Essential Entrepreneurial Skills

What are they?

And why do they matter to you?

The Top 9 Essential Entrepreneurial Skills Every Business Owner Must Master

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Entrepreneurs significantly impact society and the economy through their innovative ventures.

Basically, they help out by creating jobs, are a force of change and disruption … let’s just say they have some serious skills that set them apart. ๐Ÿ˜‰

According to a Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report, over 582 million people in the world are engaged in some kind of entrepreneurial activity.

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That’s wild!

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So, knowing how to turn a killer idea into a money maker is kinda a big deal.

What are these so-called “Entrepreneurial Skills”?

1. Creative Problem Solving

I know it sounds touchรฉ …

But hear me out!

Master the Art of Divergent and Convergent Brain Storming.

On Paper

It’s called: The Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Learner’s Model.

  1. Clarify. Involves identifying the issue, gathering relevant information, and defining the problem statement.
  2. Ideate. This step encourages divergent thinking, where people brainstorm and generate a wide range of possible ideas and solutions without judging them.
  3. Develop. In this stage, convergent thinking is employed to evaluate the ideas generated during the ideation phase. The most promising ideas are selected, refined, and developed further.
  4. Implement. The final step is to put the developed solution into action. This involves creating an action plan, assigning responsibilities, and monitoring the progress of the implementation.
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The development of the CPS process can be traced back to the work of Alex Osborn, an advertising executive who coined the term “brainstorming“.

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Wow, Seriously?

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Mm-hmm …

Here is how I like to put it though:

In Action

  1. Absurd. Don’t be afraid to entertain the most outlandish, off-the-wall ideas. Sometimes the craziest solutions are the ones that end up working.
  2. Question EVERYTHING. Challenge the status quo. Just because something’s always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the best way.
  3. FAIL. Yep, you heard me right. Don’t be afraid to take risks and mess up. Mistakes are the stepping stones to innovation.
  4. Steal Like an Artist. Don’t be afraid to borrow inspiration from unexpected places.
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Hmm, okay.

But these are still Generalized …

How do they actually work in Business?

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Kay, smatry pants.

CPS Learner’s Model is just a starting point, here is a creative model specifically designed for entrepreneurs:

The Lean Startup Methodology

Lean Startup Methodology, developed by Eric Ries, emphasizes rapid experimentation, customer feedback, and iterative development.

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  1. Build-Measure-Learn loop. The core concept of the Lean Startup is to quickly build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), get customer feedback, iterate based on data.
  2. Validated learning. Test hypotheses, validate assumptions, make data-driven decisions to minimize failure.
  3. Pivot or persevere. Based on the feedback and data you gathered, you now need to decide whether to pivot (change the direction of the business) or persevere (continue with the current approach).
  4. Customer development. Engage customers early and often with an unfinished product so that the finished one can be a result of their cumulative feedback.
  5. Innovation accounting. Track progress with metrics to inform decisions, resource allocation, and overall business management.

2. Lifelong Learning

Let me ask you?

How many hours per day do you dedicate to pure learning?

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Surely lower than it should be.

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You fuel innovation by exploring new ideas and questioning existing assumptions.

A curious mindset encourages creativity, which in turn leads to the development of cutting-edge products and services.

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Learning from Real World Experience

In the early 2000s, IBM faced stagnation as its mainframe computer and hardware businesses were struggling due to the rapid rise of personal computing and the internet.

To survive and thrive, the company had to strategically shift towards emerging technologies like cloud computing, AI, and cybersecurity.

And when they knew they were now getting their feet wet in new waters what did they do?

Heavy investment in employee training and skill development through initiatives like the “IBM Skills Academy”.

Which in turn helped IBM transition from a hardware-centric business to a leader in software and services.

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So, learning doesn’t end after graduation. ๐Ÿค“

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And don’t get me wrong, learning doesn’t always have to be in the traditional sense.

Do you know what drives natural learning?

Curiosity

Two entrepreneurs, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were in Paris for the LeWeb conference. One snowy night, they struggled to hail a cab …

Here, you pretend to be Garrett.

“Ah, Garrett, my dear friend! Fancy seeing you here at this illustrious tech conference.”

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“Yes, yes, Travis, it is quite the gathering, is it not?”

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“Indeed! Say, have you been having any trouble procuring transportation around this city of lights?”

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“Why, yes, old bean, I’ve been positively vexed trying to hail one of these dreadful cabs!”

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“Hmm, yes, quite a predicament Garr Garr. ๐Ÿค” I say, what if we were to devise some sort ofโ€ฆmobile application? One that could summon a vehicle to our very location with the touch of a button!”

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๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ’€

“That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard!”

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No, you’re supposed to say:

“Capital idea! We’ll call it Uber”.

In all seriousness though curiosity helped these two to become one of the pioneers of what is now a ubiquitous.

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They developed a prototype, tested it with a small group of users, and launched the first version of the app in 2010.

And today? They have more than 70% ride-hailing market share!

They literally changed transportation as we know it.

Books

Reading Books is a way to learn lessons from others’ lifetimes in just weeks!

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What a way to put it …

Books are repositories of humanity’s collective knowledge.

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Yes, Reading is a shortcut to mastering skills, ideas, and perspectives that would take decades to acquire firsthand.

For example: A great read I’d recommend out of the top of my head is “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell.

The book talks about “thin-slicing,” which is the ability to make quick, accurate decisions using minimal information.

Gladwell looks at how our unconscious mind can quickly take in information and come to good decisions, even without us really thinking about it consciously.

Snap judgments and gut instincts …

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Here is another one:

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier. (Basically reframes your mindset on how to Work as an entrepreneur).

3. Financial Mastery

Start by dissecting your financial statements.

Here are some resources:

Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and Cash Flow Statement

The balance sheet is your financial snapshot, showing your assets, liabilities, and equity.

The income statement, or profit and loss statement, gives you the lowdown on your income, expenses, and profits.

And the cash flow statement? That’s the lifeblood, tracking the ins and outs of your cash.

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This blog is by no means financial, but here are some general points that stuck with me:

Bookkeeping may not be glamorous, but it’s the foundation of any thriving enterprise. Whether you go old-school with spreadsheets, use a platform like Bench or QuickBooks, or hire a bookkeeper.

Invoicing is key to getting paid. Develop a foolproof system using online tools that tracks payments, late fees, and sends reminders automatically.

Building business credit unlocks financing and real estate opportunities down the line.

In the meantime here are some more financial literacy resources ๐Ÿ‘‡

4. Operational Expertise

Operational Expertise is having hands-on expertise in running the day-to-day operations of the business.

A good place to start is to get a Lean Six Sigma certification.

The best way to build this operational know-how is by getting real-world experience working in the business.

But you can also learn a ton by tapping into the expertise of people already in your industry – like hiring experienced managers or specialists.

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What is Lean Six Sigma?

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Lean Six Sigma is a methodology that combines waste reduction techniques (Lean) with data-driven quality improvement tools (Six Sigma) to enhance process efficiency, reduce defects, and increase customer satisfaction.

5. Persuasive Communication

If you can’t tell it or show it, how will you sell it?

Here are the elements of successful communication skills:

  • Active Listening. Really tune in to what others are saying. Pause, repeat back their words, and ask questions to show you’re engaged and open to new ideas.
  • Emotional Intelligence. Understand and manage your own emotions, and be attuned to how others are feeling. This leads to better teamwork, conflict resolution, and empathy.
  • Verbal Skills. Communicate thoughts, updates, and opinions clearly and concisely. Good verbal skills allow you to effectively collaborate with colleagues.
  • Interpersonal Skills. Build trust and strong relationships by connecting on a personal level, showing empathy, and finding common ground.
  • Presentation Skills. Give engaging, persuasive presentations that use storytelling, data, and examples to influence and motivate your audience.
  • Closing. Finalize agreements and transactions by understanding what motivates the other party and working towards a mutually beneficial outcome.
  • Negotiation. The art of reaching a “win-win” that preserves positive relationships.
  • Networking. Showcase your value, make new connections, and expand your professional network through industry events, conferences, and introductions.

6. Effective Writing

You’re dashing off a quick memo to your colleagues or crafting an important email to a client …

Well, you don’t wanna sound incompetent, or even worse, awkward!

Let me break down the 4 S’s for you:

Simplicity

Keep those sentences short and sweet, use everyday words that everyone can understand, and maintain a clean, straightforward syntax.

Trust me, you want to avoid those nested clauses and passive voice constructions.

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For example …?

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“The report, which was prepared by the committee that was established last month, is expected to be reviewed by the board, which is anticipated to provide feedback that will be considered by the management team, who will then determine if the recommendations contained within the report should be implemented.” ๐Ÿคฎ

If you write like that … I wanna talk to you!

Specificity

The more vivid and palpable your language, the more it’ll resonate with people.

Instead of something vague like “Update”, say some thing like “Reminder to Water the Fake Plants”.

Now I know what to do.

Surprise

Our brains are always trying to predict what’s coming next, so subverting those expectations can be super powerful.

Smart Thinking

When you can draw fresh distinctions or couch your message in universal truths, it creates those “aha!” moments that people love.

Don’t just state the obvious, like “Customer satisfaction is important for any business.” ๐Ÿ˜‘

Reframe it in a more insightful way, like “Customer-centricity is a gold mine for long-term viability and your role in the ecosystem of stakeholder value creation”.

7. Empowering Leadership

Empowering leadership is a leadership style that focuses on giving employees the tools, resources, and autonomy needed to make decisions and take ownership of their work on their own.

One company that really embodies this approach is Google.

I mean, think about it – their leaders actually encourage employees to spend 20% of their time working on passion projects, even if those projects aren’t directly related to their day-to-day responsibilities.

How cool is that?

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It’s a way of tapping into the creativity and innovation of their workforce, and it’s led to the development of some of Google’s most groundbreaking products, like Gmail and Google Maps.

How to Empower Others

Autonomy. Give team members the freedom to make decisions and solve problems on their own. Encourage them to take calculated risks and learn from their mistakes.

Resources and Mentorship. Ensure that employees have access to the tools, information, and support they need to perform their tasks effectively.

Trust. Establish an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions, and where they trust that their colleagues and leaders will support them.

Reward. Celebrate individual and team accomplishments, and provide meaningful rewards and recognition for a job well done. This can boost morale and motivate employees to continue striving for excellence.

8. Stress Resilience

What do I mean by “Stress”?

Things like revenue going down, competitors accelerating, and dramatic changes in the industry and user needs.

First thing you can do is: Encouraging open communication, about the issue.

That’s how you’d get ideas on how to Adjust your strategy.

Which may/maynot require pivoting your products/services, changing processes, or rethinking your target market.

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When we come to actual Stress, which is a common experience in many workplaces, it can lead to burnout …

Starbucks offers its employees a range of benefits, including healthcare, mental health services, and tuition reimbursement.

Try to promote work-life balance by offering flexible work hours, paid time off, and wellness programs.

Access to counseling services or workshops on stress reduction techniques, can also be helpful.

Offer training and development opportunities to reduce stress caused by feelings of inadequacy.

9. Producerism

You know, I recently came across this really fascinating concept called “producerism” …

… In a book called The Millionaire Fastlane.

It was about shifting your mindset from just being a CONSUMER to becoming a PRODUCER of goods and services.

The way I see it, producerism can be a super useful framework for aspiring business owners like myself.

The key is to really focus on identifying genuine needs in the market and then finding efficient, scalable ways to meet those needs.

How to Embrace Producerism

To embrace producerism, you need to find the product to produce.

Not an easy feat.

That’s why the book also gives you a framework to find one. (Definitely a recommend read by the way):

  1. Need. The first principle is to identify a REAL need in the marketplace that you can fulfill. It’s not enough to just create something and hope people will buy it.
  2. Entry. The second principle is to find a way to enter the market that is hard to enter in a fast, efficient, and scalable way. I’m currently working on an app that discovers new trends in certain industries, it’s hard to build and takes time to implement, meaning it has a high entry barrier.
  3. Control. The third principle is to maintain control of your business and your financial future. I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs get trapped in situations where they’re beholden to investors or partners, and it can be really stifling.
  4. Scale. The fourth principle is to scale your business and your income by finding ways to reach more customers, create more value, and increase your revenue and profits.
  5. Time. The final principle is to focus on building a business that allows you to enjoy your time and freedom.

FAQs

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What are entrepreneurial skills?

Entrepreneurial skills are a set of abilities and characteristics that enable people to turn new and creative ideas into thriving businesses.ย Things like, problem-solving, continuous learning, hands-on experience, persuasive communication, inspiring leadership, and so on …

What are the three important skills of a successful entrepreneur?

Three crucial abilities that stand out are operational expertise, the art of closing deals, and a deep understanding of financial knowledge.

What does entrepreneurial mean?

Entrepreneurial refers to the characteristics, behaviors, and activities associated with entrepreneurs, who are individuals willing to take risks to start new businesses or ventures. Look at: Entrepreneurialism.

What is entrepreneurial ability?

Entrepreneurial ability refers to the capacity of individuals to recognize and capitalize on business opportunities, manage risks effectively, innovate, and lead ventures to success.

Summaryโœจ

I’ve worked with a number of founders who were able to secure funding and attract top talent because they could clearly articulate their vision, demonstrate a deep understanding of their market, and show that they had the skills to execute their plans.

At the end of the day, entrepreneurial skills aren’t just about running a business – they’re about having the mindset and abilities to turn your ideas into reality, no matter what field you’re in.

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