The skills you need as an entrepreneur to win in life & business…

As the entrepreneur leading your team and together growing your business, there are a number of key skills that will enhance your performance.

I truly believe that mastering these skills will make life much easier, enable you to have more time with your family and ensure that you are able to serve others to a greater degree.

1. Listening

If you are not listening then you are not learning and you are supposed to be learning. Having a conversation and just talking does not really help you and may well bore the pants of the person your talking at!

There is an art to listening and you need to learn this skill because you will reap the benefits immediately.

One tip for active listening is repeating back what you heard to the other person.

My second tip is to clear your mind of your own thoughts and truly take on board what the other person is saying.

There are plenty of books that can teach you how to listen more effectively.

Being part of a Mastermind Group forces you to listen and this ensures that you reduce the habit of just talking and learn how to listen.

If you employ a business coach, they should also be actively working with you to learn to listen.

2. Learn to say No more than you say Yes

Entrepreneurs are offered opportunities big and small all the time and if you say yet to too many of these you wont remain focused.

Train yourself to say no far more often and only say yes when you have really considered the idea.

I was known as ‘Mr No’ for years. What a cup of tea; ‘no’, Want to invest in this new advertising…..

This skill will help you retain your focus

3. Learn to understand your numbers.

I’m not asking you to handle your bookkeeping; that would be crazy. I am suggesting though that you need to learn the skill of really understand your management accounts, Your Profit and Loss, your ratios, gearing, EBITDA etc

You will need to go on courses for this and they are typically called ‘finance for none finance directors’ I had to go on this course 3 times!

4. Asking for help more.

Many failures come about because ‘you don’t know, what you don’t know’ and you are too afraid or stubborn to ask for help.

Knowing when you need help and then asking for it is surprisingly difficult to learn and do because no one wants to be perceived as stupid, weak or even incompetent, especially to ourselves. This is a killer mindset.

But recent Harvard study suggests that asking for help makes you look more, not less, capable of leading your team and your business. According to the study, when you ask your team for advice, you validate your teams intelligence and expertise, which makes you more respected as a leader.

Take the step of joining a Mastermind Group where you will be asking for help from your peers every month and this forms the habit. You could even employ a coach and ask them to help you to become better, better at being a human being as well as a better business person.

When you hold meetings, practice being the last to speak and ask your colleagues their opinions first; you are then forming the habit of asking for help and your people will love you for it.

5. Learn to Sleep Properly.

Mastering your sleep will give you more energy and far more stamina. Good quality sleep will also enhance your health.

Many studies show that being consistent with your sleep schedule makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up, and it helps promote better sleep in general.

There are very many tips out there to help you with improving your sleep. . Regardless of what you choose, establishing a sleep habit can help ensure you have restful nights.

My number one tip; switch off your phone and tablet at 8 o’clock and stop watching TV by the same time.

My number two tip; buy a really comfy eye mask. I put mine on and I’m gone and no light gets in and they are filled with seeds so I can heat them up in the microwave; superb! (I buy mine from liberty in London)

6. Learn Empathy and Compassion.

You can be the most enthusiastic, brilliant, and even wealthy individual, however if you don’t empathise and compassion for other people, then you are basically a psychopath or a sociopath. I believe that you are then unlikely to grow an enterprise that stands the test of time.

Empathy and compassion, as an entrepreneur are fundamental human abilities that we believe should be on your list of priorities to learn. And yes, you can learn to be more empathetic and to have more compassion.

Empathy is the ability to feel what others feel. Empathy makes sales and operational people truly great. Empathy help you to motivate your team to try harder.

Compassion means that you actually give a shit about how people feel.

It’s a fallacy that business people should learn to develop less empathy and compassion because I believe that you need these two in spades to understand your customers and more importantly, to manage and motivate your team

So how do become more empathetic? Have children and actually get involved with them, Take part in charity work where you are helping real people directly; serving their needs rather than your own. If you shoot, give it up; its not good for the soul. Go and see a Hypnotherapist if all else fails.

7. Time management

Effective time management is one of the most highly valued skills as an entrepreneur. It is mission critical to find a system that works for you and to continually improve upon it.

One of the challenges we all face is learning how to plan and prioritise oour time. Not to execute what you have planned, but to make so epic a to-do list and to schedule it so thoroughly that you are capable of completing all the tasks within the scheduled time.

A CRM will help of course and so will having a PA however you should learn these skills and a good coach should be able to help you skill up!

Top tip A great PA, will pay for themselves immediately and will free up your time to focus on the more strategic matters.

Top tip 2. If you don’t have CRM and your competitors do; your business will fail to compete with the competition; frankly your fucked without CRM

8. Consistency

Consistency is vital to maintaining success within business.

Business owners often stop working hard when they reach what they perceive as ‘success’ ie they lose consistency. To maintain or improve on this success, you and your whole team must be consistent.

9. Positive self image

To be successful in life and in business it really doesn’t matter what others think of you, however what you think of yourself is critical.

It takes lots of practice and professional support to build a level of confidence and ability to believe in yourself when nobody else does. That is unless you’re a psychopath, where confidence in your own abilities is not an issue.

Use affirmations to increase your own self-image. Learn useful stuff every day, watch appropriate TED talks, learn to read every day for at least 2 hours per day. Feed your mind and your self image will improve.

10. Minding your own business

Learn to ignore your competition because if you focus on them then you are not focusing on your team and your customers needs.

Learn not to give a fuck about your competition.

11. Mastering your thoughts

To accomplish what you want to accomplish, you need to consciously direct your thinking. This is not as easy as you think and needs to be learnt.

The challenge is that we are the product of our past experience, all of your thinking is the result of this conditioning or ‘brain washing’ This creates a ‘mindest’ and this mindset forms your ‘inner voice’.

If your parents, siblings and all your friends are employees then of course your inner voice is going to drag your potential entrepreneurial mind into thinking like an employee.

Changing your mindset and thus controlling your thoughts is far from easy and not a task ideally undertaken on your own. I suggest gaining professional help from a qualified and experienced coach.

12. Staying present in the moment

According to happiness researcher Matt Killingsworth, we tend not to be very good at staying present in the moment: he says that 47% of the time, people are thinking about something other than what they’re currently doing. And this is hurting your happiness, he says:

“People are less happy when they’re mind-wandering no matter what they’re doing. For example, people don’t really like commuting to work very much. It’s one of their least enjoyable activities, and yet they are substantially happier when they’re focused only on their commute than when their mind is going off to something else. It’s amazing.”

13. Master Speaking in public

Speaking up in public can be so hard for many of us to do. Even the American business magnate Warren Buffett said that he was once so terrified of speaking in public that he would throw up. “In fact, I arranged my life so that I never had to get up in front of anybody,” he told his biographer Alice Schroeder in “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.

It took practicing giving speeches numerous times in front of his Dale Carnegie speaking course classmates to finally conquer his fear.

“Some of it is just practice — just doing it and practicing,” Buffett said. “And it worked. That’s the most important degree I have.”

In conclusion

You may have noticed that I have not suggested that you should learn to hone your skills of the job that your business does.

That’s because you should not be doing the jobs that your business does!

You are supposed to be working ‘on’ the business and supporting your team who are working ‘in’ the business.

Author: David Hargreaves, The Growth Gurus.