There are many different types of entrepreneurs and they all come with their own unique skills and experience. Entrepreneurs amaze us because they’re taking a risk by trying to do something that no one else has done before. They’re working on something as opposed to working in something, and owning that mindset isn’t always easy. Often times we’re able to spot some common challenges that entrepreneurs run into as they build and grow their business. These challenges apply to first-time entrepreneurs, but also apply to entrepreneurs and business owners who have experienced prior success. Here are 5 soft skills every entrepreneur needs in addition to their business acumen.
We find this to be one of the most important soft skills that an entrepreneur needs to have. Many entrepreneurs are successful people and they’ve gotten to where they are by maintaining tight control of their destiny. However, maintaining control is not easy in a growing organization. There’s only one of you and you can’t do everything and be everywhere at once, so you’ll need to trust others to help you. It becomes critically important for an entrepreneur to begin trusting employees, vendors, investors, and outside stakeholders to do all the things that the entrepreneur is no longer able to do himself/herself.
2. Ego check
Dealing with one’s own ego becomes a massively important factor for entrepreneurs. While it is critical for an entrepreneur to possess confidence and the ability to share a vision, they can sometimes get wrapped up in their own grandiose visions, only to their detriment. We often see this happen after an entrepreneur successfully raises funds from investors. Even if the entrepreneur hasn’t accomplished anything he/she views raising funds as an indicator of success. On the contrary, once you’ve raised money it’s now time to figure out how to use your investors capital in a way that grows the business and helps you achieve our goals. This is among the soft skills, for every entrepreneur, of paramount importance.
We often come across a number of entrepreneurs who are frugal with company funds. Some are like this because they understand that they are a steward for their investors’ money (which is great) and some are like this because they think that the funds that they raised will last longer if they watch every penny. The problem with the latter perspective is that some entrepreneurs don’t recognize that this frugality can eat up a significant amount of their time. We’ve seen some business owners spend hours trying to negotiate a $50 bill from a tax agency.
4. Overcome indecisiveness
Being indecisive can be common trait among CEOs and business owners, and it often is to their detriment. There can be many reasons that an entrepreneur is unable to make decisions, but some of them include not having a clear strategy; not having a clear understanding of the problem; not having a support network to talk to to make decisions; and not being open to new thoughts, ideas, or advice. This trait can be extremely problematic for entrepreneurs and can result in eating away precious time and create a feeling of the unknown among employees, and in some cases it can even permeate throughout the company’s culture to a point where other employees aren’t able to make decisions or be decisive.
5. Have fun
This trait goes hand-in-hand with ego as described above, but it is the other side of ego. It is critical that entrepreneurs enjoy the ride and are able to enjoy their role as “the boss”. No one wants to work for someone, be around someone, or invest in someone who isn’t fun or interesting. Entrepreneurs should have hobbies outside of work and they should have interests that don’t just align with the industry that they are part of.
Some of the best entrepreneurs that we know have all five of these areas figured out. Lacking in just one of these areas can cause significant harm to your company, your work life, and even your psyche. These are also areas that entrepreneurs can actively work on and develop. Stay tuned to learn more about how entrepreneurs can address these areas and make themselves stronger leaders.