Many entrepreneurs believe that the most important factor that will determine their level of success with a startup relates to their overall experience and skills in the niche area. However, the most successful entrepreneurs have developed a certain set of skills that has helped them reach their goals. While you definitely need nerve and patience to launch and run a new business, you also need to focus on nurturing these seven critical skills that are integral to your future success in very important ways.
Here are the essential soft skills (people skills or anything that is not a technical skill) that you will need to learn or import to help you succeed in your business:
It is easy to give up when the going gets tough, but the most successful entrepreneurs persist because of their ambitious nature. They want to succeed, and they thrive on reaching small milestones that are stepping stones to their major goals. When you are highly ambitious, you have an internal drive to work hard, and you may be committed to doing what it takes to make your business a success. Generally, you will not look for shortcuts as you are willing to put in the time necessary to get the job done right.
Willingness to learn
Some people think that learning stops when you graduate college or earn a special certification, but this is not the case. Education is a life-long process. You must stay updated with changes in technology, the evolution of your industry, sales processes and more. Always seek new knowledge. More than that, look for the most successful people in your industry and do not be afraid to ask for their opinions or advice.
Ability to listen
You simply cannot manage a great team or provide great customer service if you are not an effective communicator. Communication is a two-way street. In order to communicate outwardly in an effective manner, you must pay attention to others’ motivations, hot buttons, interests and more. You also must be aware of non-verbal cues, such as body language. Avoid coming off as being self-promotional or vain, and strive to show that you are helpful and interested in others. This can foster collaboration, and get others excited about your goals more, rather than turn them off because you seem overly interested in your own self-interests.
If you always do the same thing, you very likely will not enjoy new and better results. You must try new things to find what works best. You also need to enrich your life with new experiences regularly. This may be something as simple as talking to new people or taking a personal interest class. Each experience that you have can lead to new opportunities that you previously did not have available to you.
Assertiveness and confidence
While listening is important for effective communication, you also must know when you need to take control of the conversation and assert your opinions and beliefs. You should listen to others who are making reasonable claims and requests, but you also need to know when to say no. Be consistent yet open-minded to earn respect and trust from those around you. You need to know what you stand for, and you need to stand up for those beliefs.
Ability to plan
Strategic planning is a very important business activity. Strategic planning is a process of defining your company’s strategy or direction and making decisions on allocations of resources of capital and people. The key is to know how to project your company’s future performance, within a three-to-five-year framework or more, supported by your well-defined business plan.
Many of the most successful business owners have suffered devastating defeats and failures. Rather than look at these events as the end, they have looked at these events as important learning moments. They maintained their optimism and perseverance, but they also made calculated changes to future efforts. Remember that you only fail when you stop trying. Persistence is the key to success.
Courage and risk-taking
In order to harness the power of creativity, you must have the courage to act on your great ideas and plans. While you need to research your ideas thoroughly, you must also have the courage to take an unknown step and try things that are unfamiliar to you. In the words of John Burroughs, “Leap, and the net will appear.”
Finding a successful path in life is rarely a straight and narrow process. Many entrepreneurs must take numerous steps to develop the right combination of skills, traits and knowledge to be successful with their efforts. If you focus your attention on nurturing these traits in your own life, you should be able to enjoy better overall success with future entrepreneurial efforts.