“You must do the things that you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Are you a successful entrepreneur or are you working for other people? There is a fine line between both answers. The first question implies that you’re independent. You can set your own hours, work how much (or how little) you want, and live life on your terms. The second question, on the other hand, is a bit trickier. You’re dependent on a paycheck from an employer while working hours set at their convenience. How little or (how much) you work is dictated by their terms. But if you want to begin a successful business, it’s all about mindset. Make no mistake, you must have the following eight skills to get your business off the ground.
A rainy day fund. Starting your own business can be scary. But it can also be super expensive if you’re not savvy with your money. You need typical furniture, such as a desk, chair, and lights. Additionally, you’ll need to purchase office equipment. This includes a computer, fax machine, printer, shedder and so forth. Storage and office supplies are included on your shopping list as well. Likewise, you have to consider if you need a commercial property or if you can work directly out of your home. The first option likely will include insurance, rental fees and additional bills stacked upon it. It may be cost-effective to work from home, at least until your business truly starts making money.
A thick skin. You’re going to meet people that love your company and adore your products. They will sing your praises to family, friends and across the board on social media. These are people that rave about your business, giving you five starts and boosting your confidence. Then, you have the customers that are hard to please. They reject your services or products for one reason or another. They scorn or bad mouth you on review sites and social media.
If you didn’t deliver on customer service, these are the people that are going to shout from the rooftops. But don’t let them to you. Let their rejection build your character. As tough as it is to hear — not everyone is going to like us or our company. We have to deal with it. We can’t stop these people from running and telling people of why they didn’t a refund, or why they didn’t a coupon — but what we can do is make the experience better for the next customer that comes along.
A marketing plan. You should invest in a marketing plan long before you have any products to sell. Will your customers interact with your brand through print media (magazines or newspapers) or broadcast media (radio and television)? Maybe you plan on advertising only through your website and/or social media channels. Write these objectives into your marketing plan. Which social network will you advertise on? How high is your budget and how frequently will you advertise? You can’t run an isolated ad campaign and then never run another advertisement. Simply put, people will not know your brand is in existence. This is something that you have to creatively work at every day. You have to strategically push for that next sale.
A devoted team. Behind every entrepreneur is a team that does the hard work. Entrepreneurs have individuals or teams that focus solely on marketing, sales and customer service. Teams may be centric to product production, or there may be a team of writers. Each individual hired within your company should respect and share your company’s core values. They should work together to achieve goals. These team members are your life support. Without them there, you run the risk of not being noticed. Your brand may not be as profitable or successful as you had envisioned. But if you hire the correct people, and train them well, every one of your entrepreneur dreams will come true.
Sacrifice. At a certain time in our career, we have to give up something. It may be time with our loved ones to attend a networking event, in which you form connections with other entrepreneurs. It may be to push your marketing campaign by paying for more advertisements. If you want to be noticed, you have to be willing to sacrifice. What can you give up for a short time in order to drive your business ahead? It may mean giving up a few weekends of fishing to attend business-related seminars. Or, give up watching television for developing your podcast. In the long run, you’re going to find these sacrifices were well worth it.
Public speaking. If your business does not have a physical location, marketing your brand is more important than anything else. Public speaking is one way you can achieve this. In order to do this, you must have a persuasive message. Why should people care about your brand? What can they can away from your speech once it’s over? Make the topic relatable and personal to your audience. Intertwine antidotes and your sense of humor into it. The most effective public speakers are those that are comfortable in their own skin. It’s perfectly natural to be nervous up on stage but relax. The audience is there to hear what you have to say and they will patiently listen. Effective speakers can sell their brand and their products well. Once your first time on stage is finished; breathe. Each time after that is supposed to get easier.
Basic math skills. Entrepreneurs that have large teams will likely have an accountant within the mix. But many entrepreneurs try to manage their business expenses on their own. Basic math skills are all that you really need. You should be able to compute addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Similarly, your mental math skills should be sharp. You should be able to work quickly through math problems with (and without) a calculator. Normally within business math, there are certain equations you must know. These include factoring percentages, interest rates and whether a product should be marked up or marked down. Statistics, too, is helpful for entrepreneurs that enjoy math to this level.
Research. This skill will come in handy more than you expect. One main area is competitor research. Who are your competitors and what products do they sell? Where do they advertise and who are their target customers? You have to keep up on this in order to stay one step ahead of them. You also want to constantly research trends within your industry. This is going to inform you what your customer wants to buy. It will give you pointers to what they need and what problem they need to be solved. And, you want to research the best method to create your product. Is an e-book or course better than a webinar? Survey your audience. This will reveal what your customers are most receptive to within your company. Track this research and you’re well on your way to success.
What traits do you believe are necessary for success? Leave them in the comments.