29 skills, aptitudes and capabilities you need to be a successful entrepreneur
If you are here, it’s probably because you wonder whether you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Do you have entrepreneurial DNA? I am not going to give you a science class today but I am pretty sure that evolution and constant improvement exist — and I am sure you do too. (I am not going to actually talk about DNA that much.
If you’re looking for a biology article, you might want to check another blog) I believe you may become an entrepreneur without being born one: everyone can become an entrepreneur even if a lot of people might disagree with me.
Being an entrepreneur requires certain capabilities and needs that not everyone have: I agree with this statement. But, I also think that these skills can be learned. You won’t convince me that a baby is born an entrepreneur more than another. Today I am going to give you all the components, characteristics and skills that are supposedly composing entrepreneurial DNA. If you don’t have them, don’t worry, you can get these skills!
So, if you are planning to start building a startup from scratch or you want to get better during your entrepreneurial journey but you don’t have the confidence and believe you cannot do it: this isn’t true! You can do it, everybody can.
Relevant skills for entrepreneurial success
Becoming an entrepreneur can be a daunting task with many seemingly insurmountable challenges. Needless to say, the task of becoming an entrepreneur is undoubtedly not an easy one. While some people possess relevant capabilities and instincts that make them exceptionally good at entrepreneurial pursuits, others may lack these qualities and capabilities thereby causing them to fail at becoming entrepreneurs ceaselessly until they are totally discouraged from it.
This is the reason why people talk about entrepreneurial DNA. The business world is volatile with many uncertainties and requires bravery and many exceptional capabilities to navigate the terrain. Many may argue that entrepreneurs and business gurus are born with natural capabilities that make them better. While this may be true, I contend that entrepreneurial capabilities just like any other skill or training can be learned, perfected and implemented for success.
With this in mind, we shall explore the full extensity of relevant skills, practices and capabilities that are required for entrepreneurial success:
#1 Personal capabilities
When it comes to the business world, the task of becoming an entrepreneur would always demand that you possess formidable personal skills and capabilities. In fact, personal skills are the foremost consideration when starting out as an entrepreneur. Personal skills can be explained as those skills and proficiencies that are intrinsically ingrained into your character and are required for business success. While some people may not possess these skills, it would help to learn and cultivate them.
Personal skills would often determine the line of business you would get involved in as someone who has a knack for cooking and has deep appreciation for food taste would be likely to succeed in the catering and restaurant industry. Additionally, effective communication skill, respect for customers and other publics like suppliers, distributors, and employees and so on would also be required. Honesty is also a highly valuable personal skill and constitutes the bedrock of profitable and successful business.
#2 Image building
Creating a distinctive image is particularly crucial to the success of an entrepreneur. In the highly competitive business world with cut-throat business practices, the need to be able to stand out from all of the clutter is an absolute necessity for success. Creating a brand identity would require that you are able to barrage your target market with an abundance of company information, trademarks, logos and other company material.
Either you want to build a strong startup branding or your own personal brand, the image building skill is needed for an entrepreneur. Once you have been able to register a unique brand identity in the minds of your target customers and built an unassailable image that success would become attainable.
#3 Effective communication
Being able to communicate effectively is a requirement to thrive as an entrepreneur as you must first communicate the values, uniqueness, policies and aspiration of your business to your internal and external publics before your business can begin soar.
Regardless of the nature or industry your business is categorized into, effective communication is needed and helps the business maintain a cordial relationship with workers, customers, competitors, suppliers, financiers, distributors and the community in which the business operates. While the list is not exhaustive, effective communication fosters meaningful relationship with your various publics.
Effective communication would typically encompass all methods available to the entrepreneur to include written information, verbal communication, pamphlets, interviews, speeches, motivation talk, advertisement, and so on. Effective communication with customers boost sales and profitability, effective communication with investors expands the prospects and reach of business, effective communication with workers would improve efficiency and engender commendable representation, effective communication with suppliers would make business operations smooth and continuity.
While the benefits of effective communication to entrepreneurial success are infinite, it remains an important skill that is inextricably relevant to be a successful entrepreneur.
#4 Ability to negotiate
Negotiation is an important skill for entrepreneurial success and could be decisive in most cases. From the very start of your journey as an entrepreneur, you would begin to negotiate. Negotiation skill is also relevant at all stages of business as you would negotiate with clients and customers, negotiate with workers, negotiate with investors and much more.
Ability to negotiate can mean the line between failure or success, profit or loss, and solvency or bankruptcy.as an entrepreneur you must be able to negotiate your way to advantageous conditions. Hence negotiation is a relevant skill that must be nurtured.
#5 Leadership skills
Leadership skill is not an isolated capability as it is reflective of an integration of a variety of skills. Leadership skills is an essential ingredient for every business and must be possessed by an entrepreneur. While some may argue that leaders are born, it has been proven time and again that leaders are created by experience, training and circumstances.
Hence you can always cultivate leadership skill for entrepreneurial success. Leadership skill would is relevant in helping you interact with workers, earn the trust and loyalty of customers, investors and so on. Leadership skill would not only foster interactions but would also enable you to be an example and a focal point in your business.
Leadership skill would keep your worker motivated and eager to make sacrifices for business growth. Leadership skill is one of the most important and should nurture for success.
#6 Sales skills
This skill is the soul of every business and the key to sustainability. Every business has to sell a service, idea or product which makes have sales skill an absolute necessity to the survival of any business. Just like leadership skill, sales skill and effective communication are intertwined as you must be able to communicate your unique selling proposition to customers and clients.
Furthermore, sales skill is relevant and applicable when you are trying pitch an idea to investors which may be required at the start of your business particularly when you are trying to begin a capital intensive business. Having sales skills is very relevant to any business as you would have to utilize sales skills in virtually every aspect of business operation. Sales are essentials to any businesses. In fact, the lack of sales capabilities is one of the main reasons why startups fail and having them will make you closer to success.
More appropriately, sales are one of the most important considerations in any business and must be at its peak for profitability and sustainability of business. Sales involves being able to convince your target publics to purchase your ideas, services or product. This may seem like an arduous task, but once you are able to develop impressive sales skills, you would watch your business soar into the sky. While some people are endowed with an innate ability to be persuasive and convincing, others may not be.
Fortunately, sales skill can also be learnt and perfected. Acquiring sales skills is a remarkable way to boost business and increase lucrativeness. You like it or not, you need to have sales skills in your ‘entrepreneurial DNA’!
#7 Ability to focus
Concentration may not seem like a skill, however in actuality, concentration is in fact a very prized skill and is a prerequisite for success in any endeavor. When it comes to entrepreneurial pursuits, concentration is required to stay focused on set business objectives and to remain unshaken by various distractions while fulfilling these goals. As an entrepreneur, you would find that you would have to undertake a whole lot of responsibilities and oversee many aspects of your business operations.
Concentration is what helps you unite the various independent operations into actualization set business goals and targets. Nurturing an ability to concentrate is critical to business as it is what keeps you persistent and unshaken in the midst of uncertainties and instabilities. Every entrepreneur must strive to possess this skill.
#8 Customer relation skills
Your business service, product, and operations must be tailored to meet customer requirements and engender maximum satisfaction. Customer relations are a very crucial requirement and intrinsically relevant to success. it is common knowledge that it takes much more resources to acquire new customers than to retain old ones.
Against this backdrop, you would begin to find that being able to promote customer relationship and engender customer satisfaction is a fundamental necessity for entrepreneurial advancement. The power of customer relations is astounding as it helps the entrepreneur develop a community of loyal supporters and fans.
Customer relations skill helps you make partners and admirers out of your customers which have tremendous benefits to business. Customer relations skill would encompass effective communication with customers, incorporating feedback and suggestions from customers into the development of products and modification of services, creating a friendlier business environment and promoting customer-driven operations.
Essentially, customer relations skill is pivotal to every entrepreneur as customers are the number one priority of every business.
#9 Preparedness to learn
This ability and skill is a criteria for getting ahead in any area of life. As an entrepreneur you must be enthusiastic about any opportunity to learn. In fact, business provides an opportunity for you to learn something new every day and you must be prepared to make the most of the opportunity.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, business would occasionally have setbacks regardless of expertise and extent of professionalism. Setbacks present an interesting opportunity for an entrepreneur to learn something new and make necessary adjustments and modifications to prevent a recurrence. Also, the business world is dynamic and constantly evolving, which means practices, processes, operations, tools, and so on area constantly changing.
An entrepreneur must have a knack for learning new ways as this would help the business owner stay ahead while seizing opportunities.
#10 An enquiring disposition
When an entrepreneur has an enquiring disposition he becomes more likely to find out, discover, learn, incorporate, nurture and implement new and interesting ways that would foster the progress of business. It is absolutely imperative for an entrepreneur to have a disposition towards finding out things as this is also a requirement for learning.
Having an enquiring disposition would help an entrepreneur uncover new strategies, technologies, tools and so on that can be incorporated for business success. The plain truth about business is that most activities are often shrouded in secrecy to stay ahead of competition. Having a disposition towards enquiring would help an entrepreneur discover exciting g avenues, practices and opportunities that would reposition the business for greatness.
#11 Business mindset
It would be ridiculous and laughable to go into business without a plan. Being able to develop and modify a business plan as well as defining a marketing strategy is an important skill that a good entrepreneur should have. Being business-focus and having the right mindset is vital and has to be part of your “entrepreneur anatomy.
Navigating the business world would require that you have a clearly defined strategy and line of attack. Quick note: nowadays, business plans tend to be shorter than before. It becomes rarer to creating 30-page business plans but entrepreneurs rather create executive summarries. Having a strategy is required for every aspect of business and is particularly relevant in helping your business stay ahead of competition, helping reach new customers and retain existing customers.
The company plan represents a company’s line of attack and an entrepreneur must be good at developing plans. Typically, a plan must be developed against the backdrop of careful research into the business environment. Also, a business plan can be modified due to prevailing circumstances and new developments. An aspect of business that perfectly underscores the importance of planning would be the need to investigate market before introducing a product.
If you own a detergent manufacturing company and want to increase sales developing a plan based on market investigations and analysis would give you an unequivocal insight into market demands which would be incorporated into the plan. If your market consists mainly of low income earners and students, then it would be advisable to include manufacturing small-sized packets of detergents in your plan as opposed to the family sized detergent packs.
A plan would also contain the marketing strategy that would most effectively reach your target market. A plan makes your business purposeful, and offers a systematic approach to the attainment of set goals. Making a business plan is definitely something you learn, this was not on your DNA when you were born.
#12 Recognizing strength and weakness
Being able to recognize the strengths and weakness of your business is a very vital skill to being an entrepreneur. It is nearly impossible for a business to be solid in every area. Some businesses may have an efficient marketing and service delivery but may be lacking in the area of employee relations. When an entrepreneur is acutely aware of the strengths of his business he can leverage it for competitive advantage and success. Similarly, when an entrepreneur is aware of the weaknesses of his business he would be able to make necessary adjustments to compensate for various weaknesses.
A would be entrepreneur must have a knack for recognizing the strength and weaknesses of his business as this is the surest way to stay competitive and profitable.
#13 Clarity of purpose
The biggest challenge that most businesses encounter is largely constituted by the absence of a clear purpose. Every entrepreneur must have a clear and unwavering picture of where the business is headed. Having clarity of purpose is a business skill that everyone would be entrepreneur must have.
It is imperative to identify the goal of the business, the visions of the business, and the objectives of the business and so on. A business goal could be focused on building a strong corporate image, for another business the goal may be to increase sales. While the purposes of a business are always similar, there would always be slight differences that set them apart.
Every entrepreneur must have a clearly defined purpose and must effectively communicate this purpose with relevant publics for success.
#14 Entrepreneur must be irrepressible
The business terrain has always been a very challenging on particularly when you are just starting out. There are many challenges that you would encounter and would have to overcome. The entrepreneur must be irrepressible and tenacious.
This skill and attribute is imperative for progress and sustainability of any business. While setbacks are totally unavoidable in business, it is the duty of the entrepreneur keep on pushing forward and to find a way around any situation. There is an infinite amount of eventualities that could affect a business and an entrepreneur must be prepared to keep going regardless. An entrepreneur must learn how to cope with stress while managing the situation carefully.
Tenacity is a major differentiator between an entrepreneur and others. An entrepreneur should be built to withstand extreme conditions and to find a way out. Resilience can be cultivated and imbibed for business success.
#15 Ability to take risk
Just like resilience, ability to take risk is another skill that separates entrepreneurs from others. Every entrepreneur must be accustomed to taking risk without being certain of the result. There are no certainties in business as everything is subject to change. In fact, customer preference and style are unstable and are subject to unexpected change.
Starting a business would depend on ability to take a risk and staying in a business as well would require that you are able to take risk. Risk taking is a skill that every entrepreneur must possess. While you may have fears about ROI and the success of the business, you must shove those fears to the side and stay motivated by the possibility of success.
#16 Ability to cope with setbacks
There is no business venture that guarantees success as an absolute certainty. Therefore, an entrepreneur must be prepared for any eventuality. As an entrepreneur, your perception of failure matters greatly. Do you see failure as a setback or do you see failure as a stepping stone to greatness? In the business world setbacks often herald success.
This skill is vital to an entrepreneur as the entrepreneur must be skilled at staying motivated and determined even in the face of setbacks and failures. The fascinating aspect of failure is that it presents an entrepreneur with a unique opportunity to learn something new that would equip business for bigger and better strides.
This is also something you learn with experience and that build into your entrepreneurial DNA with time.
#17 A motivation to create positive change
The entrepreneur must be propelled by a desire to create positive changes and to offer solutions to various challenges. An entrepreneur that is driven by a desire to improve the lives of people would often excel. While it is good to have marketing objectives such as increasing sales and profit, all of these considerations must come after an altruistic motivation to reach out to people through your product or service.
Quite naturally, when a business venture is motivated by the desire to improve condition of customers and potential consumers the businesses often stands out with an unprecedented level of success. When your motivation remains to create positive change, you would not be discouraged by setbacks and failures. Additionally, your product or service would be more likely to gain acceptability because it is designed to improve the lives of people.
#18 Ability to multitask
The task of being an entrepreneur is certainly not an easy one as you would have to undertake many roles and responsibilities. The need for the ability to multitask stems from the involvement of the entrepreneur in virtually every process of business operation. The entrepreneur have to know and influence actions in production, distribution, guest reception, handle negotiations with customers, influence marketing options and so on.
Being able to be relevant in every aspect of business require that you are able to multitask and is a compulsory skill for anyone that would like to be entrepreneur. A good entrepreneur must be acquainted with every aspect of his business operation, this way, he can be able to monitor, influence and propel the success of the company.
#19 Money management skill
Money management is crucial to every business and it is an important skill to ensure the sustainability of every business. Money management skill requires that the entrepreneur can effectively monitor and manage revenue, funding, remunerations, cost of production and all other financial matters.
Being an entrepreneur often requires that you make decisions and most of these decisions would be based on monetary considerations hence an acute awareness of finance in the company becomes crucial. More so, money management skill helps the entrepreneur make shrewd financial decisions that keeps the business moving forward.
The absence of money management skill does not ensure sustainability of business and could lead to bankruptcy.
#20 Ability to convince investors to fund business
At some point in the progression of business, there would be a need to generate more funds for expansion and that is where having skill that gets investors to fund business becomes relevant. The most effective way to get investors interest in your business is to be able to manage your business income effectively and present proof of profitability and an assurance of returns on investments.
Having the ability to convince investors to fund business is directly aligned with effective money management skills as investors are usually motivated to invest when you present sufficient evidence of profitability and returns. This is the more reason why the entrepreneur should be actively involved in monitoring and keeping financial record as this would certainly be instrumental when trying to convince investors on the profitability.
#21 Shrewd decisions making
Indecisiveness can be very costly in the business world with many unfavorable ramifications. Being able to make timely and shrewd business decisions is an effective way to stay ahead and the seize opportunities as opportunities are not always around. Decisions can make or mar a business and as such, this skill has to be finely nurtured to perfection as the survival and advancement of the business rests on it.
Typically, decisions are based on the available data. Nonetheless, having an acute ability to make timely and beneficial decisions would help grow business and amplify success. Decision-making is the type of quality you can improve as an entrepreneur by playing poker for example.
#22 A sense of efficiency
An entrepreneur must have very strong sense of efficiency as this is a requirement for increased output and profitability. This skill is very crucial to the entrepreneur and usually motivates workers to exude the same quality. Being efficient would entail that the entrepreneur is hardworking and up-to-date on the various tools that can be introduce for enhance operations.
The entrepreneur must look for new ways to boost productivity. More so, the entrepreneur must incorporate the use of relevant tools that would help enhance processes and operations in the business. In contemporary business world, automating business processes and subcontracting are some of the few ways to amplify efficiency and boost productivity.
Inventiveness is a prerequisite for productive and efficient business. This is the more reason why an entrepreneur must strive to possess this skill. Entrepreneurship entails keeping track of various technological developments and exploring innovative ways to adapt these technologies to improve business activities and processes.
Inventiveness is a skill that simplifies business processes while increasing efficiency and outputs an entrepreneur must be acutely aware of various new and interesting ways to improve business and improve customer satisfaction. When an entrepreneur is inventive business would continually flourish and stay cost-effective.
#24 Exploiting emerging avenues
The business world is constantly evolving with new trends and development in various sectors. An entrepreneur must be skilled at monitoring these trends and proficient at making necessary adjustments to adopt and implement these trends. Every business sector experiences periodic developments and inclinations, these developments could be based on customer inclinations or could just be new methods of implementing business activities and processes.
Whatever these trends are an entrepreneur must be skilled at identifying and leveraging these developments and harnessing them for the progress of the business.
#25 Effective recruitment skills
Staffing is one aspect of business that must not be trivialized as the ramifications for bad staffing can be crippling. An entrepreneur must be skilled at recruiting workers that are suitable, qualified and motivated. Being skilled at scrutinizing and staffing the right workers would help an entrepreneur to create an effective and proficient team.
Staffing employees with required capabilities and skills for operations would certainly help business to operate at a heightened level of efficiency.
#26 Employee management
An entrepreneur must know how to manage employees effectively. This skill is very sensitive and must be possess by a business owner. The entrepreneur must be able to inspire the trust and loyalty of workers. Employee management also includes being able to promote the welfare of workers while engaging them for optimal performance.
Employees very important to business and as such they must be managed effectively for continuity and efficiency of business operations. Conducive working environments, regular communication with employees, remuneration, reward and so on are required in employee management. Employee management would also require that the entrepreneur encourages interaction with staff, in order to gather relevant insight into their thoughts and suggestions on ways to improve the company.
Making employee feel like a part of the business is certainly a good way to manage employees.
#27 Irrepressible drive
Having an irrepressible drive is very important for business owners as there are many challenges that can dissuade and discourage an entrepreneur particularly when the entrepreneur lacks drive. Having an irrepressible drive is the most important ingredient for success. Regardless of your capabilities and skills, a drive that does not waver is what brings success and this holds true ion the business world.
Drive is what makes you resilient and tenacious. Drive is what makes you fixated on your target regardless of the prevailing circumstances and unfavorable conditions. Drive is what provokes progress and the realization of set goals. Drive propels the entrepreneur to work harder than the employees as he sees the full picture and is irrevocably committed to realizing it.
An entrepreneur must possess drive as this is the ultimate requirement for success in the business world.
#28 Stress management
Every entrepreneur must learn how to manage the hassles that come with business. While this is a matter often trivialized, failure to manage stress properly could attract awful consequences. An entrepreneur must be skilled at knowing when and how to relieve stress.
While stress is an inevitable aspect of business, an entrepreneur must learn how to manage stress effectively and channel stress into more productive and relaxing pursuits. As you can see, this is again a skill that you learn and that will become part of your entrepreneurial DNA through time.
#29 Flair for your line of business
Business entrepreneurs must have an unquenchable flair for the line of business they are in, as this is what propels the business owner even when the terrain is unfavorable. Having a flair for the nature of business is a precondition for getting involved as it is flair that makes you persistent.
When you have flair for the line of business, you would be motivated and willing to make sacrifices for the growth of the business. Stress is often associated with individuals who not passionate about their profession or business. When you have a flair for the business you run, you would be able to infuse creative ideas and implement a distinctive style that would make the business standout.
Flair is an important ingredient for a successful entrepreneur and must not be overlooked. When an entrepreneur has flair for the business, it would radiate in the style of management, business processes, attitude of workers and in the response of customers.
When an entrepreneur has flair for a business, he would be actively involved in all of the process and would motivate workers to give their best as well.
So, what makes you a great entrepreneur or what defines that you have entrepreneurial DNA?
All of the aforementioned skills, capabilities and qualities are fundamental requirements that an individual must possess in order to be a successful entrepreneur. Various accounts of entrepreneurs resonate with all the attributes and skills contained in this discourse.
An entrepreneur must be audacious, calculating, enthusiastic and passionate. Creativity and managerial capabilities are also important to the success of an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur needs to be a talented multi-disciplinary individual, a bit like the growth hacker job description, which is very complex, the entrepreneur job description is even more complicated.
Contrary to popular opinion, entrepreneurial skills and qualities can be learned, practiced and developed. You must however, make a conscious decision to nurture these qualities and skills. Once you begin to make a conscious effort to acquire these skills, particularly skills in the area where you are deficient, you would have repositioned yourself for tremendous accomplishments as an entrepreneur in the business world.
This is not because you don’t master one of them that you’re going to suck at it all your life. Don’t worry, all of them can be learned. Don’t let this list intimidate or discourage you. Practice your weaknesses to constantly improve and these skills will become natural in time. Therefore, they will become part of your entrepreneurial DNA.
At Growth Hackers, we help entrepreneurs grow, get in touch with us if you want to know how we can help you.
Originally published as Entrepreneurial DNA: do you have it? The 29 skills, capabilities and practices you need on February 28, 2017.