Skills of an Entrepreneur: 10 Must-Have Skills for Entrepreneurship (2021)
10 Must-Have Skills of an Entrepreneur
The word “entrepreneurship” comes from, yet another word entrepreneur, and that, in turn, originated from the French verb entreprendre. Entreprendre in French, in olden times, meant “to do something” or “to undertake” and within another few centuries, the word “entrepreneur” was being used for someone who undertook a business undertaking.
In today’s world entrepreneur is an individual who starts by innovating an idea; an idea could be a service, goods, procedure, or product and uses the knowledge, skills, capital, etc to sell the idea as a business venture for producing economic growth.
They may have to endure high risks, suffer losses, face issues with different entities of their business, or even might fail, ending in an economic breakdown, on the other hand, the idea of a successful venture gives them a good profit, fame, and continued growth.
Coming back to entrepreneurship, it is briefly the whole process where an entrepreneur designs, creates, launches manages, and then runs his or her product to sell in the business market. Managing entrepreneurship makes the entrepreneur battle any challenges that may come while driving this process from transforming the idea to a product.
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Entrepreneur in an Entrepreneurship
When it comes to working and earning, people prefer starting something of their own, rather than working as an employee for an employer. Yet, it takes a lot of courage, hard work, and whatnot to set a successful structured business.
A question that is still open for so many people who dream to stand on their own feet is that – Whether they have what is needed out there, within them? Is there a certain measured skill, a definite capability that is determinedly needed to be an entrepreneur?
We all have heard about millionaires who started with comparatively negligible capital in their pockets and yet ended up making a fortune. Then, we all also have heard about multi-billion dollar companies that ended up in nothing, without a long duration of warning descent time.
These both things can for sure tell us that it takes a lot of work not just in taking a business to a successful height, but also retaining it there. It is not easy to retain an increasing or even steady profit sometimes, to always satisfy high maintenance clients, to get growing sales every quarter, to not have to disrupt issues in the way of your productiveness, or to keep having the right customer feedback in every go.
Therefore it is a struggle to keep the business growing or even steady at times and for that, an entrepreneur has to be an owner of several skills and capabilities of intellectual, psychological, knowledge, and even behavioral merit.
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Skills of an entrepreneur
To be someone to be smarter and successful in a role, that someone has to have a certain kind of talent or skill that makes them good in it. The skills of entrepreneurs would mean, the traits that make business leaders successful.
Yet, the thought-provoking part is that how with the same amount and variety of knowledge, say within two different students of one class, one person tends to do very well and yet others not as much. So, how does one person deal with a situation differently while another equally knowledgeable person can not be that efficient?
Though many people tried to understand this corollary, yet there were no definite answers. However, the only basis behind any answer is that they have to be different from the rest of the world in many ways to do what others can’t so easily. But still, there is no perfect formula for being a successful entrepreneur.
Below are some required skills of an entrepreneur that are gathered from most of the people who were able to win despite hardships, due to their capabilities
1. Long-term vision
A long-term vision is a personal trait needed not just for a successful entrepreneur, but for a great leader too. If a company head does not have a long-term vision, then they obviously won’t survive for a longer duration. A CEO or a VP of a company needs to have answers to certain questions like
- Where do we see the company and its growth in another five years, ten years, fifteen years, or twenty-five years?
- If that is a certain growth we aim for, how do we plan to achieve it?
- Do we need any kind of acquiring to be done with the current situation of the company? If we need to enter into a new sector that we dream of, do we need an acquiring or start from scratch into that business?
The long-term vision is not just related to the growth of the company but also the people in the organization. A leader is not a good leader unless he is a good people leader. A good leader must have a road map for how people in his organization will fit into the whole picture of the growth.
Now, there could be different types of long-term goals that people might have, for example, they might think they want to see an increase in their wealth or expand their business into newer opportunities. Depending on whatever the goal is, what is needed is that it is defined first, then strategized and planned, further broken into responsibilities, and taken ahead.
However, to better monitor the plan on every level the goals are to be measurable and that can only happen when we have KPIs in place to continuously and rigorously measure them. Industries that have the biggest workforces and that are spread multi-nationally also work on the fundamentals of putting the goal into a plan, then put the plan into gaugeable objectives and meticulously measure them with KPI scales. Hence, the long-term goals are achievable only when the entrepreneurs have a long-term vision and potential to work on them too.
2. Creative capacity
Change is accelerating every day and anyone who has been old enough for around thirty years can tell you what a shift of global paradigm has the world seen in these last few decades. This is the world of ever-changing definitions where even the parameters of growth are changing, yet only one thing is permanent and that is that it will always change.
When it is hard to ignore something, success belongs to people who align themselves with the problem. Therefore, considering the situation is unpredictable, there is a constant need for re-inventing or what is called tapping one’s creative capacity.
The business enterprisers have to be extremely creative and flexible in their approach of how to create new and adaptive meanings in a market, that decides the enterprise’s sales and growth. He or she also has to set similar expectations from their executives – on how to disrupt legacy business models, leapfrog beyond traditional styles of work, and be more innovative. The leader has to organize themselves in a way that channels their untapped and inherent creativity.
For instance, the current age demands that everything from promoting the business product to selling it must be done on the internet. Due to this shift of trend from market to internet, the legacy businesses had to change themselves immensely and only the ones that could creatively change everything were the successful ones.
But, you see, just changing from legacy to digital does not end the shift of transformation, what’s most required to win the digital competition is – creative thinking and willingness to embrace the change that technology brings. That said, the business bosses can’t rely on their employees to adjust to the new technologies unless they have that shift of mind where they are willing to create and establish new in a positive manner, which will inspire their employees to follow them. History has seen many businesses end and many star entrepreneurs and professionals finish just because they could not move with the trend.
The test of the time is on again, the coronavirus has hit the world and they say that never has the world seen this unpredictable and catastrophic hit that has made the chaotic world come to standstill. Post the tragedy, when people come to pick up the bits they see that every supply chain is damaged, the losses have piled up and we don’t know how long will it take to get normal again, also what will be the new normal. Now, only the ones who know how to creatively re-invent will be finding a “new normal” and work with it.
Steven Pinker a psychologist and an author’s viral tweet says –
“Because most people are pessimistic about the world, the optimist has a competitive advantage”.
Why a business leader has to be an unshakeable optimist? Inspiration inspires men to reach where even men with the attitude of real seeking vantage can’t reach. Most of these optimist leaders are great communicators too and you can’t leave their talk without being motivated as they speak from their hearts.
The other rationale is that optimists find learning in failure too and inspire the creativity in their organization also to create something new out of a ruckus. They are future-oriented thinkers and have a far look to visualize how something can be turned into again for everyone.
But let us contemplate, as an employee how would one want their bosses or organization’s rule code for oneself. Naturally, they would want their organization to have a positive culture that is inspired by an optimistic belief system, and that in turn creates a win-win situation for everyone. Also, they say, optimistic behaviors are contagious and people surrounded by happy people are more likely to be happy themselves.
They also have a successful mindset that can find success in a deal and not focus on what went wrong. Even when they look at what went wrong their focus is to correct the mistake, not on how to blame it on someone.
As Winston Churchill once said – “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”.
A business personage has got to be self-motivated to run a growing enterprise. It is a leader’s job to inspire and pump the team, for them to deliver their best; moreover, as their goals and initiatives come from the leader itself, they will be more inspired by the leader himself to be the motivator.
Now, in the lack of self-motivation, how is the leader supposed to lay this set-up of possibilities for all the others. But since the leaders themselves can’t rely on someone to motivate them, they have to stay self-motivated, though of course, they can get mentorship from somebody, staying motivated and finding solutions is part of their own job and skills.
Business leaders have to lead by example and their employees will follow them. Self-motivated managers are usually highly goal-oriented and with these, they establish objectives for themselves. According to a few studies, self-motivated managers perform at a higher level than their counterparts who are not self-motivated.
These individuals view problems as opportunities and challenge their workers to perform at the best of their abilities. Self-motivated leaders have a vision for their team also; they use performance evaluations as planning tools, encouraging their employees to seek training to improve their abilities & performance.
Further, lack of motivation perpetuates an environment of negativity and people adapt to another way of getting work done like nagging, criticism. There is no need to tell that these ways further deteriorate the office domain and bring out the worse in anybody. As a leader, it is their job to bring out the best in everyone and hence it is their duty to build a positive habitat for everyone to work constructively.
5. Risk Tolerance
Risk tolerance is an essential trait of a winning entrepreneur, per se, as it is exclusively important to business dealings. A business leader has to take risks to make a new leap; say, for instance, acquiring a new trade that is going in loss or maybe sometimes to plan his masked game for a long-term profit for a business that is not profitable as of today.
In business, one can’t always play safe to win, it is inevitable that situations will need one to take risks and therefore one has to grow comfortable with the unpredictability of the path.
Studies of the entrepreneurial personality have shown that along with innovativeness and the need for achievement, the entrepreneurs need to cope better with stress and respond more quickly to problems. The willingness to thrive under pressure and dive in are fundamental characteristics of high tolerance of risk.
Let us say, starting a business at an early age means risking one’s social status, income, and all of the free time; it also means that one has to be dependent on economic income on their spouse and other times on their parents. Therefore, we all know that most startups fail but once one has started the risk of being on an entrepreneurial path, one gets used to taking up the challenges and that’s why if the risk tolerance is not high, one will not see a bigger success.
Not to forget that when an entrepreneur takes the risk, though the staff and people around support you in the wins, but start losing out on the leader if the failure comes and starts impacting them. So it is not a secret that one has to be ready for any kind of situation in an optimistic mindset seeking the right opportunity. Thereby a business leader has to be ready for risk tolerance of any kind in his journey for the better.
6. Time Management
This is again one of the key qualities needed to be a winning business leader. An everyday pattern of a CEO or a VP is that they have various areas to manage, some to supervise, peek in others, rigorously study the rest, talk to everyday people, have status meetings with the employees, have client deal meetings, etc and the list never ends.
Everything is a priority and if the leaders let loose on a few areas, they might have to pay for it later. How do they deal with this kind of every day with an optimized and productive regimen but not a stressful one though? Now, here is exactly where the time management formula enters.
Time management is all about streamlining the tasks by automating the routine ones, delegating the ones that can be supervised, and categorizing the to-do items to make a priority list. A priority list goes a long way in planning the whole day to make things easy.
It can prioritize the highly detailed tasks that need maximum attention to take the part of the day that only has less disturbance and high energy. However, the important part of planning the day is that it is that for a brain to work efficiently the duration of divided breaks is needed. Overall everything, almost everything can be managed with the help of systematic and methodical time planning efforts.
An entrepreneur has to break down the bigger goals of the organization into smaller goals and distribute them in departments, further in employees, or even their selves. Though that itself does not finish their tasks, they have to devise strategies to achieve these goals, they further need to put strategies into action and then supervise if the action is happening or not.
Goal-oriented entrepreneurs achieve great results just because they work towards distinct and quantifiable targets. Working towards clearly gaugeable goals is essential as then you can measure your current work against your targets since clarity is indispensable.
The difference between a goal achiever and an unsuccessful person is that a successful entrepreneur thinks about what they want to achieve and how to get it most of the time, however, another person thinks about what they have not got and crib about it.
Many real-time successful entrepreneurs credit what they achieve most to their future orientation and imagining where they want to see themselves in another few future years. As they say, success does not just happen by chance, first, we create it in our mind and then we create it in reality.
8. Social Skills
Though social skills have always been a vital requirement in an entrepreneur across generations, what has changed is that entrepreneurs from today have to be even active on social media along with socializing in-person with people. With the internet media, entrepreneurs have the potential to introduce themselves to the society of netizens and that is quite a massive population across ages, countries, and trends.
Business leaders introduce themselves on professional platforms like LinkedIn, stay connected with social platforms like Twitter, and keep active by writing blogs about their life and work journey. Apart from personal networking they also make important announcements and publicize their products or services using these networks with innumerable netizens. This kind of publicity helps in sales of the business as people develop a soft corner for the entrepreneur and the corporation he’s addressing.
Apart from this, in-person social skills are very important for entrepreneurs as they have to interact with hundreds of people in a day including their employees, direct clients, external traders, suppliers, venture capitalists, middlemen, contractors, etc. In all of these conversations business leaders have to rely on their social skills to form relationships, convince people of their ideas & vision, and create an environment of collaboration to function smoothly.
Research suggests that socially competent leaders create more potent results, win more deals and funding, are financially more triumphant, use persuasiveness to their advantage, are more expressive and can express their ideas to win results, are accurate in their judgments about trusting people, and are neutral in social gatherings hence attracting no negative judgments.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to accurately perceive your own as well as other’s emotion and to manage your own emotion accordingly. If an entrepreneur is emotionally intelligent he or she can reap a lot of benefits with this skill, have a happy employee base and happy vendors, resulting in positive output.
9. Situational Leadership Style
An entrepreneur has to be an effective leader in a variety of situations, in a different set of teams. They are decision-makers and bosses to whom everybody looks up to and thereby this point of situational leadership is something that should be well versed in their personality.
The entrepreneurs should have a versatile personality since they can’t play everyone with just a serious attitude or playful, friendly ways in all situations. Thereby, they need to balance all the kinds of attitudes in their personality and pay heed to a situational leadership style that changes according to a situation, time, or team.
10. Problem solver
Business leaders have to be problem-solvers for themselves, they must know how to break any stumbling block into smaller defined issues. As a founder of an organization and the leader of the teams, they will be responsible for identifying and solving the problems of their customers, employees, and the company in general.
But as it is, problem-solving is a skill but not inherent it has to be cultivated and improved over time. Moreover, everybody is an audience to how the leader reacts to a problem, do they stay calm or do they become chaotic. These small personality traits display a lot about the person in charge.
When it comes to identifying a problem and working towards it, you can only start with general, figure it out, break it into smaller pieces, and then work towards specific details. They have to get inside, understand the necessary specifics, and make the sense out of it.
The baseline is that they need to be good at making everything simple and making it simpler for everyone. Once the problem is broken and given to their respective experts the complexity usually dies. Thereby a problem-solving entrepreneur goes a long way, most of all is liked by all as everyone like their life to be simpler and last but not least do not have to be an expert in every field since they know how to venture into everything to get what they need.
Hereby, I tried to sum up all the necessary personality traits of successful entrepreneurs. These characteristic words kind of have a connection with each other and you can see a shadow of one trait in another. For instance, in our daily lives, we may have seen people who are optimists, are also good with social skills, and also have a great leadership style.
These people are not hard to find in real life we all have heard about miraculous stories of people like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs who built their empires from scratch. If you get to know any of those people in detail, you will see a reflection of these personality traits in them and much more.