what are the top skills of an entrepreneur?

Starting a successful business and helping it grow and thrive, requires creativity, audacity and a growth mindset. Discover the top skills of an entrepreneur.

What are the top skills of an entrepreneur?

Top 6 entrepreneur skills:

Did you know there are about 582 million entrepreneurs across the globe? The prospect of building your business and raking in millions can be exciting to many. A few tried and tested principles might help you set up your enterprise and attract customers, as we covered in this comprehensive guide. However, without the skills of an entrepreneur, it’ll be difficult to attract more customers and grow the business.

A great entrepreneur should be able to learn, communicate effectively, focus, strategize and sell. This is because success in business needs a sound strategy driven by inherent business skills and sense. So, what are the most important entrepreneur skills?

In this article, we cover six of the most important skills to fine tune as an entrepreneur. We’ve focused on general attributes like creativity and good communication rather than technical skills.

Of course, an entrepreneur needs harder skills like knowledge of their product and industry, basic financial literacy and relevant technological prowess. These are essential skills in entrepreneurship. However, without some of the more so-called ‘soft skills’ covered in this article, they might be worthless.

Knowing your product and industry is all well and good, but if you can’t influence others to invest in it or buy it, your business will not grow. Likewise, being able to crunch numbers will be extremely useful as an entrepreneur. But, without creativity or a growth mindset, those numbers will stay small. 

1. Creativity

By far the top skill you need to make it in entrepreneurship is to harness your ability to think and work creatively. Larry Ellison (co-founder of Oracle) once said that the only way to grow in business is to be different. Creative thinking allows you to be different and increase your chances of succeeding as an entrepreneur.

Creativity encompasses many elements – like problem-solving, innovation, design, and thinking outside the box. But at its core, creativity is about finding solutions to new and old problems, whether they relate to your product, work processes, team members, or any crises that might come up.

A study by Adobe investigated the benefits companies reap from investing in creativity. These benefits include financial success, better innovation, and more satisfied customers. Creativity is also linked to increased employee productivity.

More and more organizational leaders acknowledge that creativity is the fuel to grow their ventures. So, how can you cultivate creativity to realize your business potential? Here are a few tips:

  • Your environment should inspire creativity. Design your office in a way that motivates the people at your organisation to be creative and solve problems. Free your desk of clutter and add elements of design or play to help you in your creative process.
  • Support creativity in your team. Encourage creative brainstorming sessions and crazy solutions when tackling challenges or seemingly insurmountable problems. Schedule training or team-building sessions on problem-solving and creativity.
  • Find inspiration outside your comfort zone. Be open to ideas from outside your industry, profession or skill set. Try new arts or sports, listen to unfamiliar podcasts, and read fiction. You never know where your next big idea will come from.

2. Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is another key skill to master for aspiring entrepreneurs. It’s a broad term encompassing how you interact with and influence others, how you speak and write, and the extent to which you keep others up-to-date with necessary information and eventualities. Good communication skills are key to influencing others, which can lead to more sales, more investments and more profits.

Communicating effectively is extremely important in business. Listening well and being clear, courteous and charming will make you a popular leader, employee, partner, client and competitor. It can improve your relationships, increase your happiness, and ultimately help you succeed in business.

On a practical level, entrepreneurs should learn how to speak and write confidently. You’re likely to influence how others see your business if you can talk or write confidently about its potential. Whether you are pitching to investors or writing to potential new clients, being clear, concise and direct could be the difference in gaining their trust and ultimately their capital or custom.

On the other hand, showing a great lack of confidence, being obtuse in your words, or presenting your ideas in a confused way could lead people to doubt your authenticity as an entrepreneur.

3. Intuition

Ever felt like something wasn’t right for you but couldn’t logically explain the phenomenon? Well, you may have acted out of intuition, which allows you to understand things without conscious reasoning. Most people call it an inner voice, sixth sense, gut feeling, or instinct.

Intuition is usually quick and spontaneous in nature. This might be the reason it isn’t always trusted.

A recent KPMG report suggests that 67% of CEOs act on intuition more than data and information. The report also concluded that intuition is key in decision-making. Other studies have also found that intuition can help people feel more confident about their choices.

Like other successful entrepreneurs and business owners who are driven by intuition, you can also tap into following yours. So, how can you develop and trust your intuition?  The key to trusting your intuition is self-awareness. HBR provides the following five tips to become more self aware: 

  1. Meditate. There are many forms of meditation beyond the stereotype of sitting cross-legged and trying not to think. Breathwork is a good entry point as are physical forms like yoga or martial arts. Even routine tasks like washing dishes or taking a shower can be meditative.
  2. Write down your key plans and priorities. Doing this and tracking your progress is a good way to increase self-awareness. 
  3. Take psychometric tests. There are many to choose from online.  They may not give you the most accurate version of yourself but can help you identify your individual traits and ways of being and working with others.
  4. Ask trusted friends. Bring your friends and peers into the process. Ask them for their honest feedback about your strengths and tell them to call you out if you perpetuate one of the weaknesses you’re working at bettering.
  5. Get regular feedback at work. Use the formal feedback processes or design your own informal survey to gain constructive feedback about you and how you work.

Grow your self-awareness and you are well on your way to connecting with your intuition and being able to rely on it in business.

4. Audacity

One of the biggest obstacles many people face in entrepreneurship is a lack of courage. You may have an amazing idea that could turn into a profitable business. But without taking a bold step to realize the idea, it will be challenging to become the entrepreneur you always dreamt of.

Your lack of confidence may be brought on by the fear of the unknown or failure. It’s time you emulate the mindsets of successful entrepreneurs and take a risk.

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs are renowned for their courage. They’re also well practiced at failing. But the difference is that they are comfortable with failure, learn from it and in fact, often create opportunities out of it. 

So how to be more audacious? First up, acknowledge and confront your fear. Maybe you’re worried that it’s not a good time to start a business so even though you have a great idea and some capital to get started, you want to delay it. Now, flip this to a more optimistic narrative.

Starting a business venture right now is the perfect time for your great idea and with the capital you have. Repeat this narrative to yourself whenever you feel fearful. And make it a habit. 

By having the audacity to do something, it’s easier for you to take advantage of new opportunities. Take that plunge and put your ideas into practice. 

Never wait for things to happen in your favor. Instead, be proactive and make them happen. Like Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX said, you have to take the next step even if the odds don’t favor you.

“When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”

Elon Musk

5. Maintaining a Growth Mindset

You’ve taken the plunge through your skill of audacity. And now things are moving.  But how to keep the momentum up?

By cultivating a growth mindset and adapting to the ever-changing business world, its new demands, trends, innovative products and emerging technologies. The key here is that entrepreneurial skills aren’t fixed. Instead, they are a product of persistence, practice, and effort. So start by improving your own talents, abilities, and intelligence. 

Resist fearing or being defeated by failures. Instead, embrace setbacks as opportunities to improve and become resilient. Take a leaf from one of America’s most famous business magnates, Henry Ford, who said that failure is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Henry Ford

For instance, maybe you are finding it difficult to raise investment in your business. You’ve made a few pitches and sent some cold emails but had several rejections. A fixed mindset might lead you to give up – or worse – stubbornly continue without making the effort to improve your pitch. On the other hand, a growth mindset enables you to view these rejections as growth opportunities.

Ask for feedback about your pitch and use it to reconsider your approach. Upskill by taking a crash course in fundraising, networking with Venture Capital investors, or joining a startup incubator. Your efforts will be rewarded and perhaps you’ll get more than you ever believed at the start.

E-residents can start by looking at options for funding your business in Estonia:

6. Resilience

And what happens when things don’t go right? 

The path to success as an entrepreneur won’t always be straight. Expect to make mistakes or encounter challenges along the way. But how you bounce back from these setbacks will make or break your business. This is why cultivating resilience is so important for entrepreneurs.

One aspect of resilience is stress management. Be aware of your emotions and feelings and how they affect your work life. Find someone (possibly a professional) to help you strengthen your mental state. Balance your emotions and relax your mind using mindfulness to manage your stress levels.

With your mental state under control, resilience allows you to sustain your energy levels through periods of high pressure. It will also allow you to lead your business to survive uncertain times or adapt to changing conditions. As Sheryl Sandberg, former COO of Meta, says: to fight for change tomorrow, we need to build resilience today.

Hone the Skills of an Entrepreneur for Business Success

If you are asking yourself, “how do I become successful in business?”, then take a long, hard look at your skill set.

What are you good at? What do you need to improve? How can you hone the necessary skills to succeed? Entrepreneurship is a journey requiring drive, hard work, and dedication.

We’ve covered six key skills of an entrepreneur: creativity, interpersonal communication, audacity, intuition, growth mindset and resilience. Other important skills of an entrepreneur include networking, financial literacy, time management, and technological prowess.

The effort and time you put in to strengthen these skills will improve your business and your life. And if you are looking to start a company in the European Union, look no further than Estonia’s e-Residency programme. As an e-resident, you can start, run and grow your business remotely from wherever you are in the world. The automated nature of Estonia’s business environment leaves you time to work on your skills and succeed.

Start your company today by signing up for e-Residency:

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