Successful entrepreneurs share many things in common, some of which include skill sets business owners need that allows them to profitably manage and grow their business. I have worked with businesses across a range of industries, and what I have noticed is that the most successful business owners have mastered a range of skills and applied them to their businesses. This, in turn, has laid the foundation of their business success.
I will share three critical skills that I have learned are essential for business owners to develop in order to achieve success. I will also explain why I believe business owners should develop these major skill sets by showing how three famous successful entrepreneurs have used these skill sets to develop and grow their global businesses.
1. Strategic thinking
Strategic thinking is understanding what to do and how to take advantage of opportunities that you come across—or even how to create opportunities for your business’s growth. This is one of the first skill sets business owners need to master
Howard Schultz is an example of a strategic thinker. He is responsible for transforming Starbucks from a small business operation selling roasted gourmet coffee beans into the powerhouse retail coffee chain that it is today.
A visit to Italy resulted in Schultz’s vision of creating coffee bars in the United States that mimicked the Italian coffee culture. He believed that an appealing ambiance coupled with top-notch customer service would boost coffee sales. He trained his baristas not just on how to brew the perfect cup, but also on how to be engaging with coffee patrons.
Question to ask yourself:
How can you package your product in a way that is different from the competition—and one that your customers will want?
Your ability to communicate with people accurately and in a way that your audience can understand and identify with is a key skill that you will need to master as a business owner. The people whom you communicate with, be it your team or your customers will be more receptive towards you if you can speak in a way that they can identify with what you say.
Steve Jobs is a famous public speaker who leveraged this skill to develop Apple into one of, if not the world’s most valuable brand.
Jobs also knew how to captivate his audience, whether he led a meeting or introduced a new gadget in a plenary. He focused on one idea at a time and convinced his audience by telling compelling stories. In my video, I show an excerpt of how Jobs bought a new product and made the audience identify with it. This product became the most successful selling product of its kind for the company. It’s found at 3min 16sec time of the video.
Jobs was an empathetic communicator. When he was selling the idea of the iPhone to an audience who has never heard of such technology, he did not talk about impressive features and did not speak using technical jargon. Instead, he used simple, everyday language to explain how Apple’s products can make life better for anyone who will buy them. He wanted his customers to relate to the product—to want them rather than be intimidated by them. When he talked to his customers, he talked about their needs and how he intended to address them through his products.
Question to ask yourself:
How can you improve how you communicate with your customers in such a way that allows them to better relate with your products and will, as a result, make them want to purchase your products because they see how it addresses their needs?
3. Ability to learn from past mistakes
Your ability to learn from your past mistakes determine how much success your business will achieve in the future.
Jeff Bezos famously said, “I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com.” For every successful Amazon product, such as the Kindle and the Amazon Prime service, there are failed innovations such as Amazon’s smartphone project, Fire. His failures, however, have not stopped him from finding and creating opportunities for his company.
He is known to welcome failure in his organisation. For example, Bezos hired former executives of Webvan, the failed online grocery delivery service from the first dot-com era, to launch Amazon’s own grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh.
What is important is what you do after these failed experiments. Failure teaches you about what does not work—what customers do not like, what the market does not respond to, and what strategies do not get results. Failure sets you up for success—but that is if you have learned your lesson well.
Question to ask yourself:
What do you do with the failures that you have experience in your business? How do you learn from them so that you do not make the same mistakes over and over again?
If you are interested to know more about what a business has to go through when facing exponential growth, you can download the first chapter of the book, ”$20K to $20 Million in 2 Years” absolutely free here. The chapter talks about the differences between a good and a great business and puts out questions that make you consider how you can turn your business from good to great.