When asked the question, what’s the difference between starting your own business and becoming a successful entrepreneur, most of us would think that they are pretty much the same, right?
Well, not exactly.
While the very definition of entrepreneurship may be focused strongly on starting and running a business, most startups end up closing down within a year due to a lack of funding, inadequate market demand, financial mismanagement, and poor decision making.
The entrepreneurial landscape has always been competitive, but it’s also becoming increasingly unpredictable. So what are some of the most important skills you need to master if you wish to become a successful entrepreneur?
Even though we’re living in an era where the majority of business can be conducted sitting behind a computer, without any need for face-to-face interaction, communication is and always will be a crucial skill for any entrepreneur. Effective communication has the ability to breathe new life into an idea, revolutionize existing products and services and sell nothing short of a dream to both prospects and existing customers.
But in order to do so, your communication needs to have clarity, impact and, most importantly, purpose. It doesn’t matter whether you’re working alone or with a small or a large team, talking to investors, employees or customers, talking in person or using a phone, e-mail or social media. What does matter is your ability to deliver your message, your vision, and your instructions clearly, concisely and effectively?
Proper communication skills also include listening, so make sure to allow the other party to make their case before delivering your opinion. If you’re not completely sure whether your message has reached the listener, pay close attention to how they react while you speak and make sure to create a clear opening that allows you to further clarify any potential misunderstandings.
- Time management
Getting a business off the ground requires time and resources. Keeping it off the ground requires A LOT of time and resources. This includes constant phone calls with the investors, meetings on top of meetings, one-on-one chats with employees and a never-ending barrage of questions that need to be answered and messes that need to be sorted, asap. Without an effective strategy for managing your time and resources, you will quickly become overwhelmed and worse, let your company stray of the envisioned path.
Double-booking and multitasking only provide an illusion of productivity. Keep a tight schedule, but make sure you get plenty of rest. While the general population may be infatuated with the idea of entrepreneurs working 20-hour shifts until they make it, you need to be sharp on your toes at any given moment and not dozing off due to sleep deprivation.
- Finding the right people for the job
As much as solopreneurs hate to admit, entrepreneurship is all about dealing with people. You need to communicate your vision to just the right investors, find the right workforce to realize it and deliver to the right audiences. Some skills you do need to acquire, but some can easily be outsourced to Houston application development brands or website design agencies. Why break your head with website creation or app development when you can outsource those reliable companies to do it for you and focus on improving the business as a whole.
- Making a sale
Your ability to complete a sale is intrinsically linked to your ability to communicate, but conveying your vision is one thing and selling it is something completely different. Fortunately, it is not as difficult as one would imagine. In fact, most of us have already done it before, namely by presenting a portfolio of our skills and selling them for profits (i.e. sending a CV and getting a job). Just remember to A/B test your ideas, avoid making hard pitches and focus more on providing a solution to a problem instead of merely completing a sale.
- Being a leader
Leadership can be thought of as a way of setting an example that others will follow. Maintaining this train of thought is particularly important in times of need when a company is struggling and the employees start to worry about the next paycheck. When their financial future becomes unpredictable and uncertainty starts to pervade, it’s your obligation as a leader to provide reassurance and protect and value the interests of your employees.
You cannot expect others to follow your commands when you yourself are not setting a high standard and failing to provide your workers with the necessary motivation and the tools they need to get the job done. Being a leader has less to do with holding a certain position and more with upholding the moral authority and professional integrity at the intersection of leadership and entrepreneurship.
- Knowing when to say no
As a successful business owner, there will be times when you’re simply going to have to say no. Any request the compromises yours or your company’s above-mentioned professional integrity needs to be met with a firm no, regardless of whether you’re talking to a filthy rich investor, a family member or anyone else. You need to say no, or else you’ll run yourself and your business to the ground by participating in activities that take considerable amounts of time and resources. You might feel guilty after some of them, but making it to the top does require its fair share of sacrifice.
Anyone can start a business, but seasoned entrepreneurs know the importance of investing in yourself. They learn valuable skills and polish them over time, work on maintaining their strengths and improving their weaknesses. Communication, sales, time and resource management are just some of the main skills that make a successful entrepreneur. Are there any others you think deserve to be on this list? Let us know in the comments.