As a young entrepreneur, the thought of starting a business can be both exhilarating and intimidating. The excitement of being your own boss and the possibility of achieving financial independence is tempered by the fear of failure and uncertainty.
Here are some of the critical skills and insights that every young entrepreneur needs to develop to create a thriving business and build a life filled with happiness.
We are Different, with Many Commonalities
Collaborating with many types of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders over the last twenty years, I have come to realize that despite their differences, they share some commonalities. They all operate in a marketplace with competitors, they all want to sell their offerings to clients, and they are all affected by consumer demands for a more sustainable way of doing business.
No matter the size of your business, your industry, or governance structure, these commonalities have major implications for any business leader: they need essential hard on business strategy, pricing, sustainability, and leadership.
Understanding Strategy, Pricing, and Sustainability is Key
Leaders need to harvest the benefits of strategy as a discipline to paint a compelling vision for their business and create a strategy to bring that vision to life. Without, businesses lack clarity and direction, resulting in allocating resources to topics that aren’t mission-critical priorities. This quickly can become a threat as it leads businesses to stretch themselves too thin and miss out on what really matters for success.
Pricing is the biggest lever of profitability. Especially during times of high inflation, pricing plays a crucial role in protecting your bottom line. Unfortunately, few business leaders understand the power of value-pricing and a differentiated pricing model. They use outdated approaches to pricing, such as ‘cost plus’ or purely competitive pricing, rather than understanding what customers value about the different aspects of their offerings relative to their price.
Companies embracing their responsibility to impact this world positively can strongly benefit from changing market demands. Increasingly, consumers are spending their hard-earned money on services and goods that resonate with their own set of values. This is especially true around social and environmental conscious buyers. Entrepreneurs should embrace the opportunity and build businesses that benefit people, planet, and their pockets.
Leadership is a Success Factor for New Entrepreneurs
Moving away from the three essential hard skills for entrepreneurs – strategy, pricing, and sustainability – let’s talk about one additional, people-related skill: leadership. In countless coaching sessions with clients, I have observed that many business owners underestimate the importance of leadership. They often tell me something along the lines of not having much of a team to lead. They fall back on the misconception that there’s not much you can do in a small part of the sandbox.
Fortunately, most of my clients eventually arrive at a definition of leadership inspired by John Maxwell who said, “The true measure of leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” By that definition, we are all leading in one way or another. We all make choices that influence others, just by how we show up at meetings with clients, suppliers, or employees. How we treat people and our planet has an effect. When we act as leaders, we contribute to shaping more equitable workplaces and social society.
Leaders Build People-Centric, High-Performance Workplaces
We live in an age of disruption, which makes people feel out of control. We want
to be in control of our lives and businesses, but the reality is that we cannot control everything. The best we can do is to be prepared for change and have an adaptable mindset. Leaders need to be able to navigate through uncertainty and adapt quickly to new circumstances.
To create a people-centric high-performance culture, leaders must prioritize their team’s well-being and happiness. A happy team is a productive team. Leaders should invest in their team’s professional development and ensure that they feel valued and appreciated.
Retaining Talent by Leveraging Conflict
The talent gap is a significant issue for businesses today. It’s becoming more challenging to find and retain talented employees. Leaders need to create a workplace culture that attracts and retains the best talent. This means offering competitive compensation packages, creating a positive work environment, and investing in employee development.
An additional way is to leverage the power of conflict. Conflict is inevitable in any workplace, but leaders should see it as an opportunity for growth. When handled correctly, conflict can lead to better ideas and stronger relationships. Leaders need to be skilled at conflict resolution and creating an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas.
Acquiring these skills and focussing on what truly creates value to consumers, employees, and society, entrepreneurs can create a thriving business. As you embark on your entrepreneurial journey, remember that you are not alone. Seek out mentors, advisors, and a supportive community to help you along the way. With hard work, dedication, and the right skills, you can thrive in business and lead a balanced life at the same time.
Alex Brueckmann is author of “Secrets of Next-Level Entrepreneurs – 11 Powerful Lessons to Thrive in Business and Lead a Balanced Life”. He facilitates strategy processes and leadership programs for CEOs and executive teams around the world. A board director and speaker, Alex works at the intersection of business strategy, leadership, and empowerment.