7 Skills All Entrepreneurs Should Have
By Ashford University Staff
These days, anyone with a smartphone and an Instagram account can call themselves an entrepreneur. But what does it really take to transform an idea into a full-fledged business? Entrepreneurship may seem attractive to anyone who dreams of becoming their own boss. But any entrepreneur will tell you that starting a company has a lot more to do with reality than dreams. Here are seven important skills to consider before making the leap to entrepreneurship.
1. Productive Creativity
Creativity is a great start, but ideas alone are not enough to launch a business. Like sentences need nouns and verbs, entrepreneurs need thoughts and actions. What tangible steps are required to market, sell, and deliver your idea to the masses? Moreover, what sacrifices are you willing to make to ensure these action items are carried out?
2. Adaptable Focus
When new drivers learn how to operate a motor vehicle, they are often reminded to check rear view mirrors and survey the road ahead for any potential hazards. With more experience, they require fewer reminders, and their ability to shift focus becomes more natural. Similarly, entrepreneurs must seamlessly shift focus between past, present, and future. The ability to stay present while keeping in mind where you’ve been and where you’re headed will help keep your new business on course.
3. Effective Communication
Entrepreneurs must regularly communicate with different personality types across the business spectrum, including skeptical investors, demanding clients, and high-maintenance vendors, to name a few. Ineffective communication may wreak havoc on a business and keep entrepreneurs from closing deals, retaining employees, and more. Luckily, an abundance of user- and budget-friendly resources are readily available online, making it easier than ever for business owners to communicate in engaging and efficient ways. For example, cloud-based customer relationship management programs (CRMs) streamline information exchanges between clients, vendors, and staff. Messaging apps keep conversations quick and productive, often minimizing the need for lengthy meetings. Website-building software enables new business owners to distribute their brand message to the world within a matter of minutes. And social media platforms help foster genuine relationship-building with current and potential clients.
Great entrepreneurs demonstrate an acute awareness of themselves and their surroundings. On a personal level, they know when to put in overtime and when to come up for air. On a company level, they routinely identify strengths and weaknesses. On an industry level, they pay careful attention to customers, competitors, and trends. On a global level, they recognize important shifts in culture and technology. This awareness – often based on research, but sometimes based on pure instinct – allows entrepreneurs to pounce on opportunities and nip potential problems in the bud.
Organization is paramount for any emerging entrepreneur, particularly in regard to time and money. Many business owners begin with limited staff and cash (if any), so they must learn how to manage and account for every hour and dollar spent. Furthermore, various legal and tax compliance aspects of business ownership require detailed paperwork, receipts, and other documentation. Fortunately, entrepreneurs can outsource much of this work to trusted professionals, or at the very least, utilize various online organizational tools to help with time, data, and financial management.
6. Impenetrable Confidence
It only takes one episode of Shark Tank to witness the difference between a confident and not-so-confident entrepreneur. The former has an unwavering faith in their product or service, while the latter completely crumbles under pressure. Confident entrepreneurs advocate for themselves and will turn down multi-million dollar deals if the terms do not align with their core beliefs. They weather storms of criticism and survive avalanches of rejection through sheer optimism and determination. While no one is completely immune to moments of insecurity, great entrepreneurs are too busy moving forward to wallow in self-inflicted negativity.
7. Desire to Learn and Grow
Great entrepreneurs, however confident, never stop acquiring new skills and developing new ways to stay relevant within their industry and within the world. With this mentality, both successes and failures provide crucial learning opportunities. Any business owner’s refusal to change with the times is essentially an invitation for the competition to swallow them whole.
Is Entrepreneurship for You?
Obstacles facing new business owners are numerous, as are the skills required to navigate them. What some people find overwhelming, others find exciting. If any or all of these traits resonate with you, perhaps you are ready to make the leap into entrepreneurship. Contact us to request more information on Ashford University’s Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurship.
Written by Ashford University staff