There are certain skills that all entrepreneurs should have if they want to be successful in the business world. Here are some of the most essential:
This skill is crucial in every aspect of an entrepreneur’s life, but it will aid entrepreneurs well in negotiations, meetings, selling to customers, and managing others, among many other situations. This involves checking your ego at the door. Make eye contact when speaking with others, be present, and actively listen to what they’re saying. Try to understand their perspective and where they’re coming from, and respond when appropriate to do so. Just don’t interrupt them — interrupting others is a sign of disrespect.
Active listening also involves not busying yourself with other tasks while speaking to others. Put down your phone or laptop, and don’t mindlessly fiddle with objects on your desk. However, note taking is okay to do and is encouraged, especially during meetings. Just make sure you’re also paying attention to what is going on in the room and that you are active in the meeting as well.
There are more than a few business lessons we can take from games of strategy, but one of the most important is the art of negotiating. All successful entrepreneurs are able to negotiate well, whether they’re negotiating for more money or for a more flexible schedule. But it’s important to note that there isn’t one specific approach that will work for every situation. Entrepreneurs must be able to read the room and be willing to adapt their game to get what they want.
In poker and in negotiating, you need to be able to assess risk, predict others’ moves (and see their point of view), remain composed, know your strengths and weakness, know how to bring about your desired outcome, and know when to walk away. Additionally, when you walk into a room to negotiate, you better be prepared with a plan. Not only for your argument, but for the other side’s argument. Know their strengths and weaknesses as well, and get a grasp on their perspective. This will ultimately help you to make a stronger argument and thus negotiate your case better.
While this has long been a useful skill for entrepreneurs to have, it’s become even more important in the digital age. Technology is constantly changing, and entrepreneurs have to keep up with this and be able to adapt appropriately if they want to remain competitive. Entrepreneurs must be willing to adopt the latest software, systems, or technologies, and adopt the latest approach in reaching customers.
But this also includes knowing when to admit that something isn’t working. If the latest software or approach isn’t working for you or your business, try a different approach, new or old. Learn more about your customers to see what they’re interested in and what they want, and strive to meet them where they are. For example, if your customers are more active on Instagram than Facebook, your priority should be your Instagram marketing campaign.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be a skilled problem solver, and to be a skilled problem solver you need to be able to think critically. So, what does all of this mean exactly? You should be able to analyze all of the information that comes your way — both briefly and in depth — whether you’re handling coworker disputes or creating a successful marketing campaign. After analyzing the data, you’ll then come up with the appropriate solution. An example of this might be reviewing customer feedback for insight into how you can improve customer service, and then using this information in training customer service employees.
Your solution might not be the best solution per se, but one of the best options considering the available data. And if your solution doesn’t work, that’s where that adaptability skill comes into play. Analyze the information again, and if you’re able to, alter your approach. If you’re not able to, file this away as a learning experience.