Do you want to be your own boss, pursue your true passion, work your own hours, and make your own business decisions?
Being an entrepreneur is all of those things and more, but for many, it can feel like a daunting first step to take. Starting a business entails taking on a lot of risk and uncertainty. In fact, the Merriam-Webster definition of an entrepreneur is a person who “assumes the risks of a business or enterprise”.
However, if you are very passionate about your business idea, don’t let uncertainty deter you – becoming an entrepreneur is also one of the most creative and satisfying types of careers.
To give you some motivation to initiate the next step, or polish up on some of your abilities, we’ve compiled a list of the essential skills that indicate entrepreneurship readiness. To include entrepreneurs in all types of industries, we are focusing on soft skills. Soft skills are typically social characteristics relating to personality and ability to communicate, and they are much harder to learn than hard skills. In today’s business landscape, soft skills are crucial.
Without further ado, here are the six skills you need to become a successful entrepreneur.
To be empathetic is to have a deep understanding of someone else’s feelings, thoughts, or experiences. Essentially empathy is the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes; to see things from their perspective.
Empathy is a superpower that all successful entrepreneurs share. They know their target customers remarkably well and understand their needs, wants, and desires. They know what is keeping their customers up at night – and have developed a product or service to solve that problem.
Recent research shows that 42 percent of startups fail because they neglected to solve a market problem. Brush up on your empathy skills, and you won’t become a statistic.
“One of the greatest skills of leadership is being unflappable. Anytime you do anything in the world; there’s going to be criticism.”
-Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Huffington Post Media Group
Being unflappable, or as we call it in this list – persistence – is another essential skill for entrepreneurship readiness. Successful founders have all remained unwaveringly dedicated to their business during the highest highs and the lowest lows.
You must be able to commit to a strategy and stick with it. Effective leaders never jump ship at the first rough patch they hit. If you are passionate about your business, persistence will come naturally. Every successful entrepreneur has failed at some point, but thanks to their tenacity, they never gave up. They stood up, dusted themselves off, and tried again. You too will persevere.
3. Ability to Pivot
Persistence is a double-edged sword because one day you have to stop persisting; at some point in your company’s lifecycle, you will not be able to continue anymore. Successful entrepreneurs know when the time comes to cut their losses and re-focus their energy in a new direction.
Consumer and business landscapes are continually changing, so every entrepreneur will eventually have to pivot the course of business. This pivot could be a change of product or an adjustment of the target market – or both. If you are contemplating taking your business to the next level but are not sure how to turn your ideas into a tangible strategy, a business consulting company can bring significant value to you.
Whether they are talking to potential customers, motivating their team, pitching ideas to investors, or nurturing valuable partnerships, all prosperous entrepreneurs have the skill of charismatic communication in their toolbox. Successful founders who are not very outgoing communicators themselves have a comrade who is. Take Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, for example.
However, being an inspirational communicator doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be outgoing. If you have developed a combination of empathy (see first skill), excellent storytelling ability and confidence, you are well on your way to becoming skillful at effectively communicating your message.
Being an entrepreneur is one of the careers that require the most creativity. After all, in order to succeed, you must first understand how to differentiate your company from the millions of others out there. Creativity goes hand in hand with empathy when it comes to identifying a unique consumer problem and developing a top-class product or service to solve it.
Entrepreneurs do not succeed by merely performing redundant tasks. Instead, they are always attempting innovative ideas and creative techniques for operating their company. Trust us – no one gets it right the first time. If you find yourself stuck in a creative rut, look into a strategic business consulting company that can help you understand your true entrepreneurship potential.
6. Risk Taking
“If you tune it so that you have zero chance of failure, you usually also have zero chance of success. The key is to look at ways for when you get to your failure checkpoint, you know to stop.” -Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn
Why become an entrepreneur if you are not willing to take risk? If you are thinking about becoming a business owner, it is reasonable to believe that you are inherently a risk-taker. Every single victorious entrepreneur has taken numerous risks to start a company.
Jeff Bezos had a profitable finance career before quitting to create Amazon. Mark Zuckerberg used his time at Harvard to build Facebook instead of doing homework and studying for tests. Steve Jobs left college to build computers in a garage.
You must have the courage to take an idea, push away the doubt and take a big step into the unknown.
While there is no secret formula for becoming a successful entrepreneur, you need more than just a great idea to succeed. All influential business owners hold some combination of the skills in this list to effectively manage all aspects of their company. If you find that many of these skills come naturally to you, or you have learned to do them very well, that is a sign you can be a successful entrepreneur. If you nurture and build upon the personality traits that you already have and spend time on learning and improving upon the others, you will be well on your way to success.