So you want to be an entrepreneur! The fact is, whether you’ve already started a business or are preparing to, this line of work requires you to develop a large variety of skills. Entrepreneurs can’t just be good marketers or product developers–they should be excellent in every facet of running a business. If you’re wondering what other skills to gain to better your current or future business, here are a few that come in most handy!
No matter how successful you are on your own as an entrepreneur, you can’t do everything by yourself. Networking is an essential skill that you need to learn, whether you call yourself an extrovert or an introvert. People in your industry or related fields can give you advice about entrepreneurship, provide support, and even partner with you in certain business ventures. In the beginning of your entrepreneur path, your network can also help you find a mentor to look over your business plan and provide advice throughout its startup stages. Plus, the more people you know, the more likely they’ll think of you when a business opportunity becomes available!
With some business skills, you can hire others or even outsource to get the most quality work. However, writing is a proficiency you need to develop early on and continue to foster as your business grows. More than ever, writing is an essential part of communication. Considering professional communication with your employees, partners, and clients is largely dependent on how well you write, it can make or break a business–and that’s not even covering all the documentation, contracts, marketing content, and stakeholder correspondence you’ll be writing along the way. To improve your writing, it can be helpful to do a lot of reading in the areas you intend to write. Look for different patterns that you can employ in related situations, and even read advice about business writing.
There are many instances where you will need to negotiate with others. This can include negotiating with partners, suppliers, or your clients. The power of negotiation is that it allows you to get what you need out of pricing, payment terms, service contracts, investor’s exit strategy, and more while also maintaining a positive relationship with the other party. One piece of advice to always remember: leave your emotions at the door. You can’t negotiate well with anger or annoyance, but by sticking to the facts of the situation. It’s also important for you to learn how to see things from other people’s perspectives. This will allow you to understand them better and see how the two of you can reach a perfect compromise that both parties favor.
In today’s business world, technology is involved in almost every process. You can’t run your business solely on pen and paper, and that’s a good thing! Many tasks have been automated or improved by technology, and it has widely improved marketing. For that reason, every small business owner should learn the basics of making a quality website and how to market through various social media platforms. It is important for you to learn how to effectively use various types of technology in order to avoid large expenses and wasted time. Because technology plays such a big role, however, outside help is still better than DIY-ing without any expertise. For instance, you can reduce down periods by outsourcing your IT issues to outside experts, or hire a freelance professional to design your website. If you don’t know what is high quality yourself, however, you could still end up paying for bad or overpriced work.
Of all the skills an entrepreneur needs, it is most essential that you hone your leadership skills. After all, when running your own business, all responsibility falls on you. One of the best ways to be a good leader and inspire others is by having good communication. The best leaders know they’re not usually the smartest person in the room, but can adapt easily and recognize others’ great ideas. This includes listening to your staff, clients, and business partners even when there is criticism or opposing ideas to your own. Along with this, organization is another essential leadership skill, in organizing people, ideas, priorities, operations, and actual materials. The better you can manage things and people, the more you can act as glue to hold together all the amazing single pieces of an organization.
A major part of your business is driven by your clients. Without them, you won’t even have a business. For that reason, you need to employ excellent client relations skills. Educate yourself on the best methods of designing client experience and improving it. When their experience with your business is subpar, then you need to know how to address the situation, improve in the future, and retain a good relationship. This is important because, especially as you get started, a lot of the responsibilities surrounding client relations will fall on you.
If you want to be successful, then of course you need to let people know about your business. Marketing should be one of your main priorities, especially in the beginning of your business. There are many strategies you can employ, but unfortunately, there’s no perfect way of marketing you could steal from another business. On the other hand, you can study and take note of how businesses in your industry with similar circumstances and size have succeeded themselves. You can also research the target market you should be focusing your marketing on, including their demographics and psychographics. And then, of course, you should also learn the different marketing strategies people use depending on the channel of marketing, such as a business website, social media, SEO, and PPA methods.
As an entrepreneur, the financial aspect of your business is something you should learn well. Finances can be difficult to navigate and mistakes are easily made. Additionally, if you don’t understand the finances within your business, you can end up spending more than you can afford without making a sustainable profit. Research how to handle your finances and navigate small business loans, if necessary. Eventually, it might be a good idea to outsource your accounting to be sure that everything is done properly.
There are so many skills expected of an entrepreneur, not to mention responsibilities. While mastering these skills takes time, learning them early on will help propel your business towards success. Now is the time!
Need help marketing your consulting business? Check out my step-to-step guide!