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Operating your own business can naturally be a risky yet rewarding venture. Budding entrepreneurs should expect days filled with extreme fluctuations in emotions, from fear of failure to dreams of big wins and bank accounts filled to the brim from that one successful product launch you poured your heart and soul into. And although there are many challenges to be expected along the road, it’s certainly worth all the hard work once things really come together.
If you scroll through Instagram nowadays, you could easily be led to believe entrepreneurship is a matter of working four-hour days and watching the sales roll in. But the reality is that ‘overnight success stories just don’t exist. It’s likely that years of grinding and failure took place in the background to set the table for all the big wins you see plastered online. As a modern entrepreneur, you need to be determined, organized, and personable and you need to commit time to study social media marketing, digital marketing, accounting, sales, and all of the other aspects of business management that are required in order to experience success today.
Here are just 4 other vital skills that all modern entrepreneurs should hone in order to prepare for their long and illustrious careers.
1. Time Management
What many one-person startups fail to realize at first is that you don’t have as much time as you think. The tendency is to say “yes” to every offer coming your way. The reality is you first of all need to be comfortable with saying “no” instead. At least in your first year or two. Remember, you’re wearing many hats as a business owner. Frankly, you’re wearing all the hats, that is unless you have big startup capital from the get-go and can afford to hire out and delegate tasks but this is not the case for most startups.
Assuming you’re not in a position to consider expanding your team immediately upon launch, you need to effectively gauge how much time each of your daily tasks is going to take, and whether or not that time can be better utilized elsewhere. You should also be sure to plan for unforeseen problems in your workday, such as supply chain woes, broken computers, and basically any other headache-inducing surprise you can think of.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is just part of being your own boss. It’s not for everybody, but realize that every entrepreneur goes through teething pains with every startup business. With time, your days do become less chaotic and far more manageable, mostly because your capacity for chaos increases as does your intuition, and of course, your time management skills.
2. Focus & Goal Setting
Of course, saying “no” to things you don’t currently have time for will give you more time to focus on completing the projects that you can deliver properly and to the high standards you hold yourself to. Many entrepreneurs managing startups can often fall into the trap of daydreaming about their exponential growth and thinking overly ‘big picture’ rather than actually maintaining their focus on the minutiae of daily work. In other words, worry about pleasing and exceeding the expectations of the customers you do have, rather than focusing on customers you hope to woo in the future.
On a similar note, a great way of maintaining your passion through all the ups and downs of startup life is to provide yourself with little wins wherever possible, just so long as those wins actually contribute to your overall success metrics. Focus on doing tasks you excel in to start off your day, just so you have the energy to hack away at your other more difficult professional and organizational goals.
And speaking of ‘goals’, no successful startup has ever attained success without their leadership teams practicing consistent professional goal-setting. By outlining what goals you’d like to reach and detailing the best steps to feasibly achieve those goals, you’ve effectively provided yourself with a template or self-directed guidelines that can then help shape your attitude to work and allow you to experience greater focus. Keep your end goals in sight and do what needs to be done while reducing extra distractions so you can stay focused and on-task.
3. The Resilience To Learn & Grow
If you’re feeling at all stuck, a good place to begin is by looking closely at your competitors in order to gain insight from those who’ve been where you currently are. Learn from their mistakes as well as their gains, and then take the best, most common-sense advice they offer and follow it for yourself. Building a strong foundation of success by striving for small, incremental gains is always the best approach when it comes to entrepreneurship. Then repeat the process, increasing the intensity as things develop over time.
Soon you’ll reach a point where you can comfortably say “yes” to the next big thing because now you’ve experienced success and built a following and customer base, however small it may be. Remember Amazon and Apple weren’t huge overnight and chances are you won’t be either. The good news is nobody expects you to blow up overnight, especially not your role models. So just keep your expectations in check and focus on value, quality, and reputation. Everything else will fall into place organically once those foundations have been planted.
4. Learning How To Leverage Technology
We are incredibly lucky to live in a world where virtually any task can be achieved through utilizing digital technologies. So take the time to analyze your market niche and examine how other entrepreneurs use different techniques, strategies, and most importantly, technologies to advance their strategic objectives.
For instance, if you’d like to learn about setting up digital ads for your business, then spend a day learning all about landing pages, sales funnels, and email copy or EDMs. Then set those resources in motion so they work 24 hours a day for you. By doing this you can build an online brand with relative ease, tell prospective consumers all about your values and culture, your products and services, and engage with this outlined demographic in meaningful ways.
Similarly, utilizing the market technologies available to you may also be a fantastic way of organically building your client base. With the right approach to big data, you can successfully build an entire database of new prospective clients to target through advertising, based on their age, demographic, educational background, and buying habits. The ability to utilize this kind of user data naturally puts entrepreneurs of today in a very strong position when it comes to communicating with and connecting with their target audience from the get-go.
Build The Skills You Need To Be A Successful Entrepreneur
It’s important to keep in mind that many startup businesses will fail within their first year. Oftentimes, the downfall lies not in the idea itself, but in the execution. Thankfully, honing the four skills we’ve outlined above, can help you defy the odds and build your empire on a solid foundation. And from thereon, it’s just a matter of scaling up to the next level and continuing to cultivate your company’s strong industry reputation. With a positive can-do mindset and the right skills at your disposal, there’s simply no reason why you can’t succeed in your entrepreneurial endeavors moving forward.