Tag Archives: skills

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.

Do we need a knowledge or a skill’s economy?

We hear the term ‘knowledge economy ‘ used by many people and this week I finally made a decision, its not good for us entrepreneurs. The essential facet of a knowledge economy is that focused on the production and management of knowledge. It means Universities can get paid to make new discoveries, without ever wanting anyone to use them.

So lets take a look at history, Greek scholar named Pythagoras, who lived around 500 BC was also fascinated by triangles with these special side ratios and came up with a theory which we still use today. So the Greek’s had a knowledge economy. I don’t have to say how they have factored since taking the cheap finance available since joining the Euro. However, the development of knowledge itself does not bring prosperity, it’s the continued exploitation of it.

The fact is with a truly international economy and information sharing through the internet, knowledge is not an asset until you have the skills to use it. The frontiers of knowledge are only today’s and tomorrow we shall have new frontiers which make yesterdays knowledge redundant and obsolete. With more people on the planet the pace of this knowledge development increasing as the human race, races for more knowledge. How can you expect to win a race when you have over 6 billion people against you? Small countries do not have the man power or money.

The answer is to master the skill of managing, exploiting and capitalizing the knowledge. Society needs to develop people who have these skills to transfer knowledge into successful enterprises.

When I look at successful entrepreneurs, they develop industry knowledge, but never technical, they know the trends, but never the detail, they understand what works and what does not, but could not build any product themselves. The skill to adapt to whatever life throws at you is a skill we should all have and this skills needs to be learnt at every stage of education, even a university one.

In a knowledge-based economy, knowledge is a tool. So if we are going to anything we need an knowledge-based economy with a population who have access to the knowledge and the skills to master it for our enterprising future.

Pythagoras gave us a tool and we should never forget the skill of using it.

Maximising the value of your mentor

With over 40,000 mentors in the UK, we certainly have a great resource for entrepreneurs. However, as with many things in life, it’s about the process of using the resource rather than the sheer numbers which ensures the benefit.

After managing a national mentoring solution for over two years, with over 400 mentors, 4200 mentees the key factors are developing an environment of trust, openness and diversity on one hand and on the other accountability, skill development and action orientation on the other.

The first step is to set the limits, boundaries and scope for the mentor/mentee relationship. In many cases this will be their first mentoring experience and as such they both need to know what each person should and should not expect. This then allows them to reduce the amount of storming before the norming and hopefully bring about productive business growth. This involves providing an education seminar followed by a selection workshop which creates enthusiasm and drive for the new relationship.

Every relationship has a start, beginning and end and understanding this is also very important in ensuring everyone gets the most form it. The best business mentoring matches the mentee’s stage of business, the industry sector and the location of the user. Having more than one mentor is also important for younger mentees as it ensure they do not rely on one person and seeks advice from many quarters, thus forming their own opinion.

All organisations needs to know what is happening with their customer at any one time and therefore statistical collection is important for both reporting and improving the service. This is why online mentoring solutions are important in being able to manage, monitor and report the status of the network. I have also seen that our mentee target audience has become accustomed to adding their life onto the internet and getting feedback, where else would they do it?

Mentors help create such amazing companies and get a lot out of the experience and this is the main reason many organisation are now considering adding their employees to these schemes, helping develop their staff to understand both other business leaders but also understand how business itself works.  Therefore a structured approach for your mentors is benefiting in many ways.

If you do not have a mentor then please go and find one.

If your business does not conduct mentoring for all staff then please implement it and it will create an amazing amount of value and loyalty.

If you want to give something back then join a mentoring scheme and enjoy all the new entrepreneurs you meet.