A lot of people want to start businesses, but the hardest part surprisingly is to actually, “start”. 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?” We all love the internet and it is full of great tips, ideas and motivational quotes, but what you actually need are the skills. Many entrepreneurs believe that the most important thing that will determine their level of success with starting a business relates to their overall experience and skills in the niche area. I would have to disagree on that one. I know plenty of people that have zero talent but know how to hustle and are killing it. I also know a lot of people that are mad talented with no ambition. The most successful entrepreneurs have developed a certain set of skills that have helped them reach their goals. While you definitely need nerve and patience to launch and run a new business, you also need to focus on nurturing these critical skills that are integral to your future success in very important ways.
I came up with a list of skills you must have as an entrepreneur.
It is easy to give up when the going gets tough, but the most successful entrepreneurs persist because of their ambitious nature. They want to succeed, and they thrive on reaching small milestones that are stepping stones to their major goal. When you are highly ambitious, you may have an internal drive to work hard, and you may be committed to doing what it takes to make your business a success. Generally, you will not look for shortcuts and are willing put in the time necessary to get the job done right.
Willingness to Learn
Some people think that learning stops when you graduate college or earn a special certification, but this is not the case. Education is a life-long process. You must stay updated with changes in technology, the evolution of your industry, sales processes and more. Always seek new knowledge. More than that, look for the most successful people in your industry and do not be afraid to ask for their opinions or advice.
Ability to Listen
You simply cannot manage a great team or run provide a great customer service if you are not an effective communicator. Communication is a two-way street. In order to communicate outwardly in an effective manner, you must pay attention to others’ motivations, hot buttons, interests and more. You also must be aware of non-verbal cues, such as body language. Avoid coming off as being arrogant or vain, and strive to show that you are helpful and interested in others. This can foster collaboration, get others excited about your goals and more rather than turn them off because you seem overly interested in your own self-interests.
If you always do the same thing, you very likely will not enjoy new and better results. You must try new things to find what works best. You also need to enrich your live with new experiences regularly. This may be something as simple as talking to new people or taking a personal interest class. Each experience that you have can lead to new opportunities that you previously did not have available to you.
Many of the most successful business owners have suffered devastating defeats and failures (*raises both of my hands* lol). Rather than look at these events as an end to a situation, they have looked at these events as important learning moments. They maintained their optimism and perseverance, but they also made calculated changes to future efforts. Remember that you only fail when you stop trying. Persistence is the key to success.
Courage and Risk Taking
In order to harness the power of creativity, you must have the courage to act on your great ideas and plans. While you need to research your ideas thoroughly, you must also have the courage to take an unknown step and try things that are unfamiliar to you. Finding a successful path in life is rarely a straight and narrow process. Many entrepreneurs must take numerous steps to develop the right combination of skills, traits and knowledge to be successful with their efforts. If you focus your attention on nurturing these traits in your own life, you may be able to enjoy better overall success with future entrepreneurial efforts.
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.
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 Relieve Stress
Stress is no laughing matter. If you allow yourself to get frustrated and upset by setbacks, you’ll struggle as an entrepreneur. Learning how to use stress to your benefit is essential.
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.
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.
The Ability to Identify Strengths & 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 Conduct Basic SEO
In the beginning, you’ll be doing the work of every business department. With that in mind, do you understand basic SEO and digital marketing? If not, you’ll want to brush up on this area before you launch a business.
The Ability to Connect Via Social Media
Along with SEO, 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 startup and personal brand noticed on each one.
The Ability to Spot New Trends
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 startups and the advances in technology that could be poised to disrupt your field.
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. I went through plenty of failures and learned so many valuable lessons from each.
The Desire to Improve Your World
In the end, the best and most enduring motivation is to make a positive change in the world. When you focus your business and your success on that top priority, you’ll find yourself ready to weather any storm to meet the goal. Don’t let this list intimidate or discourage you. Being an entrepreneur is a big task, but all of these skills can be learned. If you notice one you’re lacking in, go get it! Your eventual success depends on it.