Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about the business side of things. You might be tempted to think that you can simply start your business and run it mechanically, tending to financial matters and neglecting your personal skills. You’d be making a grave mistake if you thought this, though. There’s a lot more to being an entrepreneur than just having a good head for business. Your personal skills are crucial to developing connections, keeping staff interested, and building a positive reputation as an entrepreneur. Here are 10 personal skills every entrepreneur needs.
1. Emotional intelligence
One of the most important skills for an entrepreneur to have is emotional intelligence. People won’t follow you into business decisions if you don’t inspire confidence and subordinacy in your staff. To become a good leader, you need to be emotionally engaged with your workforce and your job. Services like EQWorks Coaching can help you with this; their speciality is helping you to develop emotional skills so you can be a better listener, a better communicator, and an all-round better manager. Don’t neglect your emotional intelligence, as it’s a big factor in building trust and understanding.
A good entrepreneur is endlessly curious about the world around them and how to make it a better place. After all, if you’re not in business to improve the world, then why are you doing what you’re doing? Staying curious isn’t a skill we’re necessarily encouraged to cultivate outside of childhood, but it remains a vital thing for an entrepreneur to have. Ask questions constantly. Why are things the way they are? What could be done to change them or improve them? Only by keeping that curious spirit will you continue to grow.
As an entrepreneur, you are going to face a lot of challenges. Some of them you’ll find yourself perfectly well-equipped to deal with, while others will completely blindside you. It’s important to learn how to take what comes your way and keep on going. If you simply give up at the first hurdle, your business idea will never weather the storm and you won’t stand the test of time. You can build resilience in a number of ways. Try simulating adverse business conditions with colleagues and coming up with ways to deal with them.
If you don’t build yourself a personal network, then you won’t have the business resources necessary to survive in a competitive world. Networking involves building up connections with other businesses, both rivals and those who aren’t in your sector. Naturally, you’ll need people skills for this, but you’ll also need to be an effective salesperson. What is your business? Can you sum up the pitch in three words? Have you come to the event prepared with a whole raft of business cards? It’s crucial to network because that’s how you build support.
5. Sales skills
Even if you hate the idea of being a salesperson, as an entrepreneur that’s a huge part of your job. You need to know what your business is all about and how to pitch it positively to people. Making customers excited about a brand isn’t easy; if you haven’t built up loyalty over many years and they don’t know what your product is, then they have no real reason to place their faith in you. That’s where your sales skills come in. Effectively communicating what your business is and why people need it is a huge part of entrepreneurship.
6. Good communication skills
Even if your idea is the greatest in the world, if you can’t pitch it to investors or your own staff, you’re going to be in trouble. Be concise, clear, and straightforward in your communication with colleagues. Don’t mince words and don’t try to sugarcoat. Be firm, but be fair. If you communicate correctly, those around you will understand your mission and your intent better and the business will be a lot more streamlined. Don’t be afraid to practice for upcoming important meetings; many of these events are one-time-only, so failing to communicate properly could make or break you.
7. Creative thinking
Nobody ever succeeded with a business by playing it safe. The most successful and important business ventures of our time began as huge ideas by dreamers who never thought they’d come to fruition. If you can beat the odds and battle back the naysayers, that’s also a great way to develop resilience. When a business decision presents itself, try to think of the two or three most obvious solutions to the problem and dismiss them for the time being. Once they’re out of the way, you can start thinking up creative and interesting solutions that will build your reputation.
If you don’t believe in your idea, then who will? Confidence doesn’t mean just believing in yourself as an individual, it also involves knowing that your business is a good idea. Presenting yourself and your venture with confidence every time you enter a meeting means you’ll make a strong first impression. The first thing someone thinks of you is often their lasting impression, at least until they get to know you better. With that in mind, it’s definitely good to come across as a confident, secure business owner who knows exactly what their mission is.
Clinging on even when something looks hopeless is a crucial skill for an entrepreneur. Are you chasing a client? Are you absolutely sure they’ve got what you want? Would you do anything to get it? Don’t give up on that contract until you’re absolutely, one hundred percent sure that you’ve exhausted every option. Being tenacious means you might annoy a couple of people, but it’s well worth it if you make your business healthier along the way. Don’t be too clingy – that can be unattractive to potential business partners – but don’t give up.
10. A competitive streak
It’s a fact that entrepreneurs need competition to thrive. If your business is the only one in its area – or the only one of note – then you’ll become lazy and complacent. Conversely, if you feel like you just can’t beat the people at the top no matter what you do, you might become despondent. It’s crucial that you have a competitive streak and the drive to succeed. Battling others means you’ll have more creative ideas as you seek to unseat them from their throne and devise smart business strategies to help you do so.