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Entrepreneurs must rely on a broad set of skills if they are to out run the competition in today’s business environment. There are basic skills needed to plan, finance and market a new business, which they can research and do some training in, as well as some key life skills, that can’t be taught, but can be developed and practiced, and will give them the edge in overcoming the many challenges they will face.
It is a defining life skill of people who make it in business, but one that is notoriously difficult to master. However, founders can expect plenty of ups and downs during their startup journey, and their resilience – how they handle the downs emotionally – will determine their chances of long term business success, says Agnes Cserhati, founder of AC PowerCoaching.
“My own entrepreneurial journey was like a rollercoaster ride, often on tracks that had yet to be fully built,” she says. “Being able to deal with setbacks can be your biggest source of competitive advantage, and the time it takes to bounce back and refocus after a failed idea or lost deal will make all the difference.”
Being agile enables you to react quickly and decisively so that you can adapt to rapidly changing situations, seize new opportunities and stay ahead of the competition.
“Agile entrepreneurs appreciate the need to experiment, to fail fast if that is the result of the experiment, and to learn to improve the odds the next time,” says Dr Simon Hayward, CEO of leadership development consultancy Cirrus. “Continuous improvement and assimilating new ways of thinking, being and performing, are at the heart of the agile leader’s mindset.”
The art of negotiation is not about being the winner, but about relationships and understanding that by creating a good rapport with everyone at the negotiating table, everyone can win. It’s a skill that can be applied to many situations in life and one that aspiring entrepreneurs will need if they are to give their business the best chance of success.
Negotiation also goes hand in hand with boundary setting, and that’s important in any relationship to ensure you aren’t ever toeing the line, says relationship expert Sarah Louise Ryan, founder of Love Lessons.
“I’ve had to sit at the table and negotiate my worth in a service-based industry, and nobody teaches you that,” she says. “However once you start to feel comfortable and confident, you also feel safe in vocalising the deal you want in a particular contract, and the amount you want to be paid in the service that you are providing.”
Some of the most successful business ideas are simply a clever solution to a big problem. But for the entrepreneurs behind the bright ideas, the problem solving doesn’t end there. Running a startup can be fraught with problems, from minor technical snags to major money headaches, and finding ways of resolving them is a vital entrepreneurial skill.
When Neil Degg, founder of The Training Hub, encounters a problem, the first thing he asks himself is whether he has the skill set to deal with the issue. He says: “If the answer is no I find someone from my team who can deal with the issue effectively. And if it needs resolving within a certain time frame, I do it without delay to avoid it impacting on the business or other members of staff.”
Relationships are the cornerstones of businesses success, but building them doesn’t mean attending as many networking events as possible or meeting up with people for the occasional coffee. Relationships are dynamic and need to be nurtured and managed if they are to thrive and work for all parties.
Luca Feser, head of startup incubator Kickstart London, says: “Entrepreneurship is all about give and take. A successful entrepreneur knows that relationships, whether they are with a supplier, investor or employee, are a two-way street. Overall I think success in this particular skill comes down to entrepreneurs having the mindset of being prepared to give more than they take.”
Starting and running a business can take its toll on a founder’s mental wellbeing, especially during the early stages. Some cope with the stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights better than others, but the ability to detach from the pressure and focus on being in the moment is a valuable skill for any entrepreneur to have.
Mindfulness is an effective way of doing this. Using techniques such as breathing and meditation, it can help people to better manage their thoughts and feelings and avoid being overwhelmed by them. Motivational speaker and coach Anis Qizilbash swears by it.
She says: “Mindfulness is a meta-skill that underpins all skills, it allows you to access these life skills. Instead of getting caught up in my thoughts or worrying about competition, scarcity, and economic or political turmoil, mindfulness has helped me stay steady and focus on each task at hand, so I can do my best in each moment.”
January 31, 2019 at 11:54AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs