Four Critical Skills of an Entrepreneur

Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Coco Chanel, and Oprah Winfrey: what do all these household names have in common? They’re all entrepreneurs who rose to the top of their game thanks to the following important skills.

Advanced Critical Thinking Skills

It’s no coincidence that MBA programs focus on developing students’ capacity for critical thinking. Critical thinking is closely related to problem-solving, but it goes beyond that. As critical thinkers, entrepreneurs don’t merely solve problems. They solve problems in the best way.

Critical thinkers formulate a number of potential solutions to a problem and consider them all before deciding on the best one.

Superior Collaborative Skills

Many people think of entrepreneurs as individuals who’ve found success because they dared to go it alone rather than running with the pack. However, that doesn’t mean successful entrepreneurs work in isolation. Paul Allen was instrumental in Bill Gates' rise to the top. Steve Jobs might have been the public face of Apple, but Steve Wozniak was working just as hard behind the scenes.

Many successful entrepreneurs say knowing their weaknesses, as well as their strengths, is key to their achievements. When they recognize a weakness in themselves, they find people who excel in this area and work with them to achieve their goals.

Collaboration skills are crucial to this process. Successful entrepreneurs know how to communicate with the people around them. They clearly share the information they’ve gained and listen to input from others, understanding that their own ideas may not always be the best. They might be natural leaders, but they also understand how to work as part of a team.

Excellent Money Management Skills

Image via Flickr by reynermedia

You might employ an accountant or team of finance experts, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about the figures. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to have a sound understanding of your finances, cash flow, funding, and profits. You must feel confident with these numbers to feel confident making decisions about your budgets and revenue growth. Put simply, you must know how to manage money to successfully manage a business.

Superb Sales Skills

Many successful entrepreneurs don’t realize they’re using the same skills their sales team does every day. However, the clear communication, charisma, and persuasive powers sales professionals use are crucial for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs employ these skills when they negotiate with vendors, when they network with others in their industry, and when they seek out funding. Any time an entrepreneur looks to influence anyone in the business world, they’re using sales skills.

A lack of sales skills won’t just hinder your chances of success; it may even kill your business. One of the key reasons entrepreneurs fail is because they can’t secure funding. It’s easy to blame this problem on a tough economy, but in truth experts say a lack of trust is a more likely culprit. When you’re securing funding, you need to get investors to believe in you, your company, and your products or services. If you can’t, then your sales skills may need some work.

Cultivate these skills and you too may have what it takes to make it as a successful entrepreneur.

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