The image of becoming an entrepreneur is certainly an attractive option – we are bombarded with startup success stories in the media showing us not only the business, but also the lifestyle that comes with the success , with glimpses into their glamorous homes, their tips for how they start the day, what they eat for breakfast and their latest book publication. They always say they started it all from the kitchen table – making it seem like anyone can do it. Entrepreneurs have becomes celebrities in their own right.
The buzz and excitement you get when you spot a gap in the market and get some funds together can be a thrill. However, a recent study from Deloitte foresees that 2018 will be an extremely disruptive year in the business world – a year where businesses need to learn new skills in order to keep up with change.
So, what skills will you need to become a successful entrepreneur in 2018?
In this ‘post-truth’ era, authenticity is key – especially when you are aiming to appeal to millennials and social media. Any hint of inauthenticity and you could potentially blow it. You might see authenticity as a quality rather than a skill, but it is important that you make a concerted effort towards cultivating it as it is actually a skill that you can learn and apply to your business.
The aptitude to develop mentoring relationships
Networking and learning from others is valuable in our highly connected world – it is your net worth. Don’t have so much pride that you are unwilling to see or listen from others.
Vivek Chadha of Nine Group owns and operates hotels in London and in major cities around the UK. Nine Group’s growth rate has led to their establishment as one of the fastest private hotel companies in the UK, currently employing over 800 people.
Named as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the London & South region in 2017, Chadha credits lessons from the older generation and from the strength and importance of his relationships as part of his huge and rapid success, explaining:
‘Have the right attitude and don’t negotiate too much! Relationships are much more important. Trying to be the best in your industry and concentrating on one goal in whatever you do is the key to success. Learn from your elders and listen to what the older generation are doing and try to use their philosophy in parts. Combine that philosophy with your growth plans and there’s a lot of lessons to learn.’
The art of communication
It is often said that communication is the most important skill an entrepreneur can learn. Richard Branson says it is a skill that you can practice and become better at – just like learning to ride a bike. Good communication opens up a world where you can influence people and sell more successfully.
Connect with your customers
The skill of empathising with your customers is a powerful force. This will enable you to understand your customers’ challenges and needs. Lack of market need is a leading cause of startups failing.
Think about creating your personal brand much like you would create your Facebook or Instagram account. You can’t afford to have a negative online presence. Your circle of influence, followers and reputation all create a strong personal brand.
Learn to shape strategy
With a potentially tumultuous economical and political environment you need key objectives, a clear vision and core strategies, plus an established budget and funding for every eventuality. The best strategies are created by teams, collectively thinking and inputting different skills with mutual accountability. Look into specific team building training for you and staff members.
Without learning how to effectively manage your business finances you might be heading back to that 9-5 job! Running out of cash is a symptom of another issue. Make sure you have financial contingency plans in place for areas of possible failure. Failure management is an important skill to learn.
SEO and persuasive copywriting
The written word still reigns supreme, encouraging people to take action online. Combine copywriting skills with SEO and it packs a powerful punch for a startup – it will help you establish your online presence and reach a wider audience which is vital in those early days. It will also help you engage your audience and create brand awareness.
2018 sees the continuation of our fast-changing world, so the skill to manage and cultivate a strong and agile sales culture is – more than eve – key to business success and growth. You need to be winning new accounts, increasing sales from existing customers and retaining the effective salespeople who bring money in. Nurture motivation and choose resilient personalities when you are recruiting.
The word ‘mindful’ has become a buzzword in recent years, along with the phrases ‘workplace happiness’ and ‘employee engagement’.
Not without good reason – happiness in the workplace is known to increase productivity amongst many other benefits for business. With any startup, things can become stressful and you may have periods of self-doubt. A worthwhile skill to learn for any size business, Stress management is particularly useful for small businesses and startups to provide extra stamina and added strength and stability.
Learn to be shrewd when selecting the people who are going to work for you. It pays to be fussy – you want the very best for your business with a diverse range of talents and skill sets.
You need more than a strong work ethic and passion to succeed as a entrepreneur in 2018 – you need to master the basics of running a business so that you are resilient to any disruption. Developing this learning culture and refreshing mindset is critical for for an entrepreneurial leader when creating a long-term business.