The business world is changing. Fifteen years ago, a good product was enough to have a prosperous business. Now, in the time of global village, this is not far from the truth. With the competition on the internet market, many businesses offering the same or very similar product, so you need to have the vision to provide a value for your clients. The main takeaway of this article – you need to think and rethink your business as often as possible, be an online influencer and do the growth hacking to be able to thrive.
Let’s take a look at the top 15 entrepreneurial skills you’ll need for 2019.
Ability of creative imagination
Creative imagination and goal visualisation is where it all begins if you like to increase probability of reaching the goals. All top performers, regardless of profession, know the importance of picturing themselves succeeding in their minds before they actually do in reality. Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was always stressing the importance of seeing himself victorious long before the actual fight. As a struggling young actor, Jim Carrey used to picture himself being the greatest actor in the world. These top performers, among many others, have mastered the technique of positive visualisation and openly credit it as a success tactic.
We used to say about this method as careful planning – but planning starts where you have all needed information for mathematical precision of the plan. With a creative imagination, the entrepreneur is allowing the creative mind to express what he/she wants to become, how will feel when the goal will be achieved, how this endeavour will change the life of the target customers.
Overcoming fear of fail
To be able to overcome fear, the entrepreneur needs a mindset preparation. An entrepreneur needs to be aware of risks and failure on one side and success and welfare on the other side. It is the entrepreneur’s decision on where he wants to give focus. He/she should replace fear with persistence and enthusiasm. It’s going to be uncomfortable at times but a wise person can overcome this with loving what is doing.
It is good that the entrepreneur doesn’t know everything in advance. The business will grow gradually, and the steps will be depending on it. The entrepreneur should not wait that all “traffic lights” will be “green” before starting the journey. It also means that he/she will take some risks. The entrepreneur needs to focus on understanding what would be an under-the-water shot that could take the whole thing down and to only step in or protect against those kinds of problems
Passion – Making value with the business
This is something which creates conflict for all business newcomers. “Why be an entrepreneur if the money isn’t the reason? Does focusing on more than the bottom line of your balance sheet add to your company’s value?” Richard Branson, a man behind 400 companies of Virgin Group certainly thinks so. Virgin’s commitment to environmental and societal causes has contributed to employee happiness and the success of his business.
Creating money requires a big dream (something you’re passionate about) and a set of beliefs that makes you think you can achieve it. If you pursue something just for the potential big payday, I can guarantee you one thing – you will fail miserably! The entrepreneur must be aware that when you start something strictly for money, your heart is not into it, which makes it impossible to persevere through the difficulties and challenges you will face. With your business, you need to foresee the difference you are making – and you need to believe it. Money needs to be the consequence of your action, not the paramount goal.
Learning – Constant reading habit
World’s highest achievers have one thing in common: it isn’t a high IQ not the incredible lucky streak, but their appreciation for constant learning through reading and practising. The world is bursting with education. There are millions of business books, 3.000 TED talks, 10.000 MOOCs, hundreds of thousands of e-learning courses, and millions of self-published articles on platforms such as LinkedIn and Medium. The modern learner has very little time for learning –less than 1% of their time, according to Bersin, a division of Deloitte. Plus, it is more important than ever to learn continuously as the shelf life of skills shortens and career lengthen.
Learning is the single best investment of our time that we can make. As Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” This understanding is basic to succeeding in our knowledge economy, yet few people realise it. Luckily, once you do understand the value of knowledge, it’s simple to get more of it. The entrepreneur must dedicate to constant learning.
Opportunity – ability to recognise it
Opportunity recognition means proactively brainstorming a new business venture or expansion of the existing idea. In essence, it is a discovery of an idea and means to create new businesses. Opportunity is a time difference between current expectations and a potentially better situation.
At the real heart of entrepreneurship are three things:
- identify or recognise opportunity,
- review or assess opportunity,
- successfully execute it.
While these tasks seem straightforward on paper, the skills needed for each one are very different, and it is difficult to be good at all of them. To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to excel at all three, all at the same time.
Creativity – unlock your passion and potential
Creativity is an essential part of every business. Some professions, like software engineers, use creativity daily to reinvent their code while others, like tailors, sometimes hiding these skills. But all of them shows their creativity in their product or service – and customers support it with the purchase.
It is important to know that we cannot be creative all the time. Creativity is a synonym of free thinking, not judging, open-mindedness, limitless, without rules. If a model of a business is a stick, creativity is on the opposite side to the systematisation, standards, strict regulations and times. You cannot be creative and obey strict time rule – you cannot say that you will develop some new, never seen product, tomorrow from 1 pm to 5 pm. That’s why the developers never have a tidy desk and are stereotyped as bushy hair people with glasses while business managers should be in the suit with the tie.
Digital identity – build your online presence
To create a professional digital identity, as an entrepreneur you first needs to understand “what makes you, YOU”. You need to know who you are, what your story is, and most importantly stick with that story. Company brands that have been successful were those that had a personal story that touched on emotion. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses, you will be able to highlight those aspects that set them apart from other people. This regards all aspects of their brand: in person and online. The entrepreneurs have to reflect their true self in everything they do, or they risk not looking credible. Not credible means people do not trust you and this means no business.
Pitching – Ability to make a 20 seconds presentation of what you are doing
Having a good idea and a great business model may not always take the entrepreneur far if they don’t know how to present that idea. It’s very crucial to be able to explain the idea in a well-structured format and convey the message in a way that captures the audience. Pitching brings all the knowledge the entrepreneur have gained together regarding business modelling.
Pitching skills will help you overcome the inherent fear of public speaking and aims at teaching you the structure of a successful pitch and effective communication. Always remember that a good idea is not good in its own right. You have to be able to present it effectively and “sell it”.
Persistence – never stop developing your business
There are a million ways to do the business. One system is better than others, and over time, things are changing. Technology changes. The attitude of customers changes. So, business owners should improve their business too. This is just as true for developing businesses as it is for personal development. The entrepreneurs can always do better after they went through the process of first development.
Secrets of growth behind companies like Amazon and Uber is in a new model, called “growth hacking”. The phrase is only five years old and already gain significant momentum. You can Grow Hack offline or online – it is essential that you do not need to use standard or high-cost channels for getting feedback from the customers and then act according to the results. The entrepreneur needs to change the business model according to the rules of the customers even if they have the only startup.
Mobilising Resources – Outsourcing and sharing economy
There was a time in business when the entrepreneurs need to have all the knowledge. Carpenters made the whole house – from flooring, cabinetry to door installation. Now, the industry is changed. Opportunities, due to the vast communication network, are now extensive. Some services, like coaching, once too expensive for the young entrepreneur, are now easy reachable.
Model is calling outsourcing – giving something to be developed to somebody outside your company. There are many websites which connect clients with the freelancer (somebody who is in general self-employed and has knowledge the entrepreneurs need). Examples of such sites are www.freelancer.com and www.PeoplePerHour.com. These platforms allow millions to connect and share assets with minimal expense, sometimes even for free.
Problem-solving is the act of defining a problem; determining the cause of the problem; identifying, prioritising and selecting alternatives for a solution; and implementing a solution. Having excellent, strong problem-solving skills can make a massive difference to your career.
A fundamental part of every manager’s role is finding ways to solve any problem that will arise. So, an entrepreneur, being a confident problem solver is vital to your success. Much of that confidence comes from having a good process to use when approaching a problem. With one, you can solve problems quickly and effectively. Without one, your solutions may be ineffective, or you’ll get stuck and do nothing, with sometimes painful consequences. As an entrepreneur, you need to stick to the four-step model: 1) Definition of the problem, 2) Generating alternatives, 3) Evaluation and selection of the best option, 4)Implement the solution.
Analysis – Ability to build your analytical skills
In the Digital Age that we live in, to be able to run a business – either a startup or a large company – it is imperative to build strong analytical skills. Collecting, organising, analysing and interpreting data plays a crucial role in running a business successfully. It is clear to all entrepreneurs of all ages that information is a powerful weapon and, if used wisely, it can help you achieve your goals faster and more effectively and outrun the competition.
Analytical skill is the ability to visualise, articulate, and make decisions that are sensible and based on available information. Such skills include the demonstration of the ability to apply logical thinking to gathering and analysing data, designing and testing solutions to problems, and formulating plans.
Your buyer – Ability to focus on your buyer when developing product or service
The entrepreneur has to answer and reflect on the following questions: What does your startup/company do? Who does it serve, and how is it different or unique?
The customer value proposition is the keystone for effective product marketing activities. It quantifies how that value is realised based on all of the target user’s likely product experiences. The customer value proposition provides a focused approach to understand the target user in the context of your product.
To develop a compelling product, it is necessary to measure the degree of fit (coherence) between the values and expectations of the customer and the value proposition of the company. It is strategic to make changes to adjust the product from the client’s suggestions.
Competition – Ability to keep a close eye on your competitors
In the modern world, overstuffed with all kinds of content and information noise, you have to dramatically stand out from the competition to be seen. While there are many ways to try, one of the easiest ways to perform better is to learn from your competitors. And doing it much better. If you’re doing the same thing as everyone else, how do you expect to stand out? Or worse, why should anyone buy from you if they’re already buying the same from others.
That’s why competitive analysis is so critical.
Planning – Ability to plan your roadmap
“What will your business be like in three years? Do you have a road map to get from today to your envisioned tomorrow? Will you be a few steps closer to realising your vision by next year?” No one can predict the future. But if you don’t change anything, the future won’t be any different from the past.
Strategy means consciously choosing to be clear about your company’s direction. With strategy, you’re in a much better position to respond proactively to the changing environment.
In short – you need steps and deadlines for your business to know if you are doing well or not. It is a recurring process which needs to be followed regularly, usually every quarter of the year.
Going Digital – and online
If 85% of all companies are thinking about the digital transformation – isn’t the right time to think about it at the startup of the company? The reason for that is dead simple – your customers!
The Internet is part of your daily activity. It is not something used occasionally, and it is not just about social media. The Internet is base for all business communications, and customer convenience is probably the most critical factor that 71% of the customers think they will get a better price online. The Internet also means access to the worldwide market and exploitation of global competition.
No matter you are a hair stylist or business coach – if you are not online, your choice to be successful are far slimmer.
These fifteen skills are important to any entrepreneur today, and well worth updating for 2019 and beyond.
What do you think, do we missed one?
Authors: Igor Razbornik, Stephanie Apserou