6 Essential Skills Young Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed

Launching a new enterprise can seem overwhelming, even intimidating. There is so much to think about: marketing, sales, financial management. But never fear, young entrepreneurs! We’ve assembled the six skills that are most essential to entrepreneurship. No matter where you are on your business journey, these six skills can help you rise above the competition, get noticed, and earn the success you deserve. You may need to practice and develop some (or all) of these skills, but trust us: they’re worth the effort.

1. A Beginner’s Mindset

Successful entrepreneurs never stop learning. They don’t take for granted that they know everything there is to know about a topic – any topic, even ones in which they are considered “experts.” A beginner’s mindset means your mind stays open and willing to consider new ideas. In turn, this will help you keep your business fresh, relevant, and ahead of your competitors.

Your customers and clients may have good ideas you should consider for your business. After all, they are the ones who are spending money on your product or service, so they know what they want. As a young entrepreneur, you’ll no doubt receive plenty of advice from your more established peers; your gut will tell you when to take that advice and when to quietly ignore it.

>What you can do now:

Subscribe to newsletters and podcasts in your field and pay attention to evolving trends. Open yourself up to feedback from your customers and team members, then see if you spot any common themes you can learn from.

2. Networking

There are two main aspects of networking you need to cultivate as a young entrepreneur: social network skills and making entrepreneurial connections. In fact, you can use one to improve the other.

Smart entrepreneurs keep their professional online presence separate from their personal accounts. Not only should your business accounts be used to communicate with clients, but use them to connect with other entrepreneurs.

>What you can do now:

Follow people who inspire you, people who are already at the top of your field. Also, follow your peers and competitors: you never know when you’ll be able to help each other out. Start conversations with them and tag them in your posts.

While you’re at it, reach out to small business owners in your community for mutual follows. They may be willing to create a relationship that benefits you both.

3. Effective Communication

This is a big one but try not to let it intimidate you. Successful entrepreneurs need excellent communication skills across the board: that means knowing how to communicate with your team, your investors, your customers, and your peers/partners.

Being an effective communicator starts with being a good listener. As we’ve stated in #1, let everyone know that you are willing to listen to what they have to say. You don’t need to take everyone’s advice, but you should be able to address their concerns in a way that makes them feel heard. That goes for everyone listed above. Your team wants to feel appreciated; your investors want to know you are working hard; your customers want to have their concerns addressed politely; and your peers and partners want to feel needed.

>What you can do now:

Read articles like this one, which can help you be a more effective communicator. These tips are not only useful for addressing customer complaints but for every aspect of business communication.

4. Sales Acumen

Although this may seem obvious, you do need some level of business acumen to be a successful entrepreneur. This skill goes beyond simply building a website and trying to sell your product or service.

Before you sell a thing, you need to sell yourself. You need to convince investors that you are bright, motivated, and that you are worth their time and money. This skill is maybe the most elusive and nebulous of all the ones presented here, but it’s also one of the easiest to develop. Once you learn how to walk that fine line between assertive and pushy, between arrogant and confident, you’ll be able to sell anything to anyone.

>What you can do now:

Read, learn, and practice. A quick search on Amazon for “how to sell,” will return hundreds of books targeted at entrepreneurs like you. You should also pay careful attention to ads: what product are they selling, and how are they trying to sell it? Finally, practice your sales pitch on friends and family so that it becomes second nature and rolls off your tongue with ease.

5. Perseverance

If you become a millionaire overnight with your first business idea, please let us know!

For the rest of us mere mortals, perseverance is a natural part of entrepreneurship because failure is a natural part of entrepreneurship. Exhaustion, fatigue, and frustration are also natural. Perseverance is the skill that will keep you going when everything else seems hopeless.

When it comes to failure, the difference between successful entrepreneurs and unsuccessful ones is perseverance. The only way to guarantee you will never succeed at all is to quit the first time things get tough. Try not to take it personally, re-focus on your goal, and use every setback as an opportunity to learn, adapt, and grow.

>What you can do now:

You did not start a business to let it fail at the first sign of trouble. Building up your resilience so that you can persevere through the rough spots will take some introspection and honesty on your part—but young entrepreneurs aren’t afraid of a little hard work, right?

6. Ambition

At the end of the day, your desire to succeed will be the thing that helps you the most. Ambition pushes you to better yourself, to develop the skills necessary to start and successfully run your business, and to push forward until you see your dream come true. Ambition is what gives you the competitive edge over your rivals and it’s what makes you stand out among a sea of wide-eyed hopefuls.

Your ambition will be the foundation of all these other skills: it’ll keep your mind open to new ways of improving your business; it’ll drive you to reach out to other entrepreneurs; it’ll inspire you to listen to your team and your customers; it’ll give you the energy to develop your sales skills; and it will strengthen your resilience in the face of setbacks.

>What you can do now:

Find what motivates you. Beyond financial success – which is a totally normal goal – why do you want to start your business? The answer to that question is the key to your ambition.

The Kantner Foundation awards college scholarships to young entrepreneurs in Florida. Click here to learn more and apply.

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