Entrepreneurs are the people who design the process, launch and run a new business, which is more often than not, initially a small business, offering a product, process or service for sale or hire. They start, organize and manage the business venture with considerable initiative and risk to make out the profit. A significant proportion of start-up businesses has to close, due to lack of funding, bad business decisions, poor entrepreneur skills, lack of planning, an economic crisis – or a combination of all of these or due to lack of market demand.
As India completes 70 years of Independence, this ‘Startup Nation’ has become an integral part of aspirational India. Prominent Start-up leaders affirm India as a global player in the digital economy and competitive with any country in the world. With receptive and responsive governments at the helm, the scenario appears bright for start-ups in India.
It is widely known that by 2021, India will have more internet users than the entire population of six G7 countries, so connected solutions are coming to India faster than thought. Venture investments in India are entering a new cycle with founders focusing on problems that are unique to India and those impacting hundreds of millions of lives. In the past 10 years, India has absorbed approximately $100 billion in VC/PE investments. In the next five years, India needs over $200 billion of investments.
While the debate rages on as to whether entrepreneurs are born or made, one thing can’t be disputed: polishing certain skills can help you be a better entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is a risky business – 90% of all startups are thought to fail. Most entrepreneurs and motivated professionals know the importance of investing in themselves—building valuable skills and improving their strengths over time.
However, it’s important to set skill-building goals that’ll ultimately help you become more successful in your business. Whether it’s setting aside time to improve on your weaknesses or hire a coach to help you push into a new playing field with one of your strengths—investing in your skills is never a bad move.
An aspiring founder should give high or very high priority to below skills whether you’re already great at the below skills or could use a few pointers to focus and acquire the skills for success:-
Flexibility and Focus
The ability to weather the ups and downs of any business since it never goes exactly the way the business plan described it. This skill enables the entrepreneur to keep going when the outlook is bleak.
After setting a long term vision, you should know how to “laser focus” on the very next step to get closer to the ultimate goal. There are so many distracting forces when trying to build a business that this skill is not easy to master.
The potential upside of entrepreneurship exceeds creating jobs for people and, perhaps, becoming wealthier than you ever imagined. However, the downside is daunting because you could end up losing all your savings, and putting your personal life on hold until you are successful. Make sure that you’re ready for it before taking a decision.
Setting up Team
Setting up a team – choosing co-founders, splitting equity, recruiting advisors and managing a board – was an absolute priority for a business founder. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must know your strengths and weaknesses, and hire people to cover the gaps. If you don’t get decisions about potential co-founders right, it will likely kill your company.
Communication is more important for an entrepreneur. Poor communication skills can lead to decreased productivity with your staff, as well as low morale and opportunity for them to make more mistakes if they don’t understand your instructions.
When you’re a solopreneur, you may think communication is less of a priority, since you don’t have the staff to interact with. But you’ve to maintain clear lines of communication with your customers via email and phone, as well as ensure that the message you send through your website and social-media profiles is the one you want.
Leadership is another crucial skill for an entrepreneur. A business founder must set out and communicate their vision, manage their company’s culture, resolve ethical dilemmas and cross-functional conflict.
During a startup’s early stages, founders must gain a deep understanding of customer needs and then conduct rapid iteration and testing to prove product-market fit. In addition prioritizing features, A/B testing, working with engineering and other functions, was critical to the success of a startup.
Hiring and firing employees, setting goals, providing feedback and designing the organizational structure of a company are cited as priorities. A need for founders themselves to be able to take and give proper feedback, without being defensive is must for success. It is the way to improve the weak areas.
Every entrepreneur is a sales person whether they want to be or not. It should be any entrepreneur’s bread and butter. They are either selling their ideas, products or services to customers, investors or employees.
It is important to be able to sell – how to gauge interest and close a deal, buyer’s journey analysis, qualifying leads, and sales compensation. They work to be there when customers are ready to buy. Alternately, they know how to let go and move on when they are not.
You might have a sales team that handles all of your company’s sales, but every time you deliver your elevator pitch about your business, negotiate with a vendor, or even just persuade anyone to do anything, you’re tapping into sales skills.
It’s easy to think about the “right-now” aspect of your business, but it is also required to think about the bigger picture, long-term challenges, and goals. Without a constant eye on your business’ strategy and skilled assessment of that strategy relative to the industry and your competition, you can’t hope to grow it over time and remain competitive in the marketplace. They need to stay up to date on new systems, technology, and industry trends.
Ultimately, the founders need a wide range of management and leadership skills to succeed. Whether they choose to learn those skills in the classroom or on the job, is up to them. If you have any queries or feedback regarding “Skills Needed For A Successful Entrepreneur”, please post on our Aftergraduation Forum and we would be happy to discuss.