It is a very obvious statement but one that needs to be said – being an entrepreneur is not an easy job. It requires you to have more than two pairs of hands and eyes at the back of your head; if you’re an entrepreneur you will know that this is not an exaggeration.
Although you will undoubtedly pick up skills along the way to make this job easier, knowing beforehand what each situation demands of you can be helpful. These are skills that can be honed only with practice. Distinguishing them from each other, however, will give you a good start. Because most of them tend to overlap, you will see that each one adds to the momentum of the other, finally creating a tidal wave that is a formidable entrepreneur.
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Communicationis a skill that’ll help you at every stage of your growth because people make up the fabric of theuniverse that is business.You will need it when you approach them with your business idea for opinions, when you’re building your network, when you’re putting a team together, when you need that team to reach maximum productivity, when you’re looking for investors or advisors, and when you approach your clients.Simply put, good communication is the seamless metro trainto take when you wish to avoid chaotic traffic. It will let you handle sensitive issues with tact and ask difficult, but necessary, questions.A strong communication skill is to you what a sword is to a samurai. Period.
Contrary to what many believe, having good communication skills isn’t sufficient to be able to negotiate your way through business deals. Good negotiation is a tricky skill to master because it involves reaching a middle ground and still getting what you intended. It requires proper preparation; first, to anticipate the other party’s propositions and arguments, and second, to provide your own suggestions and alternatives.
It requires an ability to listen and understand carefully before responding. One needs to remain calm or at the least project it, even if they’re not. It requires you to stay on topic because negotiation is a conversation after all, and all conversations fall victim to digression. Confidence is the final piece of the puzzle because negotiation is, in a nutshell, selling the benefits of your offer. It is only your confidence in the end that’ll successfully seal the deal.
Like any other planning, strategic planning involves systematic steps that need to be followed to avoid confusion. The first step is knowing your startup’s vision and what you want to achieve.Once you know this, it isimportant to recognise your strengths and weakness and compare them with opportunities and obstacles in the industry. It is then necessary to plan how you could match your strengths to the opportunities available. This marks the process of planning a growth curve.
Strategic planning is essentiallythe analysis of the situation within your startup and that of the industry, and planning how to equalise the two scenarios. Good planning gives you a competitive edge over your rivals because your startup will keep up with market expectations.
This is an essential tool for decision making; to come to a decision, you need to first find relevant information, understand it, and thenfind patterns in it. It is only now that information transforms into knowledge – digestible data that you can actually apply. Data regarding your business will usually flow in surplus amounts, and discerning it – quickly – is essential to know which direction your startup is headed in and how you can steer it. Numerical information is the language of business, so it will serve you well to familiarise yourself with it. This skill also gives youdifferent perspectives which add to your pool of knowledge needed to arrive at a decision.
Leadership and management skills
Although these skills are not exactly the same, they require a common frame of mind. Both require you to take the initiative and responsibility of directing your team. As a leader, you will need to be open-minded to gather opinions, and as a manager you will need to use those opinions and implement changes. As a leader, you will need to motivate and inspire your team, and as a manager you will need to delegate responsibilities among your team members effectively. Management skills delve intoresponsibilities that include directing your human resource, financial resource and technological resource efficiently so that business operations can run smoothly.
One must realise that it is simply not a matter of having these skills; it is a matter of developing them. It is a difficult learning curve to achieve but onethat reflects on your business so it is worth all that sweat and blood.