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“Passion, creativity and resilience are the most crucial skills in business. If you’ve got those, you’re ready to embark on the journey.”
–Jo Malone, founder of Jo Malone, a perfume and scented candle brand, owned by Estée Lauder since 1999
While Malone is correct about these three skills being extremely important for entrepreneurship, there are many other vital skills, including being able to make connections, having grit, acting like a true leader, excelling at time management, staying organized, being open to feedback and taking risks. Let’s take a closer look:
The best way to help customers become attached to your product, service or organization is to develop a connection with them. You must make them feel something.
Because about 50% of a customer’s experience is related to emotions, the key to your business success is embracing the fact that customers are emotional beings and learning how to consistently improve the customer experience.
Grit is defined as courage, resolve and strength of character—all crucial skills for an entrepreneur. “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals,” said Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, who discussed the importance of grit as a predictor of success in her 2013 TED talk.
She explained: “Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Simply put, grit embodies true entrepreneurship.
Be a Leader
Leaders take charge, empower and motivate those around them, and inspire others to do the right thing. They lead by example and work hard to keep employees engaged and feeling challenged. In addition, they focus on self-improvement and consistently do the following:
–build a support network of mentors and advisors
–invest time in recruiting and retaining talent
–learn to effectively delegate, trust others and give up control
Effectively Manage Time
In the words of Thomas Edison, “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” Because time is so valuable to entrepreneurs, developing effective time management skills is vital to business success. Several tips for achieving your business goals via good time management include the following:
–Focus on your most important tasks in the morning when you are you fresh and energetic.
–Instead of stopping to answer emails throughout the day, schedule a block of time to read/reply to email and stick to this allotted timeframe.
—In order to keep yourself mentally strong, take frequent breaks throughout the day— especially mid-morning.
–While some people feel overwhelmed with a to-do list, these lists can help you effectively set goals and direct your focus on what needs to be accomplished within a specific timeframe.
Excel at Organization
Strong organization skills can improve your day-to-day environment. Part of organization also means de-cluttering because removing clutter can help improve focus and attention in your environment.
Be Open to Feedback
The only way to accurately gauge the success of your customer experience is to ask. This feedback can reveal the areas where you need to improve in order to meet customer expectations and needs. But just gathering the data is not enough. It’s all about how you use the feedback.
According to an Inc. Magazine article by Whitney Wood, managing partner of the Phelon Group, “If you handle it right, the dialog between you and your customers can become the lifeline of your business. To establish and maintain a healthy flow, customer feedback must result in change your customers can see. Change is the most powerful currency to reward vocal and consultative customers.”
Be sure to actually act on the feedback to improve your services/ product and deliver an enhanced customer experience. This information not only helps initiate change, but allows you to take meaningful action.
Entrepreneurship and risk go hand in hand. As a result, it is important to be flexible and comfortable with change. Being able to take risks can give you a competitive edge and move your business forward. Keep in mind that some risks are not as sound as others. Good planning, financial management and using other entrepreneurs as a sounding board can help you navigate the risks within your business.
Becoming an entrepreneur is a very exciting opportunity. While it is a big job, this list of necessary skills should not intimidate you. If you don’t possess them now, you can learn them gradually over time and with experience.
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