, attend conferences or even hire an executive coach to help.
6. The Ability to Communicate Effectively
It doesn’t matter if you’re a single entrepreneur just starting off or a seasoned vet running a surging company, every entrepreneur needs to be an effective communicator. Communication skills are essential because they work in all directions. You need to understand how to communicate effectively to your fellow owners, directors, managers, employees, stakeholders and shareholders, not to mention all the key players and partners outside your business organization.
A major aspect of your company you need to communicate with everyone is the business’s value. You need to be able to demonstrate the value of what your business is doing in the marketplace and what it’s aiming to accomplish in the long term. This message needs to be conveyed to your investors but also to your whole team. Even the most junior member of your staff won’t be able to work towards your company’s mission if they don’t understand it.
7. The Ability to Network
This skill pertains to both in-person networking and online networking. Making friends and building mutually beneficial relationships will give you the potential for new opportunities in the future. Build your network by making friends with fellow entrepreneurs, developing favorable relations with vendors or suppliers and neighboring businesses. Try to be active with your community’s business organizations, join associations and collaborate with them on jointly sponsored events. Cross-promotion is a great way to knock out two birds with one stone — you’ll reinforce your network and market your business at the same time.
On the digital side, the ability to build and tap social networks is a critical part of any business’s marketing strategy. You’ll have to familiarize and understand the various social platforms. On top of that, you’ll need to devise a social networking strategy overall, as well as strategies tailored to each platform.
8. The Ability to Problem Solve
Problem-solving skills are always important for successful entrepreneurs, day in and day out. Fortunately, if you don’t naturally possess the ability, problem-solving skills are very learnable. Some key components of problem-solving are critical thinking, lateral or creative thinking and decision-making skills, to name just a few. What’s more, you need to understand your business and its operations in a holistic sense, so you have a general idea of how addressing one issue affects the rest of the company.
9. The Ability to Formulate Business Strategy
Charisma and intuition can carry an entrepreneur far. However, to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ll need something more systematic, namely a sound business strategy. In your early years of operation, you should break business goals down into quarterly or monthly objectives. Like a roadmap, you should outline where you expect to be every step toward your goals in terms of financing, employees, marketing and other relevant parts of your business.
A great method to start out your strategizing is to conduct a detailed SWOT analysis of your organization. SWOT stands for:
It is a conceptual framework you use to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats your company possesses and faces. And, you as the business owner, are not the only person who should evaluate the company. You should ask all your managers and their subordinates what they think the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are. From here, review the results and begin building your business strategy.
10. The Ability to Manage Failure
Knowing how to deal with the ups and downs of a startup or small business is fundamental. There is likely not a single entrepreneur who hasn’t dealt with failure in some form. Nearly every successful person has failed several times before scoring a win, let alone establishing a successful long-term business. No matter how well you’ve planned or how great a team you’ve built, you will encounter unanticipated twists and turns that will throw roadblocks in your path to overcome. By planning for the unexpected, you can budget for expenses that could possibly arise and mentally prepare yourself not to fall to pieces in the face of resistance.
The Bottom Line
One of the most important takeaways is that an entrepreneur doesn’t need to possess all these skills personally. A successful entrepreneur must either have these skills or recognize the need to hire partners and employees who possess them. The key step is for entrepreneurs is to understand the critical importance of all these skills. Through self-education and smart talent acquisition, entrepreneurs can arm themselves with all the skills necessary to carry their business into a successful future.
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