We live in an age of entrepreneurial spirit. The majority of millennials and Gen Zers report wanting to start their own business right out of college. New businesses are exciting and good for the communities they occupy.
However, it’s important to understand what one is getting themselves into before they journey into the rewarding but challenging waters of entrepreneurship. In this article, we take an in-depth look at what sort of skills every entrepreneur needs to get their business rolling successfully.
Good People Skills
This skill will seem fairly obvious to someone who is opening up a customer-facing business. If you are to own a retail store or restaurant, you need a warm and inviting personality that keeps people coming back.
Even if you are operating out of your garage, however, people skills will inevitably be a critical part of the process.
Why? For one thing, you will be interacting with some people. Suppliers. Far away buyers, or customers of a different variety. You will also likely acquire a staff somewhere down the road.
Entrepreneurs need to be able to:
- Hire the right people: Having the social skills to recognize a good worker and attract them to your business is vital for success. In the beginning, you may be able to handle everything on your own. However, as a business grows so does responsibility. Scalability requires a good, well-rounded team that is operating under the same understanding and objectives.
Good social skills will help you cultivate a dedicated team that will take your business to the next level.
- Treat them right: Hiring a good team is only the first step in this equation. You also need to know how to treat them. Some of the aspects of employer-employee relations will be obvious. You shouldn’t be unkind or inappropriate, of course.
However, avoiding outright cruelty is quite literally the least you can do where managing employees are considered. In fact, the relationship between managers and the managed is quite fraught. It’s not uncommon at all for employees to feel unrecognized and appreciated by their employers. And managers often feel the same way.
It’s less a matter of attitude than it is one of communication. Being able to manage and motivate your team will boost performance and increase retention. Keep in mind that nearly 70% of people say that they would quit their job if they feel unappreciated. You don’t want that.
Running a business is much harder than working for one. When you are an employee, you usually have the benefit of a stable schedule and a guaranteed salary. You know that your job requires you to arrive at work at 9, leave at five, and repeat the exercise until you make it to the weekend.
Owning your own business provides no such guarantees. Hours can be long and arduous, and pay may not come at all for quite some time. It can often be two years before a new business becomes profitable. While that doesn’t necessarily mean two years without a salary, it does mean that you will have to get used to a feeling of financial insecurity.
The hard work and uncertainty won’t be for everyone. Entrepreneurs need to be able to weather the storm of doubt and push through to the other side.
Building off that last point, it’s also important for business owners to have good time management skills. This may mean dividing their efforts equitably into all aspects of their business to make sure everything is done well and on time.
It also means establishing some degree of work/life balance. Because business owners don’t have that 9-5 schedule, they have to make an active point to set aside time for family and friends.
Having money isn’t a skill. Knowing how to get it and what to do with it is. Business owners need to be able to:
- Raise Capital: Most of the time, new business owners won’t have nearly enough money to finance their dreams. To get the ball rolling, they need to be able to get it. This could mean going to their local bank and explaining their vision in a way that secures them a business loan. It could also mean being able to appeal to investors to get startup capital that way. It’s a nuanced skill that requires a natural ability in sales, communication, and financial literacy. To find success, the business owner will need to be not only personable but able to take boring things like financial projections and use them to tell the exciting story of a new business.
- Manage it: Managing money is a vital skill for any new business owner. All the startup capital in the world will be for naught in clumsy, unknowledgeable hands. While financial management might not come naturally to all business owners, the good news is that it is a skill that can be acquired. Classes on financial management make it easy to get the lay of the land. Many software programs make managing money significantly easier even for the layperson.
These skills will be particularly handy when a business owner is all on their own just starting out. Once the business takes off, it may be possible to hire people to take more responsibility for the company’s finances.
Finally, a degree of technological savvy is vital to the success of just about any business. There are software programs out there for everything from billing and finance to marketing and sales. While not every business will require a state-of-the-art tech suite, having the ability to identify tools that are beneficial for your business, and then understand how to use them is vital.
Though admittedly complicated, software is there to cut costs and allow businesses to function with a heightened degree of flexibility and accuracy. It’s also worth noting that access to good tech is hardly even an advantage anymore. Most successful businesses rely on technology for at least some things. If yours doesn’t you risk falling behind.