Must have business skills to take the entrepreneurial plunge
It takes a lot to convert a potentially viable business idea into a successfully running business operation, and only a handful of entrepreneurs succeed in this endeavour. It is estimated that 90 percent of startups fail within the first five years of starting up. Lack of innovation, inadequate financial management, below par marketing strategies, and overambitious expansion plans are some factors that ruin startups.
Launching a business and setting it into operation requires multiple skills. Entrepreneurs overseeing this phase of business must therefore be capable of wearing multiple hats and undertaking a series of technical as well as specialised tasks on their own.
Even if you are outsourcing or delegating tasks, it is imperative to know every operation to ensure the business is running on the right track. Clearly, a wantrepreneur must do his/her homework before taking the plunge into the difficult startup world.
While a number of essential business skills are usually learnt on the job, it is advisable for wantrepreneurs to prepare themselves by learning a series of critical business skills.
Undertaking training or internships, working for different businesses and taking up a series of short term digital business learning programmes can help individuals acquire the skills needed to put their business on the runway.
New-age marketing skills
Effective marketing is a critical stepping stone for a successful sales strategy. Marketing has today grown into a multi-dimensional exercise involving not just traditional outreach activities but a wide array of digital and social media outreach as well.
It is advisable therefore that wantrepreneurs understand the basic elements of marketing strategies before launching a business. Online learning can keep you a step ahead in this. A series of online business skilling courses can help you learn the basics of traditional and digital marketing including content marketing, SEO, Facebook and Instagram marketing. Intelligent use of these platforms will help augment the reach of your business manifold.
This might seem a very obvious suggestion, but understanding sales strategies is one of the most critical business skills for an entrepreneur. If you are an entrepreneur, you also need to be an intelligent salesman. However, in a highly competitive market, your sales strategies need to keep up with the time.
Consultative selling rather than product-based selling is the approach that finds greater resonance among new-age businesses. While every salesperson sells his/her product, you have to learn to make the entire sales process look like a problem solving process for the buyer, and that is essentially what consultative selling is about.
When you adopt a consultative selling approach, you are not acting as a salesperson, rather as a consultant for the buyer. The process involves thorough research and gathering information on the customers’ needs before approaching them with a solution rather than just a product. Learning the art of consultative selling will set you apart as a salesperson and make your sales process more seamless and customer friendly.
The ability to conduct effective market research is one of the most underrated business skills. However, conducting a thorough market research to study the state of the market and identify the voids and gaps is a critical element in business success.
Effective market research prepares the ground for your business by providing you the right information and knowledge of where your competitors stand, what your target consumer is and where your industry is headed.
Make no mistake. Market research is not just essential before launching a business, but it is an inseparable part of running a business. Effective market research is elementary to enable businesses adapt themselves to the changing needs of time.
Data analytics or the art of making business sense of numerous data is a widely emerging skill that entrepreneurs will need going forward. A growing mass of data being generated online is a treasure trove of information that businesses must make use of to launch targeted selling strategies.
With digital sales gaining increasing prominence, knowing data analytical skills can help entrepreneurs make data-driven decisions resulting in improved product offerings and better business strategy. This lends a huge competitive advantage to small businesses that are restarting in the market. So, if you are planning to start a business, understanding data must be on your agenda.
Financial management is not just about avoiding over spending. A range of financial decisions play vital roles in defining the trajectory of a business. These include borrowing wisely, making the right investment vs ROI assessments, taking the right spending decisions for different core areas of the business, and minimising operational costs.
Investing a certain amount of your profits wisely is another key skill that can create strong collaterals, and boost the strength of the business. Often, entrepreneurs make miscalculations about investing in business expansion, and fail to optimise their resources.
A calibrated and cautious financial strategy is advisable, particularly for businesses in their initial phases. Also, it is important to remember that one must never mix up their personal and business finances. Learning the basics of effective financial management is therefore crucial for entrepreneurs. This can be done through digital business skilling courses.
Once a startup gains a foothold in the market, establishing a brand identity becomes an important element of your overall marketing strategy.
Effective brand management strategies help project a certain image of your organisation, enables consumers to associate your brand with a set of principles and values, and ignite greater brand awareness. This not only helps raise the value of your products and services, but also helps build a loyal set of customers.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)