Being an entrepreneur might sound glamorous, but it can be a challenging path that requires discipline and a special kind of personality. Successful entrepreneurs must acquire certain entrepreneurial skills and characteristics that help them become effective leaders. These skills help them create more success in business and allow them to communicate, form relationships, and achieve their goals.
Here are seven of the most essential skills and characteristics entrepreneurs should have in order to set themselves up for success.
1. Communication and Interpersonal skills
Relationships are quite possibly the most important factor in a company’s success or failure. An entrepreneur has to form relationships with investors, collaborators, customers, and everyone in between. Communication breakdowns or poor interpersonal skills can easily sink a business, which is why entrepreneurs must focus on becoming stellar communicators.
Developing these skills is an ongoing effort that is never really finished. Entrepreneurs must strive to be better communicators and team players throughout their careers in order to surround themselves with people who will help them push their business forward.
2. Creativity and Innovation
An entrepreneur’s bread and butter is creativity and innovation. Without them, a new company won’t last long. Customers want to see a new angle, a unique product, or something that sets a company apart from their competition. Entrepreneurs are the most successful when they can form different opinions and beliefs and think up new ways of doing things. They don’t just accept the status quo, they rethink it.
3. Ability to Inspire Others
While many entrepreneurs start their companies by themselves and work in isolation, that changes once their company starts to grow. Even before an entrepreneur hires their first employee, they will need to get people excited about their company and mission. This ability to inspire people can build much-needed momentum and help a brand-new company grow and thrive. Yet far too many people lack these necessary leader ship skills to not only start a business, but to keep it afloat.
So what do you do? Well, to start you should be sure to try and utilize all of the online leadership resources available. Additionally, be sure to get in front of people and actually offer sound guidance—doesn’t matter if it is something as simple as helping a co-worker out. All you need to do is get started and build some momentum!
4. Emotional Intelligence
The most successful people are those who are able to develop emotional intelligence skills, which are often lumped into the category of “soft skills.” Empathy, self-awareness, and the ability to relate well to others are all emotional intelligence characteristics that are absolutely crucial to an entrepreneur’s long-term success. These skills are largely what shapes a person’s leadership abilities. Emotional intelligence is almost always what separates outstanding managers from average managers—one study found that 90% of the difference between these two types of managers was due to emotional intelligence factors.
5. Understand Gender Differences
Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important for entrepreneurs to understand where they may need to develop or ask for help. Fortunately, more women are becoming entrepreneurs each year, contributing their skills and knowledge to the market. From 2015 to 2016, the number of women becoming entrepreneurs rose twice as fast as men. However, women often struggle to find funding and face other obstacles that their male counterparts do not. Entrepreneurs should help each other overcome challenges and fill in skill gaps when needed. This strong network helps everyone to succeed.
6. Organization and Planning Skills
While it might seem like entrepreneurs tend to fly by the seat of their pants and just start tinkering away at new ideas, the reality is that most successful entrepreneurs are very organized. They need to be able to put together a compelling business plan and understand how to handle everything from money management to daily workflows and plans for scaling up. It’s easy to start a business without a plan, but it’s not so easy to keep one going without getting organized. Many entrepreneurs take time to invest in education, leadership workshops, and advanced degrees to master their business skills.
When starting a business, things rarely go to plan. There will be setbacks and challenges, and many people simply aren’t able to bounce back from these disappointments. Entrepreneurs have to be able to come back from adversity stronger than ever and make necessary changes as they go.
Entrepreneurship: A Marathon, Not a Sprint
As you can see, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. These entrepreneurial skills and characteristics aren’t earned all at once. It takes time and commitment, and involves a hefty amount of risk to become a successful entrepreneur. With that said, if you have patience, self-restraint, and awareness, you can develop yourself and enhance your entrepreneurial skills.