Entrepreneurial success: The 8 skills to get there

About once a year I look to my colleague, Kevin Crone, in Toronto for his take on business insights. Below is his summary of the title above.

Whether you are a business owner, a future one, or work for one, what are the skills you need to constantly develop and succeed? I mean constantly succeed. For some reason, we tend to stop growing at the things that got us there. Our motives change, we get satisfied, or we just get lazy. The following entrepreneurial skills apply to any group, in large companies or small. It just seems that the successful entrepreneurs exhibit more of these all the time.

1) Identify and assess opportunity. Successful entrepreneurs I know never stop assessing what’s going on in the marketplace so they can spot opportunities. Copying big companies isn’t the answer. Big companies already own part of the market. They know what you don’t. They have the resources and can destroy you. It’s usually dumb to chase them. Instead, answer: what’s missing, what’s working somewhere else, or what’s wrong with the present industry? What are customers not getting? What do customers want or need? This may sound too simple, but few business people invest time in answering these questions and large companies have too much in place to allow significant change.

2) Pivot and make changes in their business model. Why do we act, most of the time, like nothing has changed? What drives the business and gets rewarded is a clue to exposing the present model and usually it comes from a different time and place. Once identified you can change it to fit what’s required. Financial statements are just an accountant’s scoreboard, not a strategy to find and keep customers. Successful entrepreneurs are organizing for more than just efficiency. They’re organizing around how they can constantly improve and have a relevant offering that matches opportunities in the marketplace.

3) Explore research opportunities. Entrepreneurs invest 2% of their time and money into finding out what’s possible. Research is simply testing new ideas and trying to turn them into commercial practicality. Joining alliances and networks can work if you’re too busy running things. Listen to those who no one will listen to. Ask questions about their research. Show support to those who research and make requests and proposals to them. Stay connected. An “aha” will appear and away you go!

4) Exercise creative problem solving to cause constant improvement and adaptation. There are separate skills to create something from nothing and ones to fix problems. Take programs where all of them have been distilled into fundamentals and processes. It also helps to develop an attitude of constructive discontent and curiosity as you go. Always ask why.



5) Leverage resources. Use what you have in people and time and don’t complain about what you don’t have. No one has money and time for change. I once studied the law of minimalism. It’s about using what you have to get started or to keep momentum going.

6) Manage risk. It’s about answering what’s the worst that can happen and thinking through how to minimize the consequences as you move forward. Always make sure to have a plan B and C. Listen to the accountants for the Bs and Cs, and listen to successful entrepreneurs and customers for “A” plans.

7) Perseverance — nothing is more important. It’s the juice of the entrepreneur. Failure and setbacks just write the course for them.

8) What builds a team is leadership, confidence, and an ability to influence people. Too many entrepreneurs can’t sustain businesses because they think the business plan, managing money, and hard work is all there is to it. Typically, people are not engaged, connected, and competent. No entrepreneur can do it alone.

Which ones are your strengths that you can leverage? Which ones do you need to get better at? What are you going to do?

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