An entrepreneur can be any person who builds or operates a business, taking on a greater amount of risk than someone who is an employee of a business. Often, this entrepreneurial risk takes the form of financial risk, career risk, emotional risk, or overall business risk.

Since there is so much risk of failure when it comes to being an entrepreneur and growing a successful business, there are very specific skills that an entrepreneur needs to be successful.

Key Takeaways

  • A great entrepreneur must be able to effectively communicate, sell, focus, learn, and strategize.
  • An ability to continuously learn is not just a key entrepreneurial skill, but also a very valuable life skill.
  • Growing a business requires a sound strategy based on inherent business sense and skills.


Communication

Every entrepreneur needs to be an effective communicator. Whether a person is a solo entrepreneur or runs a Fortune 500 company, they need to understand how to communicate effectively to all stakeholders and potential stakeholders that touch the business.

It is imperative for an entrepreneur to be able to communicate with employees, investors, customers, creditors, peers, and mentors. If an entrepreneur cannot communicate the value of their company it’s unlikely the company will be successful.

They also need to master all forms of communication, including one-on-one and in-person conversations, group conversations, written communication, and email or online messages.

Sales

The soft skill of sales goes hand-in-hand with the communication necessary to be successful. As an entrepreneur, this person needs to be able to sell anything and everything. An entrepreneur needs to sell the business idea to potential investors, the product or service to customers, and themselves to employees.

If an entrepreneur is able to communicate effectively, they are better equipped to sell their ideas and physical products.

In the beginning, it's natural for entrepreneurs to be the first salespeople at their respective companies. Those sales skills are necessary to demonstrate value for all stakeholders inside and outside the company.

Focus

The path to successful entrepreneurship is riddled with ups and downs. There are the highs of elation and the despairs of lows. A successful entrepreneur needs to be able to focus so they can stay the course when the going gets tough.

One of the main risks an entrepreneur faces is the risk of emotional instability

This skill can also be thought of as thinking with the end in mind. No matter what struggles an entrepreneur goes through, a successful entrepreneur has the focus necessary to keep an unwavering eye on the end goal and can push himself to achieve it.

Ability to Learn

The ability to learn is one of the most important skills to have in life, let alone in entrepreneurship. If someone is building a business, however, the ability to learn is required for success.

The ups and downs an entrepreneur goes through are unavoidable. An entrepreneur needs a high ability to learn—and a desire to learn. If a person is able to learn in any situation, even failure, they have the skills necessary to become a successful entrepreneur. Failure can help expand one's knowledge and understanding of business.

66%

The percentage of new businesses that fail within their first 10 years, per the Small Business Administration.

Business Strategy

While a successful entrepreneur has, by definition, built a successful company, the skill of business strategy is actually the fifth most important skill that an entrepreneur needs. Often, entrepreneurs achieve success in their businesses through their own sheer strength of will.

By employing effective communication skills, sales skills, a deep focus and a high ability to learn, an entrepreneur can actually learn business strategy on the fly. When structuring and growing a business, however, it's important that the structure and growth strategy is based on sound business sense and skills. A successful entrepreneur needs to have a solid strategy to take their business from good to great.