Top 5 skills for entrepreneurs
As a serial entrepreneur and someone who has worked with entrepreneurs extensively, I have thought long and hard about what it takes to succeed as a member of this entrepreneurial tribe. How can it be summed up concisely and taught? Who can do it? What are the most important lessons? Tactics? Hard-wired qualities? These are things I have asked myself over and over.
Truth is, the entrepreneurial journey isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires you to dig deep and discover what you’re really made of. Problem solving becomes the norm and acquiring new skills a necessity. So, what are the most important things to know? Here’s my very unscientific observation:
Be tenacious – You must be willing to stick with your business through thick and thin. Many fail simply because they give up too early. It’s much easier to quit than to work through all of the many things you must learn to be successful. There will be catastrophes, hardships and problems as well as victories and successes. Accept the bad with the good and learn that the seemingly bad side of things is what propels you forward because nothing changes when things are running smoothly.
Be patient - Today’s society teaches instant gratification but there is no such thing in the entrepreneurial world. Patience with employees, vendors, clients, systems and most importantly, yourself, is key. There is no such thing as get rich quick. Whatever comes quickly also goes quickly so patience with the process is vital. I once asked for patience but soon realized that I was granted experiences that taught me patience. Learning patience was misery but now that I have the skill, it’s all gratitude for the lesson. Life is much more peaceful.
Be a lifelong student – School is so structured that you’re a “student” while in grade school or college but no longer labeled as such once you leave that environment. However, to be successful, you must continue learning. Read industry periodicals and non-fiction business books to learn from others who have gone before you. Take a class that will improve your skills. Be open to new thoughts or ideas. We are all programmed by our environment growing up. Question those norms. Learn to think. The time goes by anyway and those who are constantly learning outpace those who don’t in earnings.
Get a coach – All athletes have a coach. Even the best ones in the world! We entrepreneurs need one too. But choose wisely. I see many people who spend thousands of their hard-earned dollars on coaching or training that has little or no real positive impact on their bottom line. Many times, this is because they aren’t yet ready for what the coaching or training offers. It’s not going to magically make your life better. You need a coach who can meet you where you are and help you grow from there. For me, I needed some life coaching first so that I could get my personal affairs in order enough to then work on the business part. I found a coach who saw my willingness and worked within my meager budget. I credit her with helping me succeed in life.
Watch your expenses – Business owners sometimes think that because an expense is deductible, it’s okay to pay. However, the money is still gone, and the tax saved with the deduction is only a fraction of the expense. Make sure whatever you are purchasing will add to your net income! It takes money to make money, but we always have choices as to what to spend that money on. Dip your toe in the water before jumping all in with your entire life savings. Just because the expense is deductible doesn’t mean it’s prudent or will help your business grow.
Summing it all up, learn to stretch outside of your comfort zone. Those who do come out not only with the money but with the confidence earned by having learned the things that will help to make them successful at just about everything they choose to do.