Starting a successful business requires a special set of skills. If you want to open your own business but don’t yet possess the necessary skills, right now is the perfect time to start developing them (or to find someone you can pay to take over the tasks those skills would help with). Here are the skills that every entrepreneur should have when starting his or her business:
- Writing – A politics professor once told me that the written word is dead and that writing was no longer a skill people needed to learn. Now that I’m out in the business world, I know he was as wrong as I suspected he was at the time. You will need to know how to write. Whether it’s a business proposal to show a bank you have a plan for your endeavor, emails to prospects, thank-you notes to your support team, advertisements, etc. you will need to know how to craft a coherent and properly punctuated sentence, no matter your industry or specialty.
- Speaking – You don’t have to be the world’s best public speaker, but you should at least be able to string words together. This is a skill that is developed only through practice, and not having it can kill your business. Build this skill by finding a low-pressure way to practice your public speaking or take a class that will help you build your confidence.
- Branding yourself and your business – This could also be called “consistency.” You have to be consistent in your communication, consistent in how you present yourself, and consistent in the tone and atmosphere of your business. This makes you look like a legitimate and established business (and person), with a clear sense of self. Being able to do this will make you stand out from the crowd.
- Selling – Even if you won’t be directly involved in the selling of your product or service (i.e., you’ve hired people for that), you are still a salesperson. You have to know how to talk to people about your business and its features and benefits, without sounding like a 1920’s pitch man. People want to know why they should choose you over your competition, not just that they should choose you. They have plenty of choices, so make yourself stand out by proving you’re worth their time and money.
- Networking – It’s true that business usually comes from those you know. The better you are at schmoozing and getting to know new people, the more easily it will be to get clients. Additionally, this is a good way to find people to work with you and for you. If you aren’t naturally great at networking, then spend some time developing this skill, or bringing someone to networking events with you that is good at networking.