The most successful entrepreneurs are not the ones who determine their success based on their education, a great idea, or experience in a niche area. They are in fact the ones who developed the required skill set to achieve that kind of success. Top financial leaders in India such as Sanjiv Bajaj and Vijay Shekhar or global leaders such as Elon Musk, Satya Nadella, and Tim Cook have embodied the skills and nurtured them over time to take their businesses to where they are today.
Here are seven critical entrepreneur skills that are integral for any business to succeed:
1. Drive and Ambition
Most successful entrepreneurs don’t give up when faced with roadblocks and failures; they persist because of their drive and ambition. They have the kind of faith in their idea that makes them want to succeed, no matter the hindrances. Each small milestone they achieve is a step closer to the end goal, which helps them thrive. Alan Varela says that ambitious and driven entrepreneurs don’t look for the easy way out but have the drive to work endlessly and stay committed till they get the job done.
2. Willingness to Learn
Learning is a continuous process in a person’s entrepreneurial journey. Steve Jobs had said, ‘Stay hungry, stay foolish!’, which means one can never be satisfied with what they have learned to date; there needs to be a constant hunger and willingness to learn. Getting a special certification or a fancy college degree is not enough. The business environment is in a constant state of flux – technological advancements, business processes, consumer demands, industry trends are changing and it is imperative to get acquainted and learn about these changes. The most successful entrepreneurs constantly seek knowledge and take advice and opinions from subject matter experts to achieve business success.
3. Effective communication and Ability to Listen
Effective communication and the ability to listen are skills that will make an entrepreneur a great team leader. Communication needs to be effective – both inwardly and outwardly. To communicate to others effectively, an entrepreneur should pay heed to others’ goals, motivations, interests, body language, and other such attributes. The overall communication should not be self-promotional and instead focus on how everyone will benefit as a whole. This induces a collaborative environment, where people get motivated to align themselves with the end goal. Entrepreneurs who successfully communicate their vision foster the support of their teams and end up creating a highly inspired and driven team.
Doing the same thing over and over will, somewhere, lead to a plateau with no new results. Entrepreneurs figure out what works best for their business from time to time. Creativity is the backbone of innovation and forces everyone around to think differently. If you evaluate some of the most successful entrepreneurs, they have considered out-of-the-box and found creative solutions to existing problems. Not only do they seek new perspectives, but they create an environment that nurtures creativity. It is this creative thinking that brings them some of the best ideas.
5. Assertiveness and Confidence
Just like it is important to listen, it is equally important to take control of the situation and assert oneself. Entrepreneurs need to have confidence in their opinion and beliefs. They should know what they stand for and assert themselves when needed. Also, the optimal assertiveness is key, being too assertive or under assertive can work against them.
Perseverance is one of the most important that the most successful business entrepreneurs possess. Despite facing multiple setbacks, failures, and defeats, they have only emerged stronger. The idea is to view these events not as failures but as key learnings and not give up. Staying optimistic and persevering through these times ensures calculated changes to future endeavours. Persistence is the key to business success.
7. Courage and Risk-taking
Risk-taking depicts that the entrepreneur is a true business leader and visionary who has faith in the potential reward that awaits them on the other side. Risk-taking empowers one to innovate and harness the power of creativity by entering unfamiliar territory. Complacency is adverse for any business, so being courageous enough to take risks is important to determine success. Like John Burroughs rightly said, “Leap, and the net will appear.” If your idea is great, take that risk.
While two entrepreneurs may have the same business idea, sometimes it is only one of the two who achieves business success. Having the idea, the vision, or the academic qualification does not make the cut alone. Success comes from having the courage and the drive to make that idea a reality and in the process, applying the required skills to everyone’s advantage.
If you look at the famous financial leaders in India and across the globe, you will see a common skill set that runs through most of them. While some entrepreneurial skills come naturally, others have worked hard to amass the skill set over time. In order to achieve success and take their business to soaring heights, these leaders have mastered soft skills along with hard skills.
Just getting a good business degree or having a great idea is not enough; attributes like Ambition, effective communication, risk-taking, willingness to learn, creativity, and confidence amongst other traits are key to the business’s success.