Entrepreneurs often face uncertainty, high stress, and looming deadlines. These 10 essential entrepreneurial skills will help smooth the way, making it easier to face those ups and downs.
The life of an entrepreneur is fast-paced, scrappy, and ever-changing. It’s not something for the faint-hearted, but for all of the high-risk, it can result in higher rewards.
If you’re considering starting your own business, or already have one but are looking to upskill your knowledge-base, then look no further. In this article, we’ll explore the 10 skills you need to have as an entrepreneur to help your business and work ethic hit new levels.
Entrepreneurial skills to conquer in 2020
Soft skills to stay savvy
1. Time management
This is an essential soft skill for an entrepreneur looking to maximise their time. You’ve probably heard of the expression “work smarter, not harder” and, really, it all comes down to good time management. There are a ton of time management tips and tools out there but a few to start with are:
• If it’s not in the calendar, it doesn’t exist. Schedule your meetings (even if they’re five-minute catch-ups) as much as you schedule your downtime. Give yourself time to disconnect as much as you connect.
• To-do lists work. Research has proven that unfinished goals can lead to poor performance — unless those goals are stored in a to-do list. Set yourself micro and macro goals. Plan daily as thoroughly as you plan quarterly.
• Make way for morning routines. Routines are great for setting up your day to be as productive as possible. Factor in breakfast & tea/coffee, meditation, exercise, and general time to warm up for the day.
2. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence, or EI, has sharply risen in popularity within positive psychology in the last two decades. It’s the ability to understand and manage emotional encounters.
This soft skill has a surprising shelf life, and once conquered can truly help an entrepreneur to communicate better, handle stress, and effectively harness emotions for greater workplace performance.
3. Public speaking
Public speaking doesn’t necessarily mean giving speeches in front of large crowds. Speaking in public can be something as small as starting a conversation in the lift. It’s the confidence you have behind your conversation and how successful you are in engaging the listener.
There are public speaking courses available. However, a more enjoyable way to conquer the anxiety that accompanies many at the thought of speaking in public is by joining an improv class. After putting yourself out there with improv, you’ll soon find that speaking in public will seem like a walk in the park.
Consistency is such an essential soft skill for building trust with customers, employees, and partners. People will judge your character and your business by your consistency.
In the early stages of your business, create your mission, and stick to it. Let your values ring true in your everyday actions and if your business commits to something, then showcase your effort to make that thing happen.
Empathetic leadership is a trait that will not only win you customers but will help you to retain talent. A great leader should be able to understand, adapt, and include all people and their differences.
In leading with empathy, you’ll be able to relate to people better and forge more genuine business relationships.
All startups need to be agile. 2020 taught the business world that someone’s adaptability can result in the make or break of a small business.
You’ll need to conquer many hurdles along your entrepreneurship journey; how you overcome them will determine the trajectory of your business.
That being said, there may also come a moment when a hurdle is simply too big to conquer, and it’s time to pivot, completely changing direction. There’s no shame in it, adaptability is a trait that constantly battles with pride, but if you can harness it you’ll be a better entrepreneur.
Hard skills to help you hack it
7, Data literacy
In your early growth years as an entrepreneur, data will be one of your best assets. However, if you’re not able to read your data, then it doesn’t matter how many tracking tools and data collection software you implement, your time will be wasted.
Data literacy is the ability to understand the numbers and convert them into actionable insights. A small business should be using tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Social Media Analytics, and more. Reading the data using these tools can help you to build your business based on facts, not feelings.
8. Video editing
By 2022, video is predicted to account for 82% of all online traffic. We know the importance of video as business people. Its impact on social media and marketing, in general, is massive. There’s no doubt that at some point, you’ll need to introduce video into your marketing or personal branding strategy.
This is not to say that you need to be an Adobe Premiere Pro wizard. However, a good knowledge of basic video editing software will do you a world of good when you need to get scrappy and create engaging content with a tight budget.
9. Design— UX and UI
Design thinking and basic design knowledge is a hard skill that every entrepreneur at least needs to dip their toe into. Strategic user experience efforts can increase conversion rates by as much as 400%. An understanding of good UX and UI is crucial for you to maintain a professional brand online and win loyal customers.
Again, much like with video editing, this doesn’t mean you need to change your career path to get a world of design knowledge under your belt.
Try to find unique ways you can introduce easy design-friendly tools into your customer-facing platforms. Consider using something like Typeform for your business forms, lead acquisition, and early years’ sales orders. You don’t need to be a coding expert to make good UX.
10. SEO & growth hacking
Last on our list is SEO & growth hacking. SEO is a tactic within growth hacking, and both are so essential for early-stage business success. If you’re ever stuck on a minimal budget and resources, then you’ll need to hustle and find innovative ways to create rapid growth for your business.
Having a good knowledge of SEO is so crucial for your onsite content strategy as well as your off-site PR and social media strategies. SEO encompasses so much more than keywords. If you’re serious about becoming an entrepreneur, SEO needs to be on your checklist.
The road to becoming an entrepreneur can be seemingly never-ending. Your skill sets will continuously be shifting depending on the challenges you face. Many soft skills will be with you for life, once you’ve got them. Hard skills are more time and trend specific.
Learn quickly, onboard what you and your business needs, and strive to be better in every opportunity you get.