9 Entrepreneurial Skills You Must Have
May 29, 2017, 2:00 pm
So you want to start your own business, right? Your employers aren’t paying you the kind of money you think you deserve so you want to start your own business and earn all the money you deserve.
Well, that is all well and good. It’s a noble thing to want to do right for yourself in this world, I salute you. But do you really know what it takes to start and succeed in business? Have you considered the entrepreneurial skills needed to succeed in business?
The media likes to celebrate the success stories of entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Bimbo Awosika, Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga etc. without giving people the complete story. In fact, when you watch a 2-hour movie like the, ‘The Social Network,’ you might begin to think starting a business goliath like Facebook can be achieved in less than a year! If only it was that easy.
As someone who has been lucky to start a successful business, I can tell you first-hand that my notion of what it takes to be successful in business has been totally altered from the things I read in books, saw on T.V etc. The market is harsh my friend and if you don’t have something compelling to offer it, you will be swept aside faster than a terrible singer at a Project Fame audition.
If you are serious about becoming a successful entrepreneur, then you must be ready to face some harsh truths about the world of business. Your failure to do this will send your business to the mortuary of failed businesses.
There are 9 entrepreneurial skills you must be have if you want to even have a fighting chance of succeeding with your new business idea.
- Strong reason for starting a business
Not just your particular business, but any business. Your motivations can be a big factor in how successful your business will be. Necessity is the mother of invention, as they say, so the more compelling your motivation, the more likely you will be to succeed. Are you slowly dying under the crushing weight of a job you hate? Do you need more money to realize a goal? Do you feel a calling to change the world in some way? Those are among the reasons why the most successful business gets and stay off ground. This is one of the entrepreneurial skills you must have.
2. Ability to handle failure
That’s not to say every new business venture fails, but all entrepreneurs suffer some form of setback along the path to success. The media always manage to skip those parts when they are telling the stories of successful business men and women. Some people take failure as a rejection from which they can never bounce back. Others see it as a learning opportunity. Starting a business is largely a testing exercise: you have an idea, and you test it. If it works, you keep doing it, and if it doesn’t, you figure out what went wrong and re-evaluate. Successful entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to go back to the drawing board. In the words of Charlie Munger, they don’t suffer from ‘first instance bias’ i.e. their first ideas or notion isn’t cast in stone, it can be changed if the facts or experience doesn’t support it. This is one of the entrepreneurial skills you must have.
3. Ability to identify and articulate good ideas
Lots of people—maybe everyone—have what they consider to be ‘good’ ideas, but they can’t always articulate why. If you can’t defend your business idea, you’ve lost sight of a huge part of being a new entrepreneur. Customers need a compelling call to action as to why they should take a chance on your product or service. Investors want to know exactly how your product will fill a new void or solve an existing problem in a better way. This is one of the entrepreneurial skills you must have.
4. Ability to turn ideas or concept into products
Generating revenue is the central point of any business. Anything else is a non-profit venture. It’s rare these days for a company to raise funding without nothing more than a good idea and a revenue plan to follow—eventually. That just won’t cut it in 2017. If you’re selling a product or service, what is your pricing model? In any case, it’s important to know how and when your business will become cash-flow positive if you want anyone to take you seriously. This is one of the entrepreneurial skills you must have.
5. Knowledge of their ideal customer
In coming up with a business idea you’ll actually act on, a big component is being able to answer the question, “Who is buying whatever it is I’m selling?”—and don’t say “everyone” Rare is a product so revolutionary that literally everyone is a potential customer. It doesn’t work like that in the real world. It all comes down to finding holes in the market and figuring out which customers are languishing in those voids. Federal Express was just a regular courier service company. Things didn’t take off for them until they focused all their energy on delivering overnight packages and they actively sought out people, and businesses that needed such services. This is one of the entrepreneurial skills you must have.
6. Knowledge of people who can help them achieve their goals
Successful entrepreneurs know when having a great idea is not enough, and they know exactly which people to bring aboard the bus to make their idea a reality. If you have an idea for a website, for example, do you know who’s going to code it for you? Conversely, if you are a developer with an idea, are you prepared to market and sell the site yourself, or is there someone better suited to the job? Success is a collaborative thing. Success often hinges on letting go of your ego—and a few shares in your new company. This is one of the key entrepreneurial skills you must have.
7. Strong commitment or focus
It’s rare that any start-up becomes an overnight success. Even the ones that seem to are typically in development for years before you ever hear about them. Expect countless hours of brainstorming, testing, development and evaluation, all before you ever see your first Naira of profit. Are you prepared to make that sacrifice? It’s fine if you aren’t, but that is a huge sign that owning a business might not be for you. It’s rare that any successful company started and remained anyone’s “side business” At some point, you’ll have to dive in and commit to take it to the next level. Whether your goal is to grow the business into profitable fruition or build enough value so that you can make a tidy profit through acquisition, expect to dedicate several years of your life to it. This is one of the key entrepreneurial skills you must have.
8. Clear vision
This applies to the overall operating scope of your business. There’s nothing wrong with starting a small business as a source of revenue and keeping it that way—not every restaurant owner dreams of franchising. There’s also nothing wrong with dreaming of building a global empire. Either way, you need to be able to know your vision and be realistic about what’s needed to realize that vision. It’s rare that a musician explodes into the global stage without that being their intention from the beginning. If you hope to go big, this has to be on your radar from day one.
9. Willingness to become an employer
If your business grows beyond the start-up phase, chances are you’ll need to bring on employees to keep things growing and running smoothly. Are you prepared for that?
There’s a big difference between doing everything on your own and letting go to hand some responsibility over to your employees. Delegation is a skill that not everyone has, and it’s rarely tied to your abilities as a developer or executor of ideas.
I hope you consider these nine entrepreneurial skills before you begin the entrepreneurial journey in order to find out if it is the right road for you