10 Key Entrepreneurial Skills You Need to Start a Business

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 21, 2022 | Published June 21, 2021

Updated November 21, 2022

Published June 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

There are so many career options outside of the typical nine-to-five job. Many people turn their passions and interests into profitable business ventures. If you're considering following your own path and being an entrepreneur, you need specific skills to ensure you succeed at what you do. In this article, we explore what an entrepreneur is, what entrepreneurial skills are, and provide 10 examples of skills you can develop to thrive in your career.

What is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is a person who employs creative thinking to start a business venture. They're usually referred to as self-starters and business owners. Many entrepreneurs start out by identifying a problem or gap in the market and developing innovative ideas and services that solve the problem.

Related: Entrepreneur and Innovation: Definition and Importance

What are entrepreneurial skills?

Entrepreneurial skills range from highly technical skills to creative skills to soft skills. You might need a couple of these skills to be a successful entrepreneur. Since entrepreneurship is an individual's ability to convert innovative ideas into productive services, these skills could also be specific to what you provide. For example, if the service you're providing involves you interacting with many customers, you'll definitely need interpersonal communication skills a little bit more than others. It's best to study the skills required for your line of entrepreneurship. In the next subheading, we'll give mostly general skills all entrepreneurs will need if they want to be successful.

Related: 14 Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

10 key entrepreneurial skills

There are different examples of entrepreneurial skills, and they're all equally important in their own right. These skills are not innate, and you can develop them if you're consistent and a hard worker. These skills range from a variety of soft skills to a couple of hard or technical skills. Soft skills are the personal traits that make a person an excellent employee, employer and, in this case, entrepreneur. Hard skills are measurable and deal with the technical aspects of your role.

Here are 10 examples of entrepreneurial skills you might need:

1. Leadership skills

If you look at every successful entrepreneur, you'll see that they all possess strong leadership skills. It's no surprise that this tops our list of entrepreneurial skills you need to excel. Entrepreneurs usually have a clear vision and an ambitious goal. You need excellent leadership skills to persuade people to share your vision, support it, and feel inspired to work towards the goal. You also need to expand your business over time as you grow. Leadership skills will help you organize and lead a group of people effectively. You need this skill to encourage and motivate your employees so that your business is successful.

2. Communication skills

An excellent entrepreneur needs solid communication skills. It's essential if you want to sell your vision to your target audience and potential investors. You need to be clear, confident, and patient when communicating. You can work on this skill in your professional and personal life. Your communication skills are vital when leading a team, pitching your business, delegating tasks, and many more situations as an entrepreneur.

3. Attention to detail

Having a trained eye for detail ensures that your business operations go smoothly. Entrepreneurs need excellent attention to detail. Reading books and attending related seminars would go a long way in fine-tuning this necessary skill. You can also hone your abilities by working in the right environment. For example, find a space with little to no distractions when you're proofreading a document in order to give it your full attention.

4. Active listening skills

As an entrepreneur, you're in constant contact with different people, including employees, investors, and customers. You need active listening skills to take in constructive feedback or criticism. It's not enough to know how to communicate effectively. Active listening skills are an important aspect of communication, and you must also be able to listen when people are communicating with you. With this skill, you can maintain good working relationships with everyone you come across.

5. Organizational skills

Before setting out for your entrepreneurial journey, you need to plan a business structure. The skills you need for an efficient operational structure are organizational skills. They're essential because you need to map out an in-depth plan for your business. It's also important because as your business begins to grow, your team will handle different tasks and report to you. You need solid organizational skills to keep business activities in order and delegate tasks accordingly.

Related: What Are Organizational Skills? (With Improvement Tips)

6. Risk-taking skills

A lot of successful entrepreneurs are risk-takers. It's a necessary skill because there are many risks involved in starting a business. It takes an excellent risk-taker to manage these risks to provide productive results. Without taking calculated risks, your business can still succeed, but might not grow as exponentially as you hope. You have to take risks to succeed as a business owner.

7. Resourcefulness

Resourcefulness is a skill you need to be a successful entrepreneur. You need to react quickly and find solutions in unplanned situations. For example, a lot of entrepreneurs began working from home during the pandemic. No one anticipated that sudden change, but businesses adapted to the new environment and developed resourceful solutions that allowed their team to work remotely.

8. Time management skills

There are a lot of important deadlines to meet when launching a new business. You need solid time management skills to ensure you can meet those deadlines and deliver results. This skill is also important to develop, so you can learn to multitask effectively and get tasks done efficiently that contribute toward your larger goals.

9. Customer service skills

Customer service skills are vital for any business, including those that aren't typically thought of as customer-facing. One surefire way to improve your customer service skills is to sharpen your interpersonal skills. You can use these skills to build your brand and build relationships with consumers to turn them into repeat customers. These skills tie into other vital skills like communication and active listening, so by working toward developing one of these skills, you actually improve them all.

10. Networking skills

Networking is a skill that many business owners and entrepreneurs use to grow their brands. Keep in touch with people who can support you and boost your idea into a successful, realized business venture. An innovative idea, ambitious goal, and strong work ethic are vital for an entrepreneur. However, those elements are not enough on their own. You still need a community of people to encourage you, inspire you, and push your brand forward. There are a lot of tools you can use to help you build your professional network, including reaching out to successful business owners to learn from.

How to build on your entrepreneurial skills

1. Read books about entrepreneurship

If you don't have firsthand experience in entrepreneurship, reading is a great way to gain the information you need. Books provide you with expert opinions on issues related to entrepreneurship and open your mind to developing entrepreneurial skills. They provide realistic experiences and examples to help you navigate the launch of your business.

2. Attend seminars or webinars

Seminars are great if you want to hear experienced people speak about certain topics. Attend workshops or webinars on entrepreneurial skills and how to develop them. Do some research on upcoming events to find relevant topics and reputable speakers.

3. Take a course

Invest in your academic experience to guide you into the world of entrepreneurship. An online course or a night class on building entrepreneurial skills prepares you to start and operate your business.

4. Find a mentor

A mentor is an experienced professional and someone you can look to for guidance and advice. This person is your go-to when you're facing a challenge or in need of direction. Seek a mentor who's already successful in your line of work so they can provide insightful suggestions and advice.

Related: How to Find a Mentor Step by Step

5. Join a community

Being part of a community of people who have the same goals and aspirations is an invaluable asset for entrepreneurs. You can engage with your community to share ideas, support each other, get inspiration, and take part in healthy competition. Finding like-minded people keeps you motivated and inspired to continue developing your business venture.

Why do you need entrepreneurial skills?

Here are a few reasons it's essential for you to develop skills specific to entrepreneurship:

  • They will guide you in navigating challenges.

  • They prepare you to grow your brand and reach its full potential.

  • You'll be able to maintain a better work-life balance.

  • You'll contribute meaningfully to your community or to global progress.

  • They contribute to your personal and professional growth.

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