Putting up your own business can be very challenging. Many entrepreneurs are brave enough to try but many also fail. Why? Because most of them lack the right skills, traits, attitudes, even the right combination of skills and qualities to make the business work. Funds aren’t the be-all and end-all of entrepreneurship—which is why it’s important to check if you actually have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Are ready to take on the challenge?
You are a promising entrepreneur if you have the following:
A Strong Vision and Creative
These are the first important traits that an entrepreneur should possess. It begins with ideas, strong ideas, ideas that make an impact, that make people sit up and listen.
But then ideas are also lonely without vision. Without determination. You’ve got to have the drive and passion to make sure your business idea can and will change the world. You’ve got to believe in it.
That’s the kind of passion that infects consumers. That’s the kind of passion that will bring you through the tough times.
If you’re an entrepreneur, your vision is always about winning. You might not convince many people in the beginning but if you have this quality in spades, chances are, it won’t be long before they’ll believe every word you say.
One-of-a-Kind Product or Service
You may not be the pioneer—the first ever, or the only one—in a certain industry. Don’t let that keep you from bringing something new to the table. Make sure your product or service has that undeniable edge over your competitors. For example, if you sell gadgets then make sure that, aside from the warranty commonly offered by other stores, you can come up with discount offers for accessories offered on top of the warranty itself.
Being a leader is not just about spearheading a team or a project. It involves inspiration and motivation. You must know how to inspire and motivate others as well. A leader should be emotionally powerful. As a leader, you must connect with, and reach out to, your team. It’s important that you value your staff. Make them feel that you appreciate them. Aside from standard employee benefits and incentives, a simple good morning or a daily meeting—where you show that you know how hard they’ve worked or that you’re really interested in what everybody is doing and what they bring to the company—can do wonders.
All business ventures come with risks of their own. Never be afraid to test the waters. How will you know if your business can take off the ground if you’re not willing to risk it? If you want to go into the fashion industry, and your market research says that the fad now for men is camouflage, then go out there and launch your Retro-theme. Just remember to offer classic choices as well since fads are always short-lived and customers often look for other options once these go out of style.
Putting up a business comes with plenty of hard work. But we mustn’t forget that there must also be room to relax. Rest. Eat healthy. Take a break once in a while. Come back fresh. And if you can, try to quit your vices too. Nothing stops a flourishing business quick than an ailing leader at the top.
Basic Accounting Skills
You don’t really have to be a math genius to put up your own business. You just have to have the basic accounting skills so you can take care of basic tasks. Know how to calculate your income and expenses as well as tax filings. If you’re good with accounting though, then that’s a big plus.
Good accounting skills come in handy too when you need to know how to manage your money to pay for your business and personal expenses, without the two ever getting mixed up.
Good Marketing Skills
You must give your all when it comes to marketing your business. Even if your business is young and you only have limited resources for marketing, then focus on what you have. Aside from the tri-media platforms of television, radio and print, social media is also another option. The good thing with social media is its accessibility and coverage. Most of all, it’s free. An informative Facebook fan page, a convincing tweet with creative hash tag, and a catchy Instagram post can get your marketing plans off the ground real quick.
Knowing how to say what you want to say is an important skill for entrepreneurs. This is the kind of skill that often comes into play: in team discussions, during client meetings, and even when you’re writing a proposal letter to drum up more business for the company. Communication is key. Remember the best leaders in history? Most, if not all of them, were eloquent—able to move minds and hearts with the power of their words. For them, communication wasn’t just talk. It meant commitment. It meant resolve. It meant heart.
Organization and Planning Skills
Proper organization and planning is important in a business. Where do you get the funds? Who does the marketing? What is the best business location? Who should you hire? Once you’ve attended to every aspect of your business, then you’re good to go. This skill will help keep you and your business on track.
You must know how to play the game. Hard work is good. Being open to possibilities is good too. But knowing who your competitors are and how they perform is even better. It pays to keep an eye on your competition. You don’t have to do the same thing they’re doing. You just have to offer what they don’t. Find that alternative.
If your restaurant’s specialty is roasted chicken and your competitor updated their menu and added a special mushroom soup, then offer corn soup. Or even better, soup with vegetables. Think of an alternative that’s even better than what they offer.
Time and Dedication
Businesses need a lot of time and dedication. You must always pour your heart and soul into the work, into the people, the company. Be willing to make short and long term sacrifices. Your parties and movie weekends will have to take a backseat. Often, you won’t be rendering just eight hours of work. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself working up to the wee hours of the morning to make sure your targets and goals have been achieved for the week.
You’re not only selling a product, you’re also selling yourself. As an entrepreneur, there’ll be lots of situations where you interact with plenty of people. This is especially true during exhibits, different business forums, events, and parties where you talk about your business and try to get valuable connections and possibly, future clients.
How you relate, talk, and connect with people is a big factor. No matter how good your product or service is, if you don’t know how to talk to your customers, to make them feel comfortable and welcome, then your business is doomed.
Your people skills are a reflection of you and of how your business values your clients. This is also reflected in your bottomline. If you are nice with your customers, you get good sales. This is because every business must have good customer service at its core. If you treat your customers right, it’ll really show. People appreciate effort.
In essence, one of the biggest reasons why some businesses fail is the lack of skills—not money. Winning is not only about how many sales a month you make—sometimes it’s all about attitude and mindset. Vision and passion. If you possess all these qualities, and you have the cash, then there’s no reason why you should keep putting off starting a business.
Ian G. Elbanbuena is a blogger and infopreneur who writes on various topics mainly finance, self-improvement, business and marketing. At present he works on behalf of CompareHero, Malaysia’s leading comparison website. This portal helps individuals in making the best decision by comparing rates from different finance providers.