Entrepreneurs are those who ideate, design, implement, and launch a business. Being an entrepreneur isn’t for everyone, but those looking to take the leap would benefit from working to develop a set of skills that can help them succeed. Here are four skills all entrepreneurs must cultivate.
photo credit: Bernard Goldbach / Flickr
Discipline is a form of training, whether mental or physical, that one uses in pursuit of a goal or mission. There is usually nothing flashy about discipline — it is a steady progress, often unremarked, day after day. Discipline is doing something even though you don’t feel like it or when the reward is so far down the road that it’s hard to rely on as a motivator.
Being disciplined is key to entrepreneurship because not every aspect of launching a business is glamorous. It can take a long time to build an audience, sell your first product, or make it through lengthy rounds of funding or tedious legal proceedings.
Cultivate self-discipline by creating simple goals and working toward them diligently over time. The goal can be as small as meditating for five minutes every day or as big as landing your first client.
Even if you’re lucky enough to outsource most of your money management, it is critical to understand how to track and manage money. Money management includes everything from how much is coming in and going out to expenses such as supplies and wages, how your business income is taxed, and how much money you need to take your product or service to the next level.
Money management isn’t just important in business; it’s important in life. To build wealth, save for the future, and invest in the present, every entrepreneur needs to have a firm grasp on personal as well as business financials. If you are not confident in your personal money management skills, you might struggle to run a business. Meet with an accountant or a business advisor to brush up on your money management skills.
If you’re learning continuously, you’re consistently striving to update your skills, increase your understanding of topics relevant to your business, and learn more about yourself and the world around you. The best entrepreneurs make time to learn something new every day, whether that knowledge is immediately relevant to their goals or not.
Continuous learning can be self-guided or assisted by programs available to independent business owners, such as the education provided by Amway. Being a lifelong student doesn’t need to be expensive. Reading blogs and articles and watching educational videos are all great ways to reach for new knowledge. You also have a lot to learn from the people around you, whether they are business owners, leaders, or subject matter experts. Start by looking at your circle of friends and family, and discover what each of them has to share.
Every entrepreneur must learn how to network. Networking is the act of making connections inside and outside of your industry. Successful entrepreneurs have a vast network of acquaintances, friends, and partners who can provide support, ideas, and solidarity when needed.
One common misconception about networking is that everyone in your network must be immediately useful. This simply isn’t true. Broadening your network means you might cultivate a relationship with someone who, perhaps years down the road, can either help you or you can help them. It is important to understand that networking is about giving as much as it is taking (and the best entrepreneurs give much more than they take).
Begin networking by attending local small business events or industry-specific gatherings such as meetups and conferences. Keep an open mind, and bring a lot of business cards with you.
Being a successful entrepreneur is about more than having a great product or service to sell. Entrepreneurs are jacks of all trades that are self-disciplined, continuous learners, comfortable with money management, and always looking for the next person to connect with. These skills, if cultivated properly, will give you a head start on creating a resilient, successful business.