Anyone can be an entrepreneur. Alas, not everyone has the proper skills necessary to succeed as an entrepreneur. The right skills are certainly a plus, but just like an athlete, an entrepreneur can always learn and hone his or her skills to improve performance.
A small business owner new to the world business ownership may have many struggles ahead of them. A trial-by-fire and learn-as-you-go type of training is undesirable, but sometimes necessary. However, any new entrepreneur with the following skills will experience much less frustration and much more success.
At the top of the list is communication. While this encompasses a broad scope, our belief is that for an entrepreneur to succeed, he or she must have that intangible “people skill” that makes an individual a magnet to others. Communication skills may include:
- Storytelling – Telling an anecdote, joke, or simple story in such a way that encapsulates an audience.
- Presentational – A highly effective entrepreneur will make strategic presentations that convince and influence.
- Diplomacy – The art of diplomacy will result in a win-win situation in all types of situations.
- Tact – This comes in handy when being a leader, a negotiator, boss, partner, and many more.
While listening is technically part of communication, we believe it deserves its own heading. It’s not enough to simply talk. And talking too soon leads to rash decisions and even regrettable statements.
Being a careful listener is a learned skill. It takes practice. Learning how to stop and gather details from a potential business partner is the right way to determine the most strategic response. Listening can help an entrepreneur effectively deal with employee issues.
A successful entrepreneur will take the time needed to hone this skill to perfection.
An entrepreneurial small business owner needs to know the art of negotiation in order to make the best decisions and deals that set a business up for success. Negotiation is another learned skill, and it is usually learned at a young age. Remember successfully negotiating with mom and dad if you could stay up just five more minutes? It’s this type of skill that helps a young entrepreneur configure a win-win deal with customers, clients, vendors, suppliers, staff, etc.
How does a business operate? Through the policies and procedures determined by the business owner. However, these operational decisions are also known as administration. The owner gets to choose the hours when the business is open, when employees need to be present and working, how to process sales and sales fulfillment, and how to pay accounts payable invoices when received.
It comes down to a thousand and more little decisions that make the business processes the most efficient and the most profitable. While administration is not inherent, it does take practice and a keen perception to fine-tune, especially in areas where a small business owner is not well practiced, such as accounting, marketing, or even customer service.
Many entrepreneurs have great business ideas, but are deficient in leadership skills. Leadership is a recipe that requires a bit of everything: good communication, listening, presentational, business processing, decision-making, and more. And that is why leadership can be an acquired skill.
Good leadership requires that a business owner be motivational to his or her staff, management, and employees. It requires making sound and good decisions. A good leader will be an example in his or her behavior. It also means forming business strategies and presenting goals to workers. And it requires flexibility, as all good business leaders know that change is the only constant.
An entrepreneur is the biggest cheerleader on the team. Even before the business is off the ground, an entrepreneur must promote his or her experience and expertise, as well as the business concept to potential investors. An entrepreneur will need to promote his or her business to clients, business partner, and other joint venture possibilities as well. And since the entrepreneur has the business vision, it’s up to him or her to make the right decisions on promoting and marketing the product or service to the end customer.