What skills do you need to be a successful Entrepreneur?

When starting a business, we all come at from different directions, at different ages, different backgrounds. There are so many skills required to run your own startup. Successful Entrepreneur skills, are the ones you’ll need to run everything from serving customers to preparing your accounts. Below are listed 13  core skills required in running a startup business and how you might develop your core skill set further. The successful Entrepreneur skills are:

  1. Opportunity Recognition – The recognition of new markets and opportunities, such as a new customers’ need is core to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
  2. Ideation – Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas. Always write your ideas down in a book and come back to them when you can do something about it.
  3. Research & Analysis – This involves both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. Understanding the customers, competitors and costs structure are important in making a startup work.
  4. Resources Identification – Working out the resource requirements then leads to determining what types of resources you will need to start-up and operate your startup.
  5. Risk Analysis – This process of defining and analysing the dangers to your startup business posed by potential natural and human-caused events.
  6. Tactical Planning – As a startup the horizon is low, so focus on this process of outlining business plans for the coming year. This differs from strategic planning as strategic planning encompasses longer-term goals that reflect the company’s direction and its purpose outlined in its mission statement.
  7. Operational Design – Operational design is the first level of strategy implementation and rests upon operational art. This cognitive approach uses your skill, knowledge, experience, creativity, and judgment to develop operations to organise and employ the resources available.
  8. Business Modelling – A business model is the map of how a startup generates revenue and makes a profit from its value proposition. From this a business plan and processes may be derived.
  9. Cash Flow – In the early days of a business maintaining a healthy cash level, liquidity ensure the business survives. Cash is king.
  10. Team Building – As a new business building a team is important, which requires various types of activities used to enhance social relations and define roles within team are developed and maintained.
  11. Branding – Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, it develops you icon and a connection with your suppliers, customers and financial stakeholders.
  12. Marketing – The communications of you value proposition should generate leads which can be turned into sales.
  13. Negotiating & Selling – Getting the right prices from your suppliers and selling at the right price is fundamental for a startup to grow. These skills go hand in hand together.

7 obstacles experienced by entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur we have lots of do, but sometimes we just do it wrong, we let obstacles get in our way. So what are the typical obstacles we entrepreneurs have to deal with:

  1. Perfectionism – For entrepreneurs, practice doesn’t make perfect; action does. You simply cannot wait until you are 100 percent ready before you take action. Think MVP.
  2. Procrastination –  Sometimes its easier to delay the decision, the action or even dealing with the problem, so each day “Eat the Frog” and take action of the real issues within your business.
  3. Fear – Entrepreneurs’ resolve is tested from the very first step of starting a business. In fact, one entrepreneur compared starting a business to jumping off a cliff and assembling your parachute on the way down.
  4. Worry – As an entrepreneur, worry comes with the territory. In fact, over a third of entrepreneurs told Gallup they worried a lot about yesterday. While worry is a quotidian experience, it is not productive. You have to make peace with the things that concern you, and not let them stop you from taking action and pursuing your dreams.
  5. Financing – Experienced entrepreneurs don’t have it easy when it comes to funding a new business, but they do have a few advantages over newcomers. They might have a pool of capital from a business they previously sold or a steady stream of revenue they can use to fund a new business’s cash flow.
  6. Team building – This is especially hard if you’ve never run or managed a team before, but even if you have management experience, picking the right team for a startup is stressful and difficult. It’s not enough to find candidates who fill certain roles — you also need to consider their cost to the business, their culture fit and how they’ll work as part of your overall team. Such considerations are exceptionally hard when you’re under the pressure of filling those positions as soon as possible.
  7. Decision-making – Believe it or not, this is probably the most stressful challenge on this list. New entrepreneurs are forced to make hundreds of decisions a day, from big, company-impacting decisions, to tiny, hour-affecting ones. Decision fatigue is a real phenomenon, and most new entrepreneurs will experience it if they aren’t prepared for the new level of stress.

5 Sources of funding to start a business

If you are looking to fund your startup and not sure where to start? Here is a quick guide to five potential sources of funding for your small business. I have tried to put them in order with the best way first:

    1. Bootstrapping: Many billionaire entrepreneurs find a way to grow without external financing so that financiers don’t control their destinies or grab a disproportionate slice of the business.
    2. Customers: Advance payments from customers can give you the cash you need, at a relatively low cost, to keep your business growing. Advances also demonstrate a level of commitment by the customer to your operation.
    3. Friends and family members:  If you’re lucky, friends and family members might be the most lenient investors of the bunch. They don’t tend to make you pledge your house, and they might even agree to sell their interest in your company back to you for a nominal return.
    4. Startup Loans: Start Up Loans is a government-funded scheme that fund your startup and mentors entrepreneurs. They have a series of delivery partners  who will help you develop a business plan.
    5. Bank loans:  Banks are like the supermarket of debt financing. They provide short-, mid- or long-term financing, and they finance all asset needs, including working capital, equipment and real estate. However, they typically are not the first place to look for funds for your startup.

When taking loans to fund your startup from friends and family, banks or another you must, have a written agreement covering every last detail regarding the loan. This includes the loan amount, the repayment period, the amount of each repayment instalment, the interest rate if any, consequences of non-repayment etc.  If in doubt get a lawyer to help you.

Student Led Incubators

There is always a real need to get student involved in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship within the university. They have a real need for enterprise skills and developing it into an Entrepreneurial career or a full blown Entrepreneur.

So on a recent visit to the the Tianjin Urban Construction Management Vocational Technology College, we had the opportunity to visit their incubator.

This college is looking at developing Energy Entrepreneurship, developing new businesses which address saving energy or using it in a more effective way, especially within China.

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So the real surprise was the cafe within the business incubator was run by Students for Students and business owners. We had the chance to meet the three owners of the business and provide some advice and support. The development of this student led cafe provides a real insight into both the management of the college and also the students within it.

The management have placed trust in the students to start, run and make a success of the cafe. This has resulted in:

1, Trusting students is such an important part of Entrepreneurship and we sometime forget to place this on students.

2, The students have taken a opportunity to run the cafe, something which every student on campus will have an opinion about. I know many students wouldn’t do this as their peers would look down on them or have something to say. The risks and rewards associated with this is a great lesson, but the greatest one is that these students have the largest network on campus.

3, Having a go, should always provide winners, as experience of entrepreneurship will ensure students leave with more skills that we educators could ever teach them.

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The cafe was the centre of the business incubator and so made it student led, the cafe was the heart of the space, just as it should be.

So when we arrange, we were saw a great space being used by other students and it was the centre of campus live. So good luck.

 

Setting Objectives when Starting up a Business

When Setting Objectives when Starting up a Business you should always use SMART objectives -the most well known method for setting objectives. S.M.A.R.T refers to the acronym that describes the key characteristics of meaningful objectives, which are:

Specific

  • WHAT am I going to do?
  • WHY is this important for me to do?
  • WHO is going to do what? Who else need to be involved?
  • WHEN do I want this to be completed?
  • HOW am I going to do this?

Measureable

  • How do I know when I have done it?
  • Can these measurements be obtained?
  • What are the numbers, quantity, comparisons?

Achievable

  • Can we get it done in the proposed timeframe?
  • Do I understand the limitations and constraints?
  • Can we do this with the resources we have?
  • Has anyone else done this successfully?
  • Is this possible?

Realistic

  • Do you have the resources available to achieve this objective?
  • Do I need to revisit priorities in my life to make this happen?
  • Is it possible to achieve this objective?

Time-Bound

  • When will this objective be accomplished?
  • Is there a stated deadline? (a defined time line)

Setting Goals Summary

Remember what gets measured gets done, so write your goals down, share them constantly with those who can help, are part of the goal and your team. Keep refining your goals to ensure achievable. If necessary, split goals down into achievable tasks.