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.

Communication

Every entrepreneur needs to be an effective communicator. Whether a person is a solo entrepreneur or runs a Fortune 500 company, he needs 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 his company to anyone who needs to understand that value, the company cannot be successful.

He needs to master all forms of communication, including one-on-one in-person conversations, communicating to a group of people, written communication and online communication.

Sales

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

If an entrepreneur is able to communicate effectively, he is better equipped to sell his ideas and his physical products to help his business achieve success.

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. One of the main risks an entrepreneur faces is the risk of emotional instability. A successful entrepreneur needs to be able to focus so he can stay the course when the going gets tough.

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 a person is building a business, however, the ability to learn is a necessity 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, he has the skill necessary to become a successful entrepreneur; his failure can expand his knowledge and understanding of business.

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 his business from good to great.