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Part of the Job: 7 Skills All Entrepreneurs Must Master

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks

If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you probably already have a pretty good idea of the skills you’ll need.

Vision, initiative, sales, planning, finance, strategy, and branding are among the most commonly mentioned.

All of those are incredibly important, but they’re not the end of the list.

There are a few other unexpected skills that entrepreneurs will need to succeed, you just might not be thinking about them yet.

Here are seven unexpected business skills all entrepreneurs must master.

1. Communication

Thanks to the Internet, it’s much easier these days to conduct the majority of your business from your computer, without really interacting with anyone face-to-face.

This has caused some to think that the days of the charismatic entrepreneur are over, and we can all just sulk behind our computers.

In fact, it’s the opposite: communication skills are more important than ever.

It’s surprisingly challenging to deliver the kind of message and tone you want through email, phone communication, and social media.

Entrepreneurs today have to make extra effort to communicate effectively online in order to build the relationships that would have once happened organically in person.

And if you have staff working for you, especially remotely, communication skills become dire.

If you’re unable to express yourself and your expectations clearly, it can affect your staff’s productivity or ability to deliver what you’re looking for.

You may not need to schmooze at cocktail parties, but interpersonal skills remain an important trait of successful entrepreneurs.

Today’s entrepreneur needs to be able to write clear instructions and use increasingly distant communication channels to network and build relationships.

2. Curiosity

If you’re not interested in learning, it’s almost impossible to succeed as a modern-day entrepreneur.

Those who really thrive are the ones who make genuine efforts to learn new technologies and methods to keep their business on the cutting edge.

Not every task can be outsourced, and even if it can, you still have to have some basic knowledge of it in order to get the results you want.

That’s why a promising entrepreneur will know basic SEO and how to do an A/B split test, for example.

Every entrepreneur needs the skill of curiosity, which drives them to learn as the playing field changes.

3. The Ability to Inspire Others

No one can doubt that an entrepreneur is passionate about their work. But it’s the ability to instill that inspiration in others that really drives success.

In some ways, this is an extension of the communication skill. You need to be able to explain things in an understandable way, then take it a step further to make the project resonate with your team.

Even if you’re a self-professed “solopreneur,” there’s no way you’re really doing every task on your own.

Inspiring your network of influencers, for example, can be a major driving force behind your business.

If you can get others excited about your work, the momentum created can be huge.

4. Stress Management

An entrepreneur is not just the boss, they have an active hand in a lot of different areas of a business, to keep things running smoothly and cope with potential setbacks and failures along the way.

Anyone could get burned out in that environment, which might be why research has shown that entrepreneurs tend to have higher instances of mental health issues than the general population.

Any entrepreneur who wants to succeed long-term must be very good at stress management.

Essential to this skill is being able to limit the number of hats you wear (in other words, be OK with delegating) and knowing when it’s time to take a break.

5. Consumer Focus

Digital marketing has changed the game for a lot of entrepreneurs. So much of success is now contingent upon understanding the needs of consumers and finding ways to meet them with your business.

Entrepreneurs need to work to really understand the mentality of the people who make their business possible, then cater your products, services, policies, and marketing campaigns to those people.

You may be able to find someone to build buyer personas for your content marketing efforts, but it won’t be effective unless the leader behind it all is as focused on the consumer as their staff is.

6. Adaptability

Now more than ever it’s important to have the skill of adaptability, the ability to change your approach.

As new technologies and services enter the market, they can vastly change the landscape in a matter of months.

Just think of the impact of Google algorithm updates on businesses.

Even huge brands like Mozilla, BBC, and Overstock suffered the consequences and had to make major changes to begin to recover.

Great entrepreneurs must be comfortable going with the flow and making quick business decisions to minimize the impact of such a fast-moving marketplace.

7. Vision

Having a clear market niche is essential for a business to grow, but many entrepreneurs make the mistake of over-focusing on their own corner of the business world.

The entrepreneurs who genuinely understand markets, what makes a successful company, business management standards, and opportunities when they see them, those are the ones with the potential for exponential growth.

Just imagine if Amazon had never expanded beyond being an online bookstore.

Or if networking site LinkedIn had never entered the social media space.

Both might be gone by now.

Image Credit: monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks
Staff Writer
Chad Brooks is a writer and editor with more than 20 years of media of experience. He has been with Business News Daily and for the past decade, having written and edited content focused specifically on small businesses and entrepreneurship. Chad spearheads coverage of small business communication services, including business phone systems, video conferencing services and conference call solutions. His work has appeared on The Huffington Post,,, Live Science, IT Tech News Daily, Tech News Daily, Security News Daily and Laptop Mag. Chad's first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014.