The world is full of failed entrepreneurs — men and women who had great ideas but could not execute because they lacked business acumen. They just couldn’t achieve positive cash flow before funding ran out, and so they had to shut down forever.
To make it as an entrepreneur today, you need to be a master of your craft. You need to produce a truly remarkable product or high-quality service that sets you apart from your competitors. But beside being an expert in your field or developing a fantastic product, you also need to have some basic business skills to lead your company to success.
If you want your great idea to be a success, you need to learn how to start and operate a successful business. Develop the following five skills for entrepreneurial success and turn your startup into an unstoppable force in your industry.
Time management is the most basic, fundamental skill on which all business success is built. If you want to be successful in the business world, you need to know how to manage your time well.
The starting point is to set goals and make plans to achieve them. By setting out a roadmap for the success of your business, you then need to simply break down the plan into bite-sized chunks and then set to work accomplishing them all one by one.
Procrastination is your worst enemy, and in the early days of building your business, there is no time to waste. Time is money, and you need to reach the point of profitability before time and money run out. By effectively managing your time and following your plan, you’ll reach your goals much faster and much more efficiently.
There are many time management skills that you’ll need to succeed in business, but one in particular deserves extra emphasis. To succeed as an entrepreneur, you will need to be very good at prioritizing tasks.
There is never enough time to do all the things that need to be done, so you need to know how to focus on the most important tasks exclusively while delegating the rest to your employees or to outsourcers. This is not negotiable. You can’t just fight fires all day and bounce from task to task. Urgency is not the same thing as necessity.
So discipline yourself to focus only on the most important tasks everyday — all day. Constantly be asking yourself, “What is the very best use of my time right now, this instant?” Then stop what you’re doing and refocus on the most important thing. This consistent, laser-like focus on the most important priorities will propel your business toward success faster than anything else.
There’s an old adage that people buy products from salespeople whom they know, like and trust. Some people try to turn that into a sales formula for success, but all it really means is that a company cannot succeed without good people. Good people take pride in their work. They are honest and will never try to rip anyone off.
Good people try to help their customers. They make good products and provide excellent customer service. It’s not just about the paycheck — it’s about integrity, honesty and character.
When you are a new startup — and this is especially true for small businesses — hiring mistakes can be very costly. It’s much better to take your time and hire the right person than to quickly fill a position only to later discover that you made a mistake. By the time you realize that you hired the wrong person for your organization, the damage is done. So be patient when making hiring decisions.
If you aren’t selling products and services regularly, you don’t have much of a business. Nothing happens without those sales, so everything you do in the daily operations of your business needs to tie into sales.
You’ll need to constantly update your selling skills and put them into practice daily. Take some courses like a basic Salesforce development bootcamp. Read classics by sales experts like Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy. Follow sales industry blogs to keep up with the latest trends and constantly push yourself and your sales team beyond your comfort zone.
Do the math.
Work the numbers.
Fight out exactly how many sales you need to make every day to keep your company afloat and then relentlessly pursue those targets. If you don’t like selling, then you need to learn to like it. And you’ll also need to bring in excellent salespeople to leverage their skills too. Never underestimate the importance of selling for your business. Despite what you’ve heard, no product sells itself.
To attract customers and get those sales, you need to get your products out there in front of people. Nobody buys from you if nobody knows about you. Fortunately, marketing a business has never been easier or more affordable, thanks to digital technology and the internet.
To build your brand and reputation, you must learn to leverage social media. You must create a content marketing strategy that is right for your organization. And you must at least learn the basics of search engine optimization(SEO) so that you can grow your brand online while avoiding shortcuts that can destroy your online reputation and search rankings.
To build the business of your dreams and succeed as an entrepreneur, it’s going to take a lot more than a great idea for a product or expertise in your chosen industry. Sure, those things are needed, but you also need to be good at running your business and leading your organization. Work on developing these business skills to improve your chances of building a successful business.