Friday, September 21, 2018
Entrepreneur Skills that Pay the Bills
Being an entrepreneur is not easy. In fact, it is extremely tough. Every day is a battle trying to stay on top of never-ending to-do lists, client engagement, financial management and putting out endless fires. What’s a social life? Following your dream is not all its cracked up to be and yet is the best choice you might ever make. You need to be a master of all aspects of the business world. Today, I give you my Top 10 Skills for Entrepreneurs to be successful in business. Some are soft skills, and some are hard, but all are important.
This one is the first for a reason. I don’t care if you are selling shoes or spaceships, you must be authentic. People must believe you and believe in you. You are essentially separating people from their money for the use of a good or service. That is not an easy thing to do. They must trust that you will do what you say you will do, or your product will be all you say it will be. That requires passion and purpose. If you are not authentic about the business you are in, you probably chose the wrong one.
There is a reason that great communicators are almost always successful in life. They relay their message with poise, purpose, and conviction. Speaking well is a skill that can carry you through life. When you are in business, you must be able to speak clearly about what it is that you do. No one trusts a mumbler and no one wants to do business with a speed talker. Looking at the ground, staring into space, fidgeting, and straight up not listening will cause you great harm in the business world. If you aren’t that great at communicating don’t fret. Many aren’t but they practice and get better over time. There are classes in your community that can help you get rid of your fear or difficulty with speaking clearly.
I am a firm believer that the greatest trait one can possess in this world is empathy. To be able to put yourself in another’s position and attempt to understand what they are going through is essential in life and business. For your business, it will allow you to reach your client on a whole new level. You will be able to match them with the right product or service because you understand what they want and need. To be a true empath you need to be a great listener. To be a great listener, you need to stop talking and open your ears to the problems of your client. Those skills will allow you to connect with your client on a whole new level.
4) Master the meet
Building relationships are also essential for the entrepreneur. We live in a tightly wound economy. Although we don’t use bartering as a form of trade, for the most part, we essentially are in a barter system. You provide a good or service to a guy who does the same for someone else and so on. In order for this to exist, there must be a constant building of relationships. Like a plant, a relationship must be nourished with communication and trust. Take the relationships you begin as an entrepreneur seriously and always attempt to keep them strong. Don’t be flakey, don’t be lazy and always care. Remember that everyone you meet is a potential client, so take every meeting seriously.
5) Be your brand
Whether you sell puppies or pancakes, you have to be the puppy guy or the pancake gal. We often feel terrified when starting out that people won’t be receptive to our brand or of us in general. You must overcome that fear and be your brand. As an entrepreneur, you are “on” all the time, which can be tiresome. Remember, this is what you signed up for. When the 8 PM call comes about pancake recipes you have to be ready to take it. I walk down the street and people yell out “Hey Budget Boss.” It took me a while to fully embrace that, but it’s part of the gig. It all goes back to the authenticity part. If you aren’t fully your brand, why would anyone want to be a part of it either?
I really struggle with this part. Being organized is extremely important. The world is going to throw curveballs at you every day. There will be constant problems to solve so being on top of your day before you get sidetracked is important. There are many online tools to help you stay organized including task managers, productivity trackers, and Client Relationship Managers or CRM’s. Use these to stay on track with your daily tasks because things will pop up all the time. It is far too easy to lose a whole week while chasing a rabbit down a hole.
7) Mind your money
Most businesses don’t fail because of lack of passion, or dedication, or even amount of sales. Most businesses that don’t succeed do so because of bad money management. You must understand that the success of your business is dependent on the success you have with money. It is extremely tempting to go out and rack up debt trying to get your business off the ground. There are also many other business people out there that will peddle their goods and services to you stating that it will help grow your business. You must look at your first 3-5 years in business as a break-even proposition. If you can survive those times and come out with your head above water, you will go far. Managing your monthly cash flow is huge and making sure you aren’t in a mountain of debt is also huge. You are of no good to anyone as a business if your doors aren’t open anymore. If you can’t manage your money properly, seek help in that area.
8) Manage expectations
I remember when I released my website just over a year ago. I assumed that within a week or so the phones would be ringing off the hook with people looking for help with their finances. What I actually heard was crickets. Just because you have a great idea or a great product does not mean you will fly out the gates. You need to put in the time and work to get what you want in business so managing your own expectations is huge. You must also manage the expectations of your clients as well. This is where your authenticity and communication skills will come into play. People will be tolerant of you as long as you are honest and doing your due diligence. If not, it will lead to many unhappy people which can be very damaging to your reputation.
9) Handling failure and stress
Failure is a huge part of a business. Warren Buffett invests in numerous companies annually, many of which do not blow up as predicted. He understands that it is these experiences that lead to him picking winners over time. Remember that a failure is only a true failure if you don’t learn something from it. Failures often cause stress too. It is important to understand that in business and in life, there are many things you have no control over. If you cannot control something, why stress about it. In those situations, do the best you can and roll with it as much as possible. Focus on controlling the things that you can and mitigating the damage from the things that you can’t.
10) It’s right to write
We live in a digital age where our attention spans are very limited. This is why you see an abundance of pictures and video taking our eyeballs away from life. Despite this, writing is still the best way to reach your clients. When a client choosing to read what you write they are stepping into your world, even if just for a few minutes. Creating engaging content is important, but often it can become gimmicky. Using your time to write about your product or services shows patience, care and lets your clients know more about you than any video can. They say a picture says a thousand words, but you never know what those words will say. A thousand words still say a thousand words and it conveys your message exactly the way you want.
When you run a business, you will wear many hats. Make sure one of those hats is the hat of curiosity. It should be a goal to always be learning and growing. With the speed the world moves at these days, not doing so will leave you and your business behind.
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele
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