In today’s competitive world, entrepreneurs would be best advised not to rely on the brilliance of their idea alone. What sets entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the flock are the character traits they possess, not the idea or money. So it’s only natural that as an aspiring entrepreneur, you would want to hone those skills that you feel you lack, and amplify those that you already possess. Here are the top 5:
When starting out, entrepreneurs rely heavily on their ability to not only sell the product/idea, but themselves to. All you’re doing is selling, selling and more selling from the onset. Because even if you don’t consider yourself a salesperson, you are essentially still in the sales industry. So the more skillful you are at selling, the higher the chances that your venture will succeed.
It’s worth noting the different sales efforts you’ll be making: selling to consumers online, via phone, to individuals or corporations, to potential employees, and to investors. Venture capitalists in particular expect you to sell yourself to them. They want to know if you can be trusted to deliver. They want to know your skills, and the level of your passion.
Remember that as the entrepreneur/CEO, you wear many hats; you run administration, sales, recruitment, advertising, online presence and everything in between. If you think you’re not the best salesperson at the moment, the only way to fix that is through practice, practice and more practice.
Many entrepreneurs cannot be faulted on this, but there’s a lot more to passion than just the love for your product. Once people see the passion in you (they’ll pick up any hints to the contrary), they are likely to trust you more and do business with you.
Passion is what spurts out the much-needed drive for you to push on with your cause. It defines your attitude, energy, and willingness to persevere. If you approach investors, they must be able to see the passion in you.
Passion is also, crucially, the driving force behind your desire to learn more along the way. Because in business, learning just never stops [link] – when it does, your business will be going under. To become a master in whatever trade you’re in, you must read, and watch all the relevant material, whether it’s books, journals, YouTube videos, expert blogs, courses… even attending conferences that will teach you a thing or two about the business.
Focus may be just what separates successful people from the not-so-successful people. Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors the world has ever seen, noted that focus is indeed the most important factor that determines whether or not a person will succeed. He decided focus all his energies on the business of investing. And that has seen his company go from $8 a share in 1965, to over $150k today.
Focus has a lot to do with your vision for the company, and the ability to see to its implementation. Jeff Bezos,the Amazon CEO, advises entrepreneurs to be stubborn with their vision, but flexible with the details. In other words, you must do everything in your power to achieve what you have set out to do, but you can be flexible with the details of the execution along the way. And that kind of attitude is what has brought Amazon so far.
Bill gates also talked about focus, saying that it was ‘maniacal focus’ that has put him in his position today. Like Gates, you must focus on one thing at a time, not ten things which will require you to divide your attention. Because in the end, you’ll under-deliver on all of them despite stretching yourself thin.
Focus also has a lot to do with decision-making. The hallmark of any successful entrepreneur, as you must already know, it the ability to make sound decisions and stick by them. After you decide which business to go into, you’ll be tasked with smart decisions on funding, marketing, production, distribution and an array of other pertinent decisions. All that requires great focus on your part.
4. Time management and planning
To become an effective CEO, time management has to be among the top on your list of qualities. Entrepreneurs are famous for the long hours and shifts they put in every day, so diligence shouldn’t be a big problem. However, time management may still present a challenge to entrepreneurs who haven’t cultivated a culture of discipline with their time.
There always are distractions that bombard us from time to time, and they really are the last thing you need when trying to focus. For instance, responding to emails on the go, chatting on social networks, gaming, and other activities that eat up so much time and derail our initial focus.
With effective planning, we can schedule our activities to be done at the most appropriate times without being overbearing on our time. But this really is an art that every entrepreneur must learn in order to become an effective manager. Check out these quotes for entrepreneurs.
5. Communication and people skills
Communication is a pivotal skill to any entrepreneur, as the execution of everything really depends on the effectiveness of their communication. For instance, you wouldn’t make a great salesperson without the essential skill of persuasion. You can’t properly execute your planning without proper communication skills, and your passion may not come out as strongly to the people that matter if your communication skills are wanting.
A core communication skill that does wonders for your business is writing. With customer conversion a crucial concern for every business, it’s little wonder why some of the top copywriters charge upwards of $10,000 for a single sales page. Great writing is needed in your newsletters, press releases, advertising copy and when you make your own blog, in the web copy. You need to master the art of persuasion through your writing to able to succeed in most industries.
There are a number of skills that many entrepreneurs have mastered, but the above 5 should provide the core. Granted, not all entrepreneurs share the exact same traits, so it would do you a lot more good than harm learning about some of the top inspirational entrepreneurs and picking up from them what you think will work for you.
Karl is a guest blogger and contributor to Make-a-Web-site.com