What skills do you need to be a successful entrepreneur? Here are 10 things you can start working on now!
- Understand your strengths, weaknesses and your blind spots.
- Find your passion, search for ideas that set your imagination soaring.
- Continue learning new skills that will be relevant to your prospective venture.
Choose the Right Business
- Allocate your energy, time and resources to a business likely to generate good returns.
- Do a lot of research, gather facts and talk to experts.
- Have clarity with respect to the competition; understand the market size and the share you can acquire over time.
You Are Only As Good As the People Around You
- Assemble a team of complimentary individuals that collectively have all the key skills required to execute the idea.
- Provide high-frequency feedback to drive continuous performance improvements.
- Connect with external stakeholders that are vital to your success—customers, suppliers, investors, advisors, industry experts, etc.
Build a Winning Culture
- Define your organizational culture, make it explicit and constantly reinforce it.
- Culture is a living organism that requires constant monitoring and shaping.
- Culture is a tool that inspires and motivates your team to achieve goals that may have been perceived as impossible before.
Define the Key Metric That Matters Most
- Energy and resources need to be channeled in the right direction to maximize the odds of success.
- Define the metric and specify the right ways to measure performance.
- Choose one primary metric and update it as the organization evolves into different maturity stages.
Accurately Assess Capital Requirements
- Assess how much capital running multiple scenarios requires: best, bad and worse.
- Know what type of business you’re in. If you want to get investors, understand risks and effects on stakeholders.
- If you raise money from friends and family, be realistic in how you communicate risks and anticipate the consequences of not meeting your financial objectives.
Use the Right Incentives
- Aim for the right balance based on the behaviors you would like to encourage.
- Incentives can create or destroy value—use them wisely.
- Think of all the unforeseen downsides it can generate and make sure the positives are greater than the negatives.
Have Deep Empathy
- Empathize with the people you interact with to build a profitable and sustainable business.
- Understand the world, as it is—not according to how you would like it to be.
- Listen to people and understand your customers by putting yourself in their shoes.
Experiment in Stages
- Experiment: Try differentiating yourself from competitors and add value to your customers in a unique way.
- Learn: Understand the impact of your hypothesis and evaluate it objectively.
- Adjust: Refine your hypothesis based on the learning.
- Scale: Grow what works, and prune out what doesn’t.
- Ensure that you make the right decisions along the way while keeping in mind your long-term vision.
- Write a journal to introspect and gain perspective on how you are progressing and dealing with the challenges you face.
- Regularly think of your exit strategy. Do you plan to sell the company, pass it on to the next generation, or go public?
Image credit: CC by Tim Lenz