4 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs to Get Ahead
Whether you’ve just launched a small business, or are the head of multiple organisations, there are several important skills every entrepreneur needs, in order to succeed. We’ve looked at some of the most crucial skills below:
1. Communication Skills
Arguably one of the most crucial skills an entrepreneur can have is the ability to communicate with others. This includes speaking with your colleagues, investors, and customers, both in person and through other mediums. It’s important to note that communication isn’t a one way street. You have to listen to everyone you interact with, don’t just speak at them. This is particularly true if the comments are negative – you can learn a lot from dissatisfied feedback!
An entrepreneur also needs to be good at networking. When speaking to anyone in your industry, such as clients, competitors, suppliers, and coworkers, you need to be thinking about your business. Just about anyone who can contribute in some way to your business can be an asset, so try to learn to recognise these individuals. You should furthermore be on the lookout for others you can assist in return – nobody likes a one-sided relationship!
Networking can be done in person, but it’s becoming increasingly common to network online. Platforms such as LinkedIn are often instrumental in connecting people with similar interests and similar business models.
2. Leadership Skills
What does leadership really mean? Obviously it’s about leading people, but one of the key things to remember is that you have to lead others in a particular direction. You need to have an overall vision for your business, then help your colleagues understand and get behind this vision.
Leadership skills are also about confidence. You need to be the biggest advocate for your company, ensuring that you know it inside and out. Through demonstrating that you’re passionate about your business, your customers, colleagues and partners will feel more confident about the services and products you offer.
Overall, your staff will be looking to you for guidance. You should lead by example, showing your employees that although there are challenges along the way, if you stay calm and work hard, there are few obstacles you can’t overcome.
3. Finance Skills
While finance isn’t something that appeals to everyone – that’s what a CFO is for! – it is crucial that as an entrepreneur you at least have some basic finance knowledge. Things like budgeting and the ability to keep track of your spending are skills every entrepreneur needs.
Another important thing to know, in terms of finance, is how to calculate return on investment (ROI). The return won’t always be financial – the gain could be brand awareness or an increase in website traffic. But knowing that the time, energy and money you’re putting into a project has to result in some form of return is crucial. That way you know you’re using your resources wisely.
In addition to this, entrepreneurs have to be able to understand the financial statements of their company. These are essentially records of the financial dealings of the business, which are used to evaluate its overall performance. It will normally be the job of the CFO to come up with ways to use this information, creating strategies to implement moving forward. But as the creator of the company, you should take an interest in these financial matters, and be able to discuss them with investors and key stakeholders.
4. Time Management Skills
As an entrepreneur, it’s often tempting to work every hour of the day, in order to get your business off the ground. But this can often lead to burnout, which will stop you in your tracks. It’s better to think longer term, taking the time to get everything right, instead of pushing yourself too hard and coming to a standstill.
When it comes to time management, it’s not just about pacing yourself either. You also need to prioritise the tasks you undertake each day, in order to maximise your efficiency. Think about what each task will help you achieve, and then rank them in order of importance. Don’t be afraid to say no to some things – if they won’t help you reach your goals, there’s no point wasting time on them!
One of the best ways to keep organised is to use tools like calendars, to-do lists and task management software. Make sure you liaise with your team, so that they also stay on track, and nothing gets overlooked.