The development of the world and the human living conditions depend a lot on industrial advancements. Generations of visionary entrepreneurs, including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, John D. Rockefeller, Sam Walton, and Walt Disney, have helped shape our world.
The public perception of an entrepreneur is often somewhat negative, viewing them as people who dabble in new technologies with an aim to heap a billion dollars. An article in the Harvard Business Review redefines an entrepreneur as “someone who sees an opportunity to create value and is willing to take the risk to capitalise on that opportunity.”
The essential characteristic of entrepreneurship should be to create value and bring advancement, rather than to reap profits. Here are some essential skills that make an entrepreneur successful:
What separates an entrepreneur from an employee is the fact that the entrepreneur must deal with many people, most of whom are his employees. Therefore, a good entrepreneur should be a good people’s person. Understanding the priorities of other people is one of the hardest things to do. An entrepreneur should be able to do it extremely well. History proves that most visionary leaders who have built corporate empires have been great with people.
Rather than the ability to sell, the ability to market defines an entrepreneur. It’s believed that sales is all about one-time revenue, while marketing brings recurrent revenue. A growth-focused entrepreneur should always invest his time in fixing the marketing and branding issues of his organization. This requires the ability to lead the brand, position the products in the market, and to develop long-term strategies.
Charisma and Confidence
As mentioned above, successful entrepreneurs are people-pleasers. This means, charisma and confidence are essential traits of success. Entrepreneurs often have to travel the world, meeting clients and investors. These meetings require them to be confident and emphatic of their products and services. Look at all of those natural-born leaders such as Steve Jobs; they exude confidence. Not-so-confident, albeit successful, CEOs tend to be rare.
Erstwhile Google CEO Eric Schmidt always used to ask one question to guide his business decisions: “What has changed now?” This question helped Schmidt understand the current scenario and make decisions accordingly. This means a good entrepreneur should have the long-term vision and ability to make decisions with objectivity. The ability to shift focus on the right kind of business, whether or not it’s in their personal interest, sets good entrepreneurs apart.
It’s easy to become corrupt in the business world, but building a global organization with the right vision requires staying true to the legal systems in the locations where the company operates. Entrepreneurs should always understand the laws and do the business without trying to circumvent them for ephemeral gains. Lawsuits are filed against even big corporations for various misappropriations and tax evasions, and those legal fights eventually tarnish their name and lead to greater losses.
A good corporate leader must always remain competitive by striving for constant, unbridled innovation. Competitors are always at your heel, and constant innovation is extremely hard. However, the best of entrepreneurs approach it with the right mindset and attitude.
Your customers are your life blood; your company is in business because of them. The good entrepreneur always understands the customers and their requirements. He thinks ahead and even teaches his customers what they could have, beyond what they need. In every way, the best of entrepreneurs always strive to make a positive impact on their customers by adding value to their lives.
Entrepreneurship is an arduous route to success, allowing only a few people to reap benefits in the long run. Entrepreneurs should be passionate and detail-oriented to build a successful organization. Their efforts should be focused more on the benefit to society at large than on self-enrichment.
What essential skills do you think entrepreneur should have?