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What does it take to start a successful business? The skills that it takes to successfully run a business will vary depending on the type of business and how involved you are in the actual day-to-day operations. Although the skills will vary, there are certain traits about successful entrepreneurs that are fairly consistent.
Successful entrepreneurs have mastered the following skills:
Ability to Delegate: Every entrepreneur is limited by time. There is only so much that can be done by one person and an entrepreneur's ability to recognize that and delegate tasks will directly determine how successful the business can be. If every small detail has to be done through the owner of the business, then it is unlikely to be successful or grow much larger than a one person operation. The key to delegation is to unload the least valuable tasks so that the owner’s time can be focused on the tasks that have the greatest ROI and add the most value to the business. Perry Marshall explains this perfectly in his book “80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More” where he differentiates tasks into hourly rates of $10, $100, $1,000, and $10,000 tasks. He says that tasks like making copies and picking up office supplies are $10 an hour tasks and should be delegated to allow for more time to be focused on client strategy or product improvements which are $10,000 per hour tasks. The goal is to eliminate as much low level work as possible so that your time can be focused on the highest revenue generating tasks.
Ability to Coach/Train: Dropping a task on someone's desk and simply saying “figure it out” is probably not the best strategy for long term success. It also will likely lead to your frustration as the task may not be completed properly.
When tasks are first delegated or expectations are set about performance, there needs to be some level of training so that the employees are clear about how to accomplish the task and that it will meet your expectations. Developing the people around you is key for success because as they improve and become more efficient, the more productive they become. Their improved productivity will improve your business and directly impact your bottom line. Successful entrepreneurs invest time and resources in the training and mentoring of their employees and the people around them.
Since many small businesses fail to establish written training plans, resources like Lynda.com , Plural Sight, and Udemy.com could be made available to help employees as a training opportunity. These are paid sites, but a low cost investment for a small business owner that may help an employee solve a problem and prevent a lot of wasted time. Taking the time to coach and train employees can be the difference between a happy work force or a work force with dissatisfaction and high turnover.
You Like to Work: One of the biggest misconceptions about being an entrepreneur is the freedom to set your own schedule. While that does exist, for most entrepreneurs that is 12-18 hours a day which does not leave a lot of free time to be scheduled. Those type of hours are not always necessary for success, but are not uncommon. Most entrepreneurs can work through this without blinking an eye because their focus and passion are on making the business successful. If you have a vision of working from 9-5 and the freedom to just take days off whenever you get the whim, then your success as an entrepreneur may be a struggle. There is some flexibility in the life of an entrepreneur, but it is much less than most people who have never ran a business might believe.
Ability To Sell: No matter how superior your product or service may be, it still has to be sold and sold often. As Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says, “Sales cur all. There has never been a business that succeeded without sales.”
This starts with the owner of the business to get it off the ground. The concept has to be sold to investors, the product has to be sold to customers, the vision has to be sold to employees, etc. Every day in the life of an entrepreneur involves some level of sales or at least it should. If no one is actually out selling the product or service with success, then it is unlikely that business can profitably succeed.
Clearly, there are many other traits of successful entrepreneurs, but these are some of the basic traits that you will find. Businesses don't fail merely due to ideas or bad product, but often from a failure to execute. Successful entrepreneur typically are completing the unpopular tasks and doing whatever is necessary for their business to succeed.
Are you prepared to do whatever it takes for your business to succeed? What other traits have you seen that are common for successful entrepreneurs?
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