For entrepreneurs, the list of essential skills can seem never-ending. Small business owners wear many hats, and the ability to be nimble means having a vast array of talents you can draw on depending on the situation.
As seen in the recent post, A 9-Step Guide: Quitting Your Job to Become an Entrepreneur, having a firm foundation of financial acumen, business plan development, and market analysis are important for anyone looking to start a business. To meet the rigors and rewards of starting your own business, sharpen these eight skills for startup success.
1. Communication Skills
As an entrepreneur, you will need to interact with customers, advisors, investors, vendors, and the public. The ability to convey your thoughts clearly in your written and verbal communications helps you to get your point across and be effective in sales, marketing, negotiations, and working with diverse groups.
2. Financial Management
When operating a business, you need a firm grasp on your budget, cash flow, receivables, and prices. Knowing how to manage your money, set and stick to a budget, and plan for growth leave you and your business in sound financial shape.
At some point, every business owner needs to sell something – the idea of financing the business, goods and services, or upgrades to existing contracts. You will need to sell employees on working for your organization and sell others on the value of your product. Sales skills are a mix of psychology, persuasion, and dedication. Knowing how to make a pitch and close a deal are key skills for any business proprietor.
Your time becomes much more valuable when you have your own business. Knowing how to use those precious hours wisely means having a clear sense as to your priorities and how much time is worth spending on various tasks. For example, does it make sense to learn how to build a website yourself or should you outsource that work? Productivity means making wise choices about what you do and how much time to spend doing it.
5. Staff Management
Employee management has many components. You will need to be adept at attracting and hiring good people, training them to do the work for you effectively, and inspiring and managing them on an ongoing basis to the work you need them to complete. Being a great boss means making the hard decisions, being fair and consistent, and recognizing and rewarding success.
6. Focus on Customers
For any business owner, the customer focus is Job 1. You need to know how to attract customers and to listen to them. Understanding their needs, how they use your product or service, and what keeps them walking in the door or clicking on your website are key to retention, too.
Despite your best efforts, well-thought-out plans, and analysis, there will be things that do not work out. How you handle setbacks will help build up your resilience and help you deal better with the next issue that comes down the road. Taking these opportunities as a chance to grow helps you become a stronger leader over time.
8. Risk Management
Starting and running a business takes risks. You need to be ready to make well-informed decisions that sometimes carry with them some element of risk. However, too many people assume entrepreneurs are risk-takers. In fact, the successful ones are those that gather much information before making a critical decision about their business.
At Benetrends, we help business owners with some of the critical elements of startup funding and business services. Our proven model allows entrepreneurs to leverage existing 401(k) or IRA funds to start or expand their business. Our services -- including retirement plan management, credit card processing, and payroll management – help entrepreneurs focus on critical areas of their business.
To learn more about how Benetrends can help your business succeed, schedule a consultation today.