Developing an entrepreneurial skillset

Every entrepreneur needs to develop an entrepreneurial skillset if they want to become a successful entrepreneur. Many people get an opportunity to start their own business, but never develop their entrepreneurial skillset and eventually find that their business and their own personal growth as an entrepreneur reach a plateau which they never seem to get beyond. Developing an entrepreneurial skillset is an important component of getting beyond this point.

When examining the vast literature on skills, various definitions of entrepreneurial skills emerge. Here are some examples:

Entrepreneurial skill can be defined as the ability to create something new with value by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic and social risks, and receiving the resulting rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction and independence (Hisrich & Peters, 2002).

Entrepreneurial skill is the ability to of an individual to exploit an idea and create an enterprise (Small or Big) not only for personal gain but also for social and developmental gain (Olagunju, 2004).

Formal descriptions/definitions characterise entrepreneurial skills as ability to have self-belief, boldness, tenacity, passionate, empathy, readiness to take expert advice, desire for immediate result, visionary and ability to recognize opportunity (Salgado-banda, 2005).

Kilby (1971) states that the array of possible entrepreneurial skills encompasses the perception of economic opportunity, technical and organizational innovations, gaining commands over scarce resources, taking responsibilities for internal management and for external advancement of the firm in all aspects (of teaching enterprise.

It can thus be seen from the above that the skills associated with being an entrepreneur are broad and vast. Furthermore, being a successful entrepreneur is not just about a set of skills but also about how the individual interacts with the world around them and their mindset to life and business.

The Entrepreneurship 101 Online eLearning Portal is focused on providing buddging and existing entrepreneurs with a platform through which they can be exposed to and start acquiring various entrepreneurial skills across a broad range of business disciplines, whilst networking with other like minded individuals, and learning from each other. The courses on the platform focus on entrepreneurship and the broad skillset needed to be a successful entrepreneur and to start, manage and grow a successful business.

A successful entrepreneur is

DrivenYou get work done without anybody telling you what to do.
FocusedYou don't get distracted from your goal.
DecisiveYou can make decisions and stick to them.
IndependentYou don't rely on anyone else to hand you your success.
GenuineYou are earnestly proud of your product and it's quality.
FlexibleYou can wear multiple hats in the company as needed.
KnowledgeableYou know your product and market like it is the back of your hand.

Entrepreneurial skills every entrepreneur needs

These are some of the skills that every entrepreneur needs to develop.

  • Drive – As an entrepreneur, no one is going to make you go to work at 6 a.m. or even 11 a.m. You have to want your company to succeed and be willing to pour time and effort into it. No one else is pressuring you to make the next move for company growth. Generally, if your focus is money, your business will fail. You need to have the drive and desire for something more.
  • Focus – Many people don’t have the ability to focus on what really matters to the success of a company. They could let distractions interrupt their thought processes, or allow other people to force their schedules upon them. Entrepreneurs need to be able to create their own schedules around what works for them and allows them to focus on the core company strategy.
  • Decisiveness – It’s hard to tell if a decision was good or bad immediately after making it. Entrepreneurs need to be able to overcome doubts and hesitations to make a decision, even in the face of uncertainty. Usually only time will tell if what you’re doing is right, so entrepreneurs often have to learn to be comfortable with that uncertainty.
  • Independence – Entrepreneurs must be alright being alone. In general, an entrepreneur will push harder than anyone else on his or her team, and has to be comfortable putting in the extra work alone. You can’t rely on someone else for success. If you want something, you have to take the initiative and go out and make it happen.
  • Genuineness – You have to genuinely take pride in your craft and your product. When you think about what you and your team built, there should be a sense of accomplishment and a certainty that your product is quality. If you don’t care about what you’re offering others, your customers will soon find out.
  • Flexibility – Entrepreneurs have to be comfortable handling multiple facets of a company. You may have to set up the books, manager sales, contact developers, handle customer support, speak with customers, manage the product and more. In order to be a successful entrepreneur, you need a diverse set of skills and the flexibility to play different roles.
  • Product and market understanding – An entrepreneur needs the ability to understand what the market needs and wants. Then, how to build a product to satisfy that need. You should have skills within the industry or at least a plan to get them.

What are your motivators?

The points below are going to have to be your motivators. They need to be what gets you up in the morning, ready and eager to do a good job no matter how you’re feeling.

  • I must earn my living – If you’re an entrepreneur, no one is going to give you money. You have to earn it. You earn it by creating more value for the market than you are asking for in return. Value creation is difficult; it takes creativity and ingenuity.
  • I must plan my success – No one will tell you what to do each day. It’s completely up to you. Some people enjoy this aspect of being an entrepreneur and others hate it, but it’s up to you to build a plan and execute on it.
  • I can make good decisions – There are 1,000 decisions that you need to make every day as an entrepreneur. This requires flexibility and the ability to constantly shift. What puts even more pressure is the knowledge that the choices you make determine the success of your company, which ultimately determines your success as an entrepreneur.
  • I must prioritise my tasks – You need to know what tasks are worthwhile, which ones have high potential, and which ones will be a waste of your time.
  • I must learn from my bad decisions – Most people are not okay with failure. It’s hard not to take failure personally. I’ve had more failures than successes, but my failures often lead to my successes. I fail every single day, multiple times. More than 90% of businesses fail for a reason, and it’s hard. But it’s something you have to learn from.
  • I can overcome obstacles – There are going to be problems in any business. You have to be okay with fires and you have to know how to deal with them. Fires do arise, and when they do it’s imperative you get through them and continue building your business.
  • I can make it happen – The best entrepreneurs are doers. They understand the value of execution, and will get things done when they need to be. Strategy and planning is necessary, but execution is where they come together to make something that counts.