Entrepreneurship · 11 May 2021

5 essential skills for business startups

5 essential skills for business startup

Being an entrepreneur is complex and requires you to be all things to all people initially. As your business grows, you can outsource functions that are not your strength while still staying strategically and/or vigilantly involved.

Until then, multiple skills, and a very lateral application of them, are needed with most crises or for spotting ripe opportunities. As an entrepreneur, your initial skill set will be added as you pick up more on your business journey from seedling to booming business.

Your success will depend heavily on your preparation and your ability to learn and implement new skills. The following five skills are generally seen as critical success factor skills for entrepreneurs:

1. Attitude Towards Learning

Learning is not a finite activity – quite to the contrary, it is a lifelong project. It would be a mistake to restrict your willingness to learn to your academic periods. This will not only affect the depth of your personal life but will also be a huge hindrance to your ability to succeed in business. Acquiring new knowledge will empower you, will increase your potential and will amplify the results you achieve.

It is a guarantee of humanity that we all have knowledge gaps, even prodigies. In business, we call them opportunities, and they should be corrected enthusiastically. The greater your knowledge and the quicker you adapt to new learning requirements, the greater an adversary you will be to your competitors.

2. Recovery From Failure

If you haven’t failed, you have not tried hard enough. When you fail, that is not the end. It is a redirection moment or an opportunity to improve and become a more robust market player. It is the courage and tenacity that sets you apart from the rest of the competition.

No one ever said entrepreneurship is not risky. It does come with high risk, but if you arm yourself with the right skills and mindset, you are positioned to reap huge rewards.

As a start-up, failure should be an expectation. Obviously, your aim is to avoid it, but it will occur, and your ability to recover is your magic success factor. No venture, be it business or life, is a straight line, so you should be armed with the knowledge of how to deal with the peaks and troughs.

Every successful entrepreneur, celebrity or athlete has failed many times. Sometimes it has been a minor fail and sometimes on quite a grandiose scale – and then finally, a win comes.

3. Money Management

Complaining that you ‘don’t know where all the money goes’ should set off alarm bells for you. When you are responsible for the success of a business, you need to have detailed knowledge of exactly where every pound is going. If you cannot manage money or are not prepared to manage it, you cannot manage a business.

Financial management is the most critical responsibility of any business owner or executive.  Its importance is amplified in the start-up stage. Your initial limited budget will need cautious spending with a laser focus on building profits. Planning and strategising financial resources cannot be done if you do not have detailed, up-to-date knowledge of your cash flow.

Even if it makes your head sore, this is a critical skill and task to master if your goal is to be a successful entrepreneur.

In our article “How to measure the success of a business” talks of “the most common business measurements, in small businesses and start-ups, is that of the rise and fall of cash flow, the number of clients being reached and cost reduction efforts.”  Two of three in one sentence mentions finance. It goes on further in details relating to cash flow:

Positive cash flow really is king and is an excellent indicator of business health.  It …affects the evaluation of your business. Positive cash flow can be reinvested into the business, strengthening it and growing its profits.

4. Creativity

Entrepreneurs usually become entrepreneurs because they felt their creativity was stifled in someone else’s company. When you are flying solo, you will need to leverage all the creativity you can muster to find solutions to big, small and weird problems. When there are no textbook solutions, your lateral use of creativity will serve you well! Tenacity and creativity (and finance monitoring) will carry you through many storms.

It is important to note, directionless creativity, i.e. activity versus productivity, is of no use.

5. Communication

If you don’t communicate properly about your business, how will people understand it and, therefore, transact with you? Crisp and concise communication pitched at the right level is a key success factor. Every single interaction of every day will involve either a client, a partner, a peer, a staff member and any combination of those.

When networking, selling or managing, effective communication techniques will deliver better results for you. For a more detailed look at business writing skills, see our article here.  Quality writing skills are cultivated, not born. They require consistent practice, which does require time; however, the more your communication skills improve, the more free time you will discover.

Communication also forms a vital part of your ability to succeed in business development. See our article on business development skills. Our article on a business analyst’s skill set and career path also mentions the vital role that communication plays in the complex and diverse functions of that role.

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