In the United States, successful entrepreneurs come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds and therefore bring different skill strengths to the table when viewing the overall contribution that they make to an organization or effort. Just the same, it is possible to look at soft skills and find commonalities where executives that have the requisite tool set will typically outperform others.
Here are 7 soft skills that can make a difference in your business:
Ever since IBM turned over the development of MS-DOS to Microsoft because Gary Kildall refused to meet them halfway on the cultural aspects of their relationship: business attire, company processes, etc., at least one industry has been cognizant of the fact that knowing when to show a collaborative style can mean dollars and sense for your corporation. This isn’t too much of a problem for entrepreneurs that need to build coalitions on their way to greatness. It has been a problem for entrepreneurs whose ideas are so good that they do not want to compromise as they bring them to market.
Steve Jobs once defined leaders as being people who are able to articulate their vision to those around them. As a capability, this remains very important for entrepreneurs as they pitch their product ideas and as they move their product forward. One of the least practiced areas of presentation is handling objections or problems with the actual material that you are working with. Incorporating practice for potential problems is an excellent way to strengthen others perception of your capabilities when you are live.
Oftentimes for entrepreneurs, the actual information that you impart during communication is not as much of a skill as is determining how often to communicate using which medium and then consistently doing just that.
Being able to network to take your dream to the next level is important for all entrepreneurs. Successful entrepreneurs are often creative in their efforts to meet the right people. When Google was a young startup, a friend of theirs arranged to allow both the founders to work in her garage during the day while a renowned venture capitalist dropped by to see her. With them working there, she then asked if the venture capitalist wanted to drop in on them in the garage to see what they were up to. Her friend declined. Today, his company now lists that missed possibility- not taking advantage of the networking opportunity that Google’s founders were willing to commit to as one of his venture capital firm’s all-time mistakes.
5. Stress Management.
Startups can be hard on founders and early employees’ health. The dedication necessary to get a promising product or product to market requires focus and clear thinking that are better undertaken by people that are very in tune with their physical energy limitations. So whether it be yoga, golf, tennis or some other pursuit, most successful entrepreneurs have an outlet that allows them to continue to perform at a high level day-in and day-out.
One profitable entrepreneur refused to close his firm after facing a divorce from their business partner. He instead doubled his work hours and when costs closed in on him ended up doing things like walking 30 miles to get to a conference. Despite all major clients placing a moratorium on new contracts for over two years while there was confusion, the young firm came out of the divorce without shutting down and is today successful. Resilience can pay off in many ways.
7. Time Management.
Many successful entrepreneurs end up with people who schedule their activities so they can optimize their time during the day. Before they reach the point where they have a administrative assistant, emphasizing strong time management skills of their own can help burnish their image with those that their product is in front of as well as create more efficiency within their nascent organization.
Overall, there are a lot of variables that go into making an entrepreneur successful. Developing and displaying soft skills is one area that investors, clients, and potential employees will respond to, creating more opportunity for your organization.
Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM, and sales. He’s begun multiple corporations and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant.