Updated: December 19, 2020
If you’re planning to start a new business, I believe that the first step is to ask yourself – “Am I ready to be an entrepreneur?”
This is something I’ve already emphasized in my post, A Step By Step Guide To Starting A Business.
But for today, we discuss what I believe are 3 essential skills that every entrepreneur should master.
There is a widely held belief that entrepreneurs are born and not made.
While the merits of that belief are not something that I will tackle in this article I think that we can all agree that no matter what your skillset is right now there are things that you and I and everyone else can do to become better business owners.
Along with the habits that lead to success, here are 3 essential skills that every single entrepreneur should master if they want to take their company to the next level.
#1 Sales & Marketing Skills
I can remember years ago as a young entrepreneur when I realized just how important sales and marketing were to any new business.
As a somewhat technical person with different advanced degrees, I had always looked down in some measure those who made sales their full-time occupation — I definitely do not feel that way anymore!
When I started my first company, I also worked as a tax preparer for a local CPA firm. It was amazing to me at the time, as I saw and realized how sales and marketing were essential to the success of the CPA firm.
Even in a company filled with accountants the only way to bring money in the door was to get the word out via sales and marketing.
If you are someone who has always had an aversion to sales, then it can be tempting for you to think that you will just create a great product or offer great service and the sales will take care of themselves. This is just not the way it works.
Yes, if you have a great customer experience then customers will help to spread the word about your company but the only way to get any customers in the first place is by mastering the essential entrepreneurial skill of sales and marketing.
#2 Organizational Skills
Chances are that, if you took a random sampling of 10 entrepreneurs and paid them a surprise visit to their office, you would be shocked at their lack of organization.
Some of their offices will have stacks of paperwork, a cluttered desk, etc.; while for others, you may need to dig a little deeper to find that their computer has 89 desktop icons or 454 unread emails from last week in their inbox.
The stereotype of the rushed, disorganized, and frazzled entrepreneur is all too common. Yes, it is certainly possible to have great success while still being a disorganized mess but your ceiling will always be limited by your lack of organization.
Things may be trucking along just fine with your office – a pigsty of expense reports and Chinese food take out cartons – but to rapidly scale up your business and properly document your business processes for new employees then you will need to master the essential entrepreneurial skill of becoming organized.
#3 Financial Management Skills
If you don’t know the difference between a balance sheet and an income statement or can’t tell a liability from an asset or a business credit card expense from a business loan expense, then you are likely holding your company back from its true potential.
Yes, it is almost always smart to outsource accounting and other financial tasks to a good CPA but if you are not even able to prepare a budget or make smart planning decisions then that is another matter altogether.
If your financial management (or even basic financial literacy) skills are lacking then take a basic accounting class at your local college, be proactive in having your CPA or other qualified financial planners thoroughly explain things to you, and commit to learning all that you can.
Looking back you may find that you have saved your business thousands of dollars after you master the essential entrepreneurial skill of becoming financially savvy.
This article was co-written by Joel Ohman, a Certified Financial Planner™ from the US